Monday, July 7, 2008

trying to soak it all in

I walked through Soho, I talked on the phone. I drank too much iced coffee, too fast. I saw two little red-haired boys talking to each other via imaginary cellphones (their hands) while they walked down the street. Comedians. I went to the bank. I opened a savings account. I ate some chicken on the street. It was New York. It was thrilling, and banal, and insanely muggy. The people were knocking me out. And knocking me over. I was sweating around the edges of my waistband. I took the subway, I let Century 21 send me into a frenzy; as soon as I was inside, I was lost. I wandered the escalators, arms suddenly laden heavy with items I had chosen in the heat of the moment. Handbags! Wallets! Sandals! I lugged these things and more, knowing full well I would do as I'd always done - quietly put them all down near the cashier and make a run for the door...empty-handed.

I walked down to Battery Park and let the gloaming take me in and comfort me. I watched the last Liberty Ferry come back to shore. I sat under an old tree in a dark patch of grass behind some sort of shouting pick-up Shakespearean types, and I tried in vain to photograph the fairy-land of fireflies while they floated, blinking languidly all around me.
Finally it was dark, just the homeless men on the park benches and me. I ambled into an unknown part of downtown, found some random deli to sell me cranberries and iced tea, and got on the nearest Brooklyn-bound train I could find.

(I was gambling on this unknown train that it would take my tired flat feet within walking distance of Union Street. For once, the gamble paid off.) I walked home, past the darkened and be-gardened building where Jonathan Lethem writes my favorite stories, and across the Gowanus Canal. All quiet in South Brooklyn tonight.

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