this is one that i never talk about, because i am not quite sure how to articulate it, but it’s something i find myself thinking about every so often.
2003, the beginning. i was just about to fall in love, but i wasn’t there yet. living in NYC at last & full of a delicious loneliness that was hardly painful at all. full of hope & hopelessness all at once. kastoory & i were traveling on the subway from her apt. in williamsburg to visit my kinko’s boy(embarrassing, i know). i had found a pair of vans on the street & on the L train discovered a used condom wrapper inside them & freaked out. kastoory said, “it’s the city [aka land of people not staring at anyone, no matter how bizarre, because they’re just too effing jaded or whatever] and people are still staring at you.” we laughed & laughed.
we made the transfer from the L to the 1 at 14th street, through that tunnel that just feels endless, that feels like the hugest barrier to where you wanna go. at the end (or was it the beginning? i forget) of the tunnel, there was a man wearing spraypainted gold robes. he had a violin (was it spraypainted gold too? i forget.) his eyes were closed, and he was waving his violin bow in the air. slowly, and you could tell that whatever music he was conducting in his head was the most beautiful thing ever. we stopped and watched him, completely transfixed. perched on that bow was a parakeet, bobbing a little or stretching its wings when the bow got too unsteady, but otherwise staying right with him. we looked for a string around its little leg or for crucial wing feathers to have been clipped, but there was no such thing. the bird wanted to be there; it was as simple as that.
a little girl stopped & he opened his eyes and they just looked at each other for a few seconds. with a look of pure understanding. it wasn’t romantic, it wasn’t creepy, it was just like they got each other. she was maybe five or six and with her father. he hauled her away, and we could hear her scream, “daddy! no!” all the way down the tunnel. he closed his eyes again and was still. kastoory & i shuffled along, speechless by the extreme magic of that moment. we went to see my kinko’s boy, who wasn’t really mine anyway, and just sat on the subway, trying to say something about it. but what can you say? even re-reading this, i know there’s no way to convey to you how fucking amazing it was. finally, kastoory said, “he saw her, you know?” and that was all we had to say about that.