I love looking through old letters between Kurt and me. This one is from Jan 31, 2005. More than six years ago. We weren't as familiar as we became, very quickly, shortly after this time. He went to visit a friend for New Years, and so did I. I missed him, and wanted him to have seen what I saw, but I didn't want him to know how much I had missed him. Not yet, anyway.
New York City is a monstrosity that makes me feel very claustrophobic and paranoid. The living spaces are ridiculously small, and the bars are ridiculously small, and the cross streets are entirely too slim. Millions of people are packed, one on top of the other, in towering and lopsided buildings, and no matter where you walk or run, you feel a sense that something giant is looming over you. It feels like a very vain and arrogant space... like it knows, somehow, that it is exerting itself on you, and it doesn't care. It's fucking New York, after all.
I loved the empty highway on Friday night, though. It was cold and lonely and long, and I sang songs at the top of my lungs and almost died text messaging you while I was passing a truck on a curve.
I got to Brooklyn around midnight on Friday. My buddy's apartment was on the fifth floor of a fire escaped, grey building, and a New York City Corrections Officer lives on the floor below her. We had weed delivered to the front door, and sat on the freezing mini-roof deck and I ate pills habitually to keep my muscles in place.
On Saturday, though, it was 55 degrees so we went to the beach at Coney Island which is a marvelous place. Old ladies wearing fur jackets, hooked securely on the arms of their smartly trench-coated old man husbands, and the people from the poorest projects in the city all live in the same place. The old timey amusement park is beaten up and battered and gorgeous. The ocean is always perfect to me. I took off my shoes and walked under piers and wandered to the edge of the surf to stare at the crooked rocks jutting just out of reach off of the shore. If I am a sucker for things that are desperate and sad, then the ocean is my reason.
After sleeping for a few hours, we ran down the coast to Atlantic City. A vain space, as well, but nothing like the glare and pomp of New York. Atlantic City is a harlot pressing against the cage of your brain. SO beautiful. I love the lights and the noise and the empty promises. Our hotel room was comfortable and clean smelling and we were on the 20th floor at the very end of the boardwalk, overlooking the ocean.
I was desperately tired. The first thing I did upon entering the city limits was to put my bags into my room. The second thing I did was to order a long and seamless string of Bloody Marys, minus the Worcestershire sauce... mispronouncing it every time. The drinks came with celery and olives and lime wedges and they were all free.
I was falling off of my seat, propped up in front of various slot machines. Dead. Tired. We decided to walk out in the freezing ocean air, on the boardwalk. My friend twisted her ankle in the sand and fell down and pulled me to the ground with her, which was the beginning of a moment of madness. The third thing I did in Atlantic City was to run crooked and tired and drunk through the cool, dry sand and plunge, face first, into the water.
The force of the cold hitting my skin was marvelous. The breath left my body and my joints and muscles all locked themselves up painfully and seized. I fell down on my hands and knees while a wave retreated and my friend screamed gleefully and we ran back to the relative safety of the windswept sand. The wind was a murderer. We only had to walk about 2 blocks to get back to our hotel, but I have never been so sure of anything as I was that I was going to die that night, right there on the frozen beach in front of a tour van of old people in windbreakers.
We changed clothes and took showers that were too hot, and we went back to the casino and lost all of our money. By the time I rolled into Indiana on Monday evening, the car was on empty, the gas light was on, and I didn't have a cent on me. Everything worked out perfectly. Charmed, even.
Except that I couldn't stand the stale feeling of my dead wooden apartment, and I had a staring contest with the cat and tried to find an activity that didn't make my chest hurt with hollowness from you being gone. This never looks so grubby and pointless as it does when you've been somewhere else for a while. I can't stand it. But, give me a few days, and I will be placated and serene seeming. Habituated for show. Whatever.
Visit me next weekend. You can sleep in my bed.