Get to a place and then it is necessary to get out. It’s not working, it’s not for me. I ask for help and advice. Nothing happens and I put up with the place and the situation for as long as possible. What to do? Just thinking about it takes a great deal of effort, sometimes more effort than I can spare. But I do it. I have to do it. Thhere is no other way. There is no place to go.I feel like it’’s raining hard. It’s pouring and I am getting soaked. There is no umbrellan no overcoat. Nothing.
Archive for August, 2011
She is short, no more than 5 feet. Her body is thin and her legs are like sticks. The grey pants she is wearing make her look like a little girl. The white shirt is probably silk. Her dark overcoat must have been expensive once. She clutches the handle of her narrow red cart. There are spots on her hands. The woman’s face is small. A father and two kids walk by. She smiles and her brown eyes light up. She walks around her neighborhood, pushing the little red cart. It is full to the top with newspapers and envelopes wrapped in plastic bags. The woman stops to talk to people. Her mind is sharp. She knows what is going on in the world. Did you hear about the woman on the Upper East Side who was raped early Saturday morning? Some Starbucks stores don’t have free wi fi anymore.
She lives alone in a beautiful co-op.Just before she goes to bed, she steps out on her balcony. The Hudson River is spread out before her.
The woman can afford to eat out several times a week by herself. Something about her is touching. Life is meant to be taken as you find it. No questions asked.
She shrugs. What are you going to do?
It was long. The dress was silky when she touched it. It felt like velvet and she smiled. The color was plum, one of her favorite fruits. She looked at the price tag–$5 down from at least $20. The original price was blacked out but she guessed that at one time the thrift shop must have wanted a lot more for it. She waited until one of the dressing rooms in the back was free. Velveteen, is it? Velveteen is not velvet, she said to herfeslf as she took the dress out of the hanger. I used to have velvet, real velvet. She shrugged. It’s still beautiful. I never wear beautiful anythings anymore. The sleeves were narrow—even too narrow for her skinny arms. She couldn’t zip up the dress and see what she looked like in it. Too bad. I would have wanted something pretty again—something of my very own. I’ll wait for another dream dress. She put the dress back in the rack and walked out.
The Fabled Hotel
I think of it often—more often than I used to in t he past. It is one of those experiences that has made a deep impression on me. Now, with the contrast between then and now, it seems like a dream. I often wonder if it ever happened. It did.
The Stanhope Hotel on 5th Avenue was my refuge during my early time in Manhattan. I bumped into it by accident when one day I was walking to get myself acquainted with the neighborhood. I went inside the restaurant to get a cup of coffee and a crescent. I went back the next day and most mornings after that. At the Stanhope Hotel, I felt that I belonged. I hadn’t felt that way for a long time. I was there and I was not invisible. I was not just another newcomer to the Big Apple. The richness of my surroundings did not dazzle or surprise me. I became aware that Jackie Kennedy had lived not far at 1040 5th Avenuue. I visited theMetropolitanMuseum across the street from the Stanhope often. The apt buildings around the hotel were beautiful—tall, straight and totally majestic. It was as if I had never seen anything that good before.
Belonging mattered more than anything. It was my place, my neighborhood.