September 19, 2006

Bleeker & Minetta

Three years and eleven minutes ago, it was raining and you were kissing me. It was one of those heavy spring rains, the ones that come just a few days before summer finally squeezes through the cold fronts that had seemed interminable. The drops were large and cold, chilling my legs. I’d worn my shortest skirt that day although I’d known it would rain. I’d worn it in anticipation of this kiss, in anticipation of your fingers grazing my hemline, brushing against my thighs. I’d worn it because it would have been your last day in New York, but I hadn’t known it would be our last kiss.

During the moment after our lips unclung, and just before our bodies did, you said something. What was it? It mustn’t have been anything worth remembering at the time. Your tongue slid from my mouth, your hands left my waist, and I became conscious of the cold for the first time since we stepped out of the coffee shop and into the rain. I realized that you were leaning against a padlocked steel back entrance door, that I was leaning against you, and that my yellow-flowered umbrella had tilted in my hand until its pathetic angle rendered it useless. We were soaked, but I laughed, and the raindrops glittered on your eyelashes.

You had to catch your train back home, across a couple state lines. I had to catch mine – across the Brooklyn Bridge. We unclasped our hands on the corner of Minetta and Bleeker, half a block from the steel doorway that was probably still warm from the heat of your body. Three years and four minutes ago, you said you loved me. We kissed again. I tasted your whisky sour until Avenue U. That was all.

It’s raining again today. It’s one of those slow, drizzling rains that never seem to stop, that mean summer is still a few weeks in coming. I wore jeans and a leather jacket today because I knew it would rain. I brought a sturdy black umbrella, and have kept it steadfastly over my head. The rain does not touch me today.

Today, I stopped for a coffee in a small, nondescript café. Walking in, I saw that the next door over was padlocked black steel. I changed my order to a whisky sour.

I do not linger – I drink, I pay and I leave. I snap my umbrella open and join the legion of the faceless black shield-bearers in the street. The sky weeps so casually that no one seems to notice. People smoke under their umbrellas, or speak on their cellular phones. But no one is smiling today, and even the dogs on leashes, droplets tinselling their fur, look unhappy.

I do not bother to look at them all today. I zip my jacket and I head for the train home, across the Brooklyn Bridge. On the way, I will buy a bottle of water from a surly street vendor to wash away the taste of my drink.

Midway to the train station, I hear the high-pitched clatter of high heels, unexpected on this rainy day, sounding in counterpoint to the deeper beat of my own boots on the wet pavement. I walk faster; the high heels do not change their pace, but seem to have no trouble keeping up with me. The sound follows me to the train station and all the way to Avenue U.

Summer 2006.

No comments: