Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NYC and Halloween.

Happy Halloween!

If you’ve known me long, you know I love coming up with costumes. I didn’t get a chance to wear a costume out this year (unless you count dressing like Laura), but I did make one. I wanted something new, creative and cheap. What to do? Then it hit me! A costume that required nothing more than a black dress, a white shirt, a headless doll and braids. That’s right, Wednesday Addams. I tried to look creepy in the photo. How did I do? P.S. I made the doll’s dress in less than 30 minutes using a sock and a rag. Awesome, right? My costuming skills continue to rule.

As for the Laura costume, this weekend I went to the city! It was Laura’s and Tom’s birthdays, and the bus company was having a sale: round trip for $40! My taxi ride from my apartment to the station cost as much as a one way ticket to New York! The flight left an hour late, and we drove all night. By 9:15 a.m. I was on the Subway to Queens. At Laura’s apartment, we both napped, had afternoon brunch with her boyfriend, then read and napped some more.

Then it was time to go out. Laura lent me a cute black dress and a signature Laura necklace. She makes the prettiest jewelry. We went out for paella. The whole gang was there: Laura, Madrid, Carolina, Riza and I were together again! It was so good to see all of them. “But it doesn’t feel like you’re back,” Madrid said, “It feels like you’re still here. It’s like I’m not appreciating having you here enough because it just feels like it’s the we’re out for the weekend and I’ll see you in a few days.” But it was just a visit, so I hugged everyone about a thousand times.

That was it, exactly. It felt like I’d never been gone. We went on to Sutra, a trendy club that only lets you have a table if you buy a bottle. Some mediocre wine was $160 per bottle, so we took off (though Riza stayed behind when her entourage arrived, and Madrid went grocery shopping). We went to No Malice Palace (aka Goth-Hop bar, a gothic setting with hip-hop music). After dancing there for quite a while, we decided to go someplace where we could talk.

We ended up at a packed sports bar, and Laura wasn’t the happiest. She is a consummate hostess and always wants everyone to have a great time. When Carolina left, when Ryan’s friend was engrossed in texting, and when a jerk stomped on my ankle (how do you even manage that?), she swung from her usual sunny self to sadness. Nooooo! But luckily, Laura is resilient. She lets herself feel what she’s feeling in the moment, then lets the anger or sadness go.

What we didn’t know at the time was that Laura was suffering from the early stages of a migraine, which was making her more emotional. Anyhoo, everything was peachy until Laura’s friend Maria accidentally took off with my jacket. Whoops. Well, for a little while we thought it was stolen, and the stress drove Laura’s migraine over the edge. But the missing jacket mystery was solved. Even though Laura was wracked with pain (I even cried a little, because it was so sad), Ryan and I got her to laugh a little. She’s a trooper, and her hair is so shiny!

The next morning I was up by nine a.m. Nothing refreshes you like four hours of sleep. I hugged Miss Laura goodbye and schlepped up to Spanish Harlem to retrieve my jacket (H&M belted black corduroy, size 8) in exchange for Maria’s jacket (H&M buttoned brown corduroy, size 14). I guess she wasn’t chilly enough to try mine on when she left the bar. Then I cut through my favorite part of the park, Conservatory Gardens, over to my old apartment in Harlem. (In Conservatory Gardens, the flowers were still in bloom, and the bees were everywhere. See the photo I snapped at left.

At the old apartment, Rick gave me my mail, some of it from July…when I was still in the city. What’s with not giving me my mail, roomie? One voucher from the United Federation of Teachers would have paid for an eye exam and new glasses. Grr.

Then I hopped on a train down to the village where I was meeting Tom for lunch. We wandered for quite a while, trying to find an interesting restaurant that wasn’t packed like a can of sardines. Eventually we found a cute-yet-affordable bistro-ish place where I got Eggs Benedict and Tom lamented once again that he doesn’t like eggs. Well, his hanger steak looked great.

I told Tom how it felt, not like I was back, but like I’d never been gone. Like I belonged in New York, but needed to be in Virginia. I admitted that if I’d gotten into one of the New York schools, my MFA would have been something I did on the side. It wouldn’t have gotten the focus it’s getting now. He got this weird smile on his face, a smile that said “I told you so.” Not in a bad way. Back when I hadn’t decided what to do yet, Tom told me he felt like I was meant to go. At the time it bugged me, because Tom’s not into destiny. I was confused, not sure if he meant that I couldn’t cut it in the city or that he though we should be over, but had no other reason for us to break up. Now I know that he sensed what I also sensed then and know now. To be happy, I needed to see the world a new way and really focus on my career for a while.

After dinner, we decided to walk down to Chinatown, where I was supposed to arrive by 4:30 for my 5 p.m. bus. We had fun walking and talking. The only awkward moment was when we ran into two of Tom’s former students, who assumed I was his girlfriend. Mmm…no. Before we knew it, we were there, both of us amazed that there was a bus station with just one purpose: to run a daily bus back and forth between NYC and Norfolk, Virginia. Then we hugged goodbye. He kissed me on one cheek and I kissed his…and then he kissed my cheek again…and so…more awkward. But we laughed it off. I got on the bus and rode away, back to Virginia and school and my career.


World Champ Stephen Neal said...

You should have gone to U of Iowa if you like creative writing. Now, have a look at my hypnotic beard!

Anonymous said...

Well, "world champ stephen neal," your beard is quite spiffy. However, I disagree that I should have gone to U of Iowa.

I looked into the U of I Workshop. As an Iowan, it was appealing, but when I visited, the people working there were kind of cold to me. They probably wouldn't have given me a full ride scholarship (such a prestigious program doesn't have to).

In the Old Dominion program, all the poets help each other. I've heard everyone's out for themselves at the Iowa Workshop. Also, I was running on a January application schedule.

But thanks for believing that I deserve the best. As a facial hair enthusiast, maybe you should check out