So I guess you weren't "on my way" and last night wasn't going to be the last night I slept alone. I guess I was wrong about your flight arriving ontime at JFK, that you'd taken an earlier one than I had imagined, given an occult hit from London, and that despite a hit from Elmhurst (surely not Rikers) and then 29 from Hungary - now that I knew was proxy - that perhaps you'd prudently decided to spend a night in a hotel after a long flight, and then in the morning there'd be church to go to on this very holy day. It's funny how I have this scrap of memory of your casually once saying years ago that you drove around Red Hook looking for a Catholic Mass - I must say your remark was quite surprising, I wasn't sure I could quite believe it - whether I could or couldn't twin afterimages of you remain, one real, one imagined, your enigmatic mention as you stepped away from the table, you driving alone at night beneath the falling apart steel & concrete mess, in search...
I had thought the notion of a Slaviansky Bazaar of our own was irresistible - patterns of page hits led me to believe you felt that way too, but hey, that's my problem isn't it. I feel really stuck here, not happy to be here as I have been in times past, when at least I knew for certain that I'd be by myself and could plan accordingly, get my head around it okay. Instead I've been getting emotional whiplash from day to day at times, such as yesterday evening when I looked out the window a lot half-expecting a taxi to pull up - with you in it.
So I have been going half-mad with desperation & loneliness & dashed hopes, but am trying to be very Hollow Man about it and put one foot in front of the other and keep walking, keeping busy, doing something. Yesterday I took a long walk to Park Slope and visited, for the first time in my life, a sex toy shop, this one specializing in sex toys for women. It is clear that this involuntary nun needs to take matters into her own hands so to speak. I parted with $40 and came away with a turquoise silicon vibrator and a small bottle of "babelube." The batteries work, the pierced clerk (who was extremely helpful in helping me to select my budget stand-in) made sure, giving me fresh ones. I've never used a vibrator, but I like the idea of trying one out, only I had hoped that it might be in the service of Remembering Things Past, such as from this weekend, that I might fantasize about in the shower when I get back.
This afternoon was cold & dreary, and I had started the morning entertaining thoughts that perhaps you were on your way, merely trying to get in a church service, be well rested, bowel-moved, perhaps even trying to scramble together a few gifts for me - to which I was thinking, no no no, I don't need gifts or anything at all, just get your ass over here, don't you realize how precious time is? Don't waste it, just come over.
And of course as we all now know (I was the last to know) you didn't, and I was going half-mad with a mixture of the depressive side of bipolar feelings, and I thought, I have got to get myself out of this apartment, I cannot start drinking icefilled glasses at 3:30, no matter how dreary everything is. So I managed to absolutely just force myself out the door, for the third walk up Clinton today, to Borough Hall, onto the IRT to 86th Street, forced march to the Met Museum, up the steps, accosted by the guard who demanded to check my $5 Peebles bag (originally $50!) and finding it of course a-okay, paid ten of "recommended" $20 admission (am grateful to clerk who evinced absolutely zero attitude, simply gave me change of a twenty). I went through the Rooms With a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century exhibit, but very halfheartedly. I was in a "mood," signage at the Met to find the exhibit is cockeyed and I had to backtrack, and once I found the exhibit, was instantly irritated by the presence of distracting, too-young children there, plus an overly loudly commenting patron. Plus the rhythm was all wrong, I kept finding myself crowding the space of another person in examining a picture & accompanying caption. I sped through the exhibit, skipped a small gallery of intimately-scaled drawings that demanded closer attention and less febrile (is that the word I mean?) state of mind than the one I was in. To make a long story short, I ended up purchasing, in the end - end meaning mouse trap gift shop at trail's end - the handsome paperbound catalogue to the show. Which I found it hard to part with $30 ("plus tax?" "there's tax on everything," I was patronizingly advised by a clerk of whom I could have been, well not quite her grandmother, not yet). I counted out my cash, thirty-two dollars and sixty-six... cents... those pennies picked up from sidewalks and parking lots add up.
Anyway. I have the catalogue, and it's still in its shrink wrap and I look forward to examining it, reading it at my leisure (not now), because I realize that the images actually have a calming, grounding effect on me, not that I purchased the volume for medicinal reasons. Also, I regret very much to this day that I hadn't purchased the catalogue to the John Koch painting exhibit that I had enjoyed so much in the fall of 2001 - that one too was priced around $30, always a large sum of money, when one must restrict one's variables and yet view cheeses and rose wines as 'necessities.'
So I'm glad I purchased it, and I clutched it to my warm jacket on the M5 down Fifth, and against me as I got off at 42nd and walked over to Sixth to catch the F train as I have a bazillion times before in a previous life. I've lost so much patience, I think, I found the whole trek barely sufferable, subways, museum, bus stopped every few feet in heavy traffic.
All I had really wanted in coming down here was to be close to you. I mean it.
My problem, though, isn't it.
the lady with the dog in the story didn't have a name