Today I finally got back to work in New York, meetings as usual and it was a good feeling to get back in and back to a place I know and love so well, after several months of being busy at home and working on projects that haven’t required me to go. Leisure visits haven’t been high on my list since Mony left and in some way I was happy that I ‘HAD’ to get to the city, because the fact that I haven’t had a desire to be there without Mony has kept me from a place that brings me happiness. Although the trade off today was not being in contact with her all day.
Anyway, I got dressed for meetings, the usual professional wears, and I hesitated this morning wondering if I really needed to go to the meeting because I really didn’t want to be disconnected from Mony. Usually I’m not disconnected, usually I have Skype mobile on all day and I’m able to tap out a quick message or make a call to her, today I had to replace my phone because it decided it was retiring itself… so no connection from the time I left until the time I upgraded to a new phone. Okay, point is… it’s tough to be without her now more than before the three months we spent living together over the holidays. Okay well that’s not the point of the email… or maybe it is… I don’t know, I’m just rambling. Let me focus….
Okay, I’m quasi-focused…
I walked to the bus, the first time I did that by myself since September, last year. Thankfully half way there an acquaintance of mine picked me up and dropped me off… it was nice because that first half of the walk I was in a fog. Once there I walked into the station and ordered two tickets, but quickly realized Mony wasn’t outside waiting for me, so I corrected the order and proceeded out to wait for the bus. Once on the bus I sat down, it was a big empty space without Mony next to me so I closed my eyes… I was going to nap like I used to. Problem… Couldn’t fall asleep because I was to uncomfortable. It wasn’t until ten minutes before we arrived that I finally got relaxed enough to doze off, the bus pulled in. I opened my eyes and waited for the bus to clear out before debarking and planting my feet on the concrete I’d known for all my life… it was cold and I felt as if I was walking into a gelatinous void. Stepping into the Port Authority I had to get my bearings, where was I? It was strange, it was a strange feeling, I’d done this so many times in my life since I was 12 that I shouldn’t feel like this.
I got my head and charged for the door… 8th Ave. Cigarette already in my mouth and before I hit the outer doors, lit before the doors opened and on the street, turn left and walk to the corner… 42nd street. Hang a right and cross. Yeah, I got this.
No, I don’t. I crossed and at the corner on the other side I paused, looked up and around and realized that there was no colour. Maybe I was just out of sorts, but it really seemed like I was looking around in black and white and grey… what was going on? Where was the colour, and I’m not speaking metaphorically here, I genuinely looked around and everything was just these muted shades of grey as if I was wearing glasses that eliminated the colours of the spectrum.. in fact I pulled my sunglasses down off my nose and looked around just to be sure it wasn’t my glasses… it wasn’t everything was just this washed out grey. I closed my eyes for a few seconds and opened them, and the colour seemed to return, but it was still these muted shades… without Mony things weren’t in technicolour. I walked.
I found myself at the NY Public Library and I had a couple of hours to kill, so I decided to take a leisurely stroll for a change. Walking into the library I was suddenly hit with this feeling I was alone… I hadn’t visited the library in years before Mony and hadn’t visited it again since taking Mony there. I walked slowly through the halls taking in the sights of the amazing building and found myself at a set of stair where I slid down the banister when Mony and I visited. Remembering how I looked back at her with a mischievous look and she warned me not to do it… I did it. It brought a smile to my face. I then went up to the next floor where I walked the hall to the end where I stood at the window and looked down to the street… day dreaming about the day when Mony and I are waking up in the morning, coffee in hand staring out our apartment window down on the streets of a city we belong in.
I proceeded to the top floor where I took in a photo exhibit of Philip Trager, I was compelled to look at the exhibit above the other items that interested me because it was photography, I knew if Mony was there we’d go to see this… so in my mind’s eye I pictured her with me as we looked over the photos that caught our eye and I would talk about the composition. In my mind’s eye she was there holding my hand.
I left the library, not feeling entirely lost anymore, but by the time I made it to Grand Central the feeling of Mony’s hand holding mine was gone. At Grand Central I once again felt like I was all alone, as if I was invisible a ghost moving through the spaces between the living, I felt like I was part of the grey fog that covered the city in my eyes. And I decided to treat myself to something I usually did on meeting days, so I headed downstairs to my regular shoe shine stand and got my shoes polished. It was only a few minutes of respite, and I still felt like a ghost, but when it was done I had a shine on my shoes which gave me some sense of pride as I stepped back up stairs to the street where I walked to the nearest street vendor, around the block on Park.
I got myself some shish kebob and realized that it didn’t taste as good as it did when Mony was with me, it wasn’t fun to eat, it was merely cheap chicken ass on a stick that I needed to eat because I needed energy and sustenance. Wolfing it down over a garbage can, I didn’t remember tasting it nor remember chewing it, and off to my meeting I went.
The meeting kept me distracted but it wasn’t long before I was looking for a reason to get to the Verizon store and upgrade my phone… heading back to the train station I got that taken care of and hustled my ass out the door, downloading the Skype app as I made my way to the subway. Once through the system into Penn Station, I got my tickets, went outside and lit a cigarette… signing into Skype I sent a message with the inhale of a much needed cigarette, hitting send with the exhale.
Finally on the train I called her and finally heard her voice after a long day… suddenly colour began to return to the day, and I noticed the sounds of people talking and moving about… it still wasn’t the same as her by my side but I finally was able to hear her tell me she loved me and missed me.
I realized that the whole time in the city I didn’t see or hear another soul, there seemed to be no one there in the grey of the day, I couldn’t remember the face of the person who served us at the restaurant during the meeting, the woman who updated my phone, the woman who bumped into me, I don’t remember the sound of the guitar player, nor the voice of the train announcer… I don’t remember a soul, not a person, not one human being. I walked into a city filled with eight million people and there wasn’t a soul in the entire city, there was just me alone, a ghost. Without Mony the city I love, New York City, was empty… it was an empty city to me, a grey empty city.
A lonely city.
Thanks for reading