written for STORY OF MY LIFE

i've been wracking my brain all week for a good story to tell.

i could write about that time in canada i found myself seated next to a half-naked man in a theatre (and not a theatre of ill-repute, mind you). he arrived fully clothed, then there was a lot of movement, and suddenly--voila--a bare chest. let's just say, i didn't see much of that first half of arms and the man.

or perhaps i should speak of those lazy spring nights in texas when i'd escape to the soccer fields with the boys and smoke cigars as dew formed on the grass. i was not a rebellious teen. i didn't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or kiss anyone under any bleachers. i worked hard in school. but as senior year came to an end i found myself staying out just a little bit later, falling for a boy who would go on to follow phish around the country, and puffing on cigars by the elementary school soccer fields.

but both those stories are slivers, small bits. and i want to tell the story of my life, right? or, at least, try. perhaps, though, that's all it is right now, slivers of a story. scattered pieces waiting to come together. after all, i'm just beginning (or so i hope).

and yet, i keep coming back to this: new york.

new york is my story.

beginning on 66th in a white, stone, fortress-like building and an open-air plaza filled with boys who threw frisbees, made bets, and smoked too much pot. moving on to 72nd and a pub named malachy's where many a baseball game was taken in and the man behind the counter knew all of our names. there was my first apartment at 104th and a cat we called flaubert. i dated a guy at 190th who gave me a key to his house and promised to show me the cloisters (among other things). i ended that relationship at a diner on 70th. there's central park and riverside park and fort tryon park and the countless times i've traversed each one pounding something more than pavement.

the city is a zig-zagging-connect-the-dots of my history--of my sadness and its eventual passing. of the joy that follows, the sweet bliss that sweeps in after utter destruction.

and then there's here: 181st street. in a small corner apartment--my own little castle in the sky--a corner apartment abutting the hudson and nestled against the train tracks. and i can feel this corner apartment-- this corner of manhattan working on me, pushing me past this cesura in the story. this moment between, this hanging breath in which all is possible and all is unknown. i write this now in the cafe down the street and i, more than anyone, wonder what's next--when the plot twist will arise, when new characters will be introduced, when there will be some sort of resolution.

and the thing is, i don't know. i just don't know. but i do know i'm better for all this. better for the unknown. better for the sadness. better for the bliss. better, for new york.

better, yes, but poised for the next.

so should jenny ever have be back here again, years from now, my great hope is i'll have more to tell you. more of the story to share. more space filled in and out.