There is a marble arch that stands stained and erect at the top of the steps that lead into the entrance of the brownstone we lived in. She had grown up in Bedford Stuyvesant and therefore had begged that we move there when we returned from our year in Spain. I agreed, only in the hopes of s’eancing with the ghosts of Hemmingway, Cummings, Kerouac and Ginsberg in the Village. Had I known what was to transpire, I would have never left my drunken perch on the window ledge of our tiny villa in Cadaqués.
In the weeks that passed life blew in blissful breathes of ease, comfort and peace. I had never been happier. Enough money remained from my publishing advance so that we were free to explore the city again when I wasn’t writing. Slow kisses in the markets, long walks in Prospect Park, and quick smiles in comfortable silence while dangling our thoughts from the bridge over the stream there. She was an amazing cook. When we weren’t feasting on something she had made, her hair hung down as I would make a picnic of her body. She was delicious. Even now, to think of her makes my mouth water and my heart long for those days.
As the money ran low and fall hung in the trees, she grew quiet, impatient with me, critical of my writing, my hair, how poorly I made her tea. It had been so perfect that I ignored the lines she had begun to etch into the wall.
In the absence of words and emotion, her departure was so curt and cold that all the oxygen in the room escaped ahead of her as she closed the door. She had turned off the heat and shut the lights before I returned with the wine. The lights of Brooklyn at night poured in through the front windows and crashed over my shoulders as I stood staring at the back of the door through wide eyes and the paint of a statue.
I walked out into the middle of the street, turning slowly around and around in confusion as if I were lost on the moon. Cars moved slowly around me. I saw people in pairs, side by side in their seats. Traces of light lit in the rain on the roadway.
Voices whispered in tongues. Spanish wine bled through broken glass. The arms of the marble arch cut long at its sides while it wept over me.
I stepped back onto the sidewalk and fell to the steps with my hand on my heart.
published 24 May 2012