Somewhere that summer, crop tops got big again. I didn’t know because I’d been gone, but even if I’d been around — would I have bothered? All I did know was what I saw. The midriffs of thousands of teenage or twenty-something women, belly rubbing belly, button to button, on the way to work in the morning.
Girls were fancy, city girls were fancier.
City girls had tapped into the vein of something essential — not feminine, necessarily, but essential. A common language of clothes and hair types and ways of Being: rolled up pant legs, men’s dress shoes, one dark coat, dresses and boots, hair ties, and also important other qualities like self restraint, a way of laughing, talking to Mom on the phone.
These were girls who got it, sometimes defined It, were photographed for newspapers or appeared in magazines, leaning over tables and laughing privately. They wore lipstick, were smart, had manicured opinions about war and sexism.
I saw them in the airports — always with bags. Stacks and stacks of luggage. An entire suitcase dedicated to shoes, and they owned it.
My friend’s girlfriend flew in from London and insisted he meet her at the airport. She didn’t bother pretending to be fine, ever. No, she was not at ALL interested in sports. When it came time on the gallery tour to get down on our hands and knees and crawl through an artist-made trapdoor in one wall, she mutely declined, instead walking out the way we came in, meeting us on the other side. Her casual Oxford remained blue, crisp. Hanging loosely on a fold of collar bone, so completely thin. Her glasses. She name dropped Rilke like eight times and openly detested camping. The shade and cut of her hair — brown, short — matched even her socks, cut below the ankle, dark, folded, with lace tufts.
I was obsessed.
New York City was full of these women; handbags like exotic pets. I admired every single one of them.
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."