Hejira

 

 

still before the storm

December 29. 2000

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The bus and subway was a lot more crowded than I expected late on a Friday night before a major winter storm. The night was cold and full of anticipation. I got off the subway at City Hall, and ascended a spiral staircase. I was met with the gorgeous sight of tall trees strung with white lights and City Hall towering above me, colored lights illuminating every nook and cranny of the elaborate building. It was so beautiful I forgot my consternation about coming out of the wrong exit.

It was quiet, almost no traffic on the roads, almost no people on the street. I walked down Filbert Street, past the Marriott and through the tall archways covering the sidewalk. There were a couple of valets dressed in bright red and black parkas busily parking Lincoln Town Cars.

The bag I had just bought at Value City across the road from me was weighing down on me by now, and I shifted it to my other shoulder. I passed by a bar with large front windows, a bad cover band butchering some Jimmy Buffett song. The frat boy drummer with bleach blonde hair glanced at me through the window, and smiled and nodded in my direction. I smiled back.

I got to the bus station, bought my ticket quickly, and then bought a snapple and a greasy danish from the crappy snack bar, since I hadn't had any dinner. The bus was surprisingly crowded. I guess everyone had the same idea as I did: to get out of the city before the storm hit. I put on Loreena McKennitt in an attempt to relieve the stress of the past few hours. An Indian guy sat down beside me and proceeded to talk on his cell phone the entire ride. I dozed off, I probably snored, and woke up as we were passing Newark Airport. We pulled into the Port Authority at only 12:45, ten minutes early.

I located John in the far corner. He looked as tired as I felt. We embraced gently. I could still feel the hurt between us. We walked silently, my hand holding tightly to his as we walked up the escalator that wasn't functioning. I don't remember walking to the 7 train or getting on it or riding it or getting off in Long Island City. We stopped at a Deli to get a sandwich for me. We sat in his living room, not talking much, as I ate the sandwich.

I guess eventually you're going to fight, eventually there's going to be misunderstandings, eventually you're going to cry and be hurt. I guess that's just the way things are when you love someone. I guess you just weather the storm, and wait for the calm, quiet whiteness afterward.

One Year Ago:
"It's really odd to see all these people again from high school. The dynamic seems completely different in some ways, because, for the first time, we're all coming from different places and completely different life situations. When we were in high school, all our experiences and points of view came from a similar source, because (with a few exceptions) we had lived in Lebanon all our lives, and had known each other since elementary school."