Wednesday, October 01, 2008


A few weeks ago, after a show in an old circus tent at South Street Seaport, I convinced Becca to come with me to find the lights. Okay, it wasn't too hard to convince her. I've wanted to find those lights ever since they started appearing every September. I knew they weren't right at ground zero because when I look out my bathroom window, they aren't in the same spot the towers were. I checked against old pictures I have. So we just walked, looking skyward occasionally to make sure we were on the right path.

I look after people. One in particular. Nobody asks me to. I just know that things can get out of hand, and I know she trusts me, and maybe that makes it easier for her to go overboard. I'm the safely net, and if I'm the one to take her home at the end of the night, that's all that's gonna happen. That's what friends are for, among other things. But it doesn't always work out that way. At least it didn't last week, and maybe I dropped the ball, and maybe I enabled the whole situation just by being there in the first place.

Things don't always live up to your expectations, and when we ended up at the mouth of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and found people scattered about with cameras all pointed the same direction, I was a little confused. There are so many places in this city that are new to me still, after 20, yes, 20 years in this town, and tonight was reminding me, with every turn, why I haven't grown tired.

Becca doesn't need my help to go overboard. But this other one, who can turn on extra levels of charm like turning on a light switch, I've seen it happen and it's disarming, she maybe needs to feel comfortable first. I don't know, and I don't think she does either, or at least she doesn't remember, but I had to level with her. My role, self-awarded as it is, has to come to an end. As angry as she is with the guy at home, acting out isn't teaching him a lesson. I hope it's teaching her one.

So we walked toward the people, and once past the building to our left, there were the lights. They were on top of a parking garage. Not the dramatic reveal I was hoping for. We sorta looked on, and at each other, in silent bewilderment, or maybe we weren't that silent, but sometimes words are just said to fill up the spaces. They don't always have to mean anything.

There is no straying. It's cheating, plain and simple. But it's not a cause, it's a symptom, and should be a wake-up call to address what's going on at home. Saying you'll never go drinking again, nor actually going through with it, isn't the cure. It's really uncomfortable to confront serious matters that may hurt a loved one, but maybe that ex of mine that I hope to never see again can teach you that it's better in the long run.

We walked across the tunnel's pedestrian overpass to reach the garage. Becca tried a door. It was locked. She told a tourist to stop walking around barefoot. I didn't even notice her feet. The difference between men and women. I directed us to where the elevators were so we could pretend to get our car, but there was a guard posted. We were both texting people at this point, me getting random gibberish from George, and were walking back north. I called Geo to tell him what we found, and to meet us at Doc Holiday's.

You can't take the "other man/woman" seriously. You are talking about someone who is willing to help you destroy a relationship for his or her own personal pleasure. This is not someone to be trusted, and furthermore, neither are you. How do either of you know you won't be on the other side next time, and the grass is never greener.

I didn't realize the firehouse was actually across the street from ground zero. We first came upon the candles and photos of the ones lost. There were a lot of photos. Tourists were taking pictures. Some kids were looking on with seriousness that defied their years. Becca crossed a barrier to stick her head through the fence. She needed a few minutes to herself, staring into that hole. The firehouse doors were open. A tourist couple, and I'm only guessing they were tourists as no one who was here that year would be so disrespectful, walked up to the permanent shrine just inside the doors, and posed for a photo in front of it, arms around each other's shoulders.
"Sorry, I didn't expect our journey to turn out like this."
"Yeah. Wanna go to a speakeasy?"

You need to say these things before it's too late. I had something to say to someone, something concerning "feelings" for her, and hesitated. I decided it needed to be said after Jenn was suddenly in ICU with low expectations of making it through the night. So that close call supposedly got me in gear with saying what I had to say to this other woman. I couple weeks later, they were both in the hospital. Still never said a thing.

It was just the two of us, her friend behind the bar, and the owner, who was watching three TVs simultaneously. We were in a contemplative mood, and this junk-store of a speakeasy was just distracting enough, for me anyway. Pool table. Crutches. Stools. Oil painting with cutouts for lights. Late-night talk shows. Pictures of patrons on the wall will soon include us as the owner turned from his TVs with a disposable and flashed off a few frames. He gave Becca a spare meatball hero, and closed up early.

I think it's selfish. I may have written this thought before, but if you avoid what needs to be said because it makes you uncomfortable, you are being selfish.

From the next bar, we said goodbye. They got into a cab, and I walked off to Doc Holiday's, as it had now been several hours since I told George to meet us there. Once I confirmed they weren't there, he called. I was on my way to visit Megan as she closed up her bar, and he and Brad were at the lights. A few steps behind us all night. I hung out with Megan while I waited for two drunks to meet me there. They wanted to get our traditional late night perogies before leaving town the next morning, but I hate when she closes up alone. I made her promise to text me once she was safely in a cab on her way home. A silly thing people do as, if she didn't text me, I could do nothing about it. Goodnight was all I could say. Maybe I'll say more next time.

Veselka was very quiet. I thought it was in tribute to what day it was, but the more I thought about it, I'm not sure they ever have music on in there. Maybe I just wanted the night to go on, but the lights were probably off by now, being packed away until next year. I got the text, and I felt at ease.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

its all true.

9:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home