Another comparison of sizes of those that make you feel very very small.
It’s fine, although I’m more of classics. I can not imagine a video the size of the moves that are in the universe without listening to this background music …
I stay up all night, long after all the old movies and infomercials are done. I had watched Ben-Hur for what seemed like the first time.
I think about how I’ve been sleeping in later and later, and how I don’t especially care. I haven’t bathed for seven days. I feel as if I have no friends – and I don’t.
Moving to a new place is always difficult. Though I’d had troubles in my previous home, mostly because I’d get into fights and win every one, I miss it. I miss the people who didn’t want to kick my ass; I even miss the people whose asses I did kick, and would later come to my house in groups to threaten and spit.
I walk outside. It is foggy, and the fog is so thick that I can feel its wetness seeping into my clothes. The sky is beginning to light. The fog will clear soon, when the sun gets to be overhead, but it is five in the morning, so I still have time. I walk back inside to put on my shoes. I forget socks.
Outside again, I feel the cold, healthy air on my face. It’s coming from the ocean (today I miss the smell the most), and it’s cold enough to perk up my small male-nipples and turn my legs and arms a little purple. I know this will pass, and it will be annoyingly hot in the afternoon. My mind is blank as I begin to walk. I walk over the hill, toward the harbour. I change my direction, beelining to the ocean, to pass my school. I go to what I will in the future refer to as the smokepit. I see the cigarette butts of forgotten years mashed into the dirt and pavement. I don’t know yet that I will be here, that I’ll sit here with friends and enemies around me, almost at arm’s length. I continue my walk.
I get to the ocean when the sun is finished warming the sky, sunrise long gone. I walk through the War Memorial, over Water Street. I walk down a small dirt road. I must touch the water. I go past empty shops and ancient houses, and find the seashore. St. John’s Harbour is not fit for swimming, I realize, but I take off my shoes. I forget them, and place my feet in the cold, cold water.
Suddenly, amazingly, I am filled with my connection to the earth. I know of nothing around me. I can only feel the rocks and seaweed under my feet. I reach down at the seaweed, and timidly touch it with the first two fingers of my left hand. Its green-purple surface shines in the brightening light. I feel important, I feel necessary. I feel as if I am a part of a greater whole.
Because my feet are in the ocean, so cold.
I look to my left, and I see a jellyfish caught between some rocks. A memory surfaces of when I was young, catching jellyfish and bringing them in to shore, laughing at their brainless forms. I do not know if the jellyfish is alive, I don’t know if tide is coming in soon, or if it is going out. I scoop its pink-blue-white form up with both hands. The tentacles fall under my hand. I hold it at arm’s length, careful not to get stung. That would ruin my day. I note with some wonder its weight as I place it in the water.
I get up without noticing its progress. I turn away, almost smiling, immense happiness fills my chest. I don’t want to see if it lives or if it is dead. I simply know that I did something good, some small, minute thing. My disappointment would be quite great if it was dead already.
Later, I have a shower.
During the early years of primary school, I lived in a lower-population area that cut education costs by combining grades together. I was in a mixed class of kids from grades two and three, and whenever a concept was grade-three-only the teacher would assign the grade two students some questions and tell them to sit in a corner and ignore her lesson. I got in some trouble back then for persisting in listening to her lessons instead of doing my work, but hey, I sure was good at multiplying by the time I hit later grades.
The first time I saw Sombo I was in a euphoric state to begin with and her surprising presence only served to heighten my mood. I was with three new friends, sitting at a small river side restaurant in Phnom Penh. We were a tangled group of lovers and friends, four corners of a love square, ecstatic because our bond had seemed improbable only a few days earlier. Sombo’s apparition made the afternoon more magical and surreal.
For Phnom Penh locals, the sight of an elephant in mid-day traffic was normal. To visitors it is anything but. The four of us stared at her, wide-eyed, mouths agape, as she walked towards us, moving her legs slowly but covering great distances with her long stride. Someone muttered about having had too much to drink and having visions, but without wasting time, we wove our way through the chaotic swirls of traffic to get a closer look. She stopped and let us touch her, looking at us with her sad eyes.
I swerved uptown instead of continuing all the way home and walked a couple blocks north up Broadway. At the corner of Sixteenth and Broadway, where Broadway was just a side street squeezed next to Union Square Park, there was a dingy bank building with scaffolding around it. Checking my watch to make sure it was at least past noon, I pushed inside.
The building had been a bar for as long as I could remember. I had first ventured in when it was titled the Bank Cafe in a nod to its obvious financial origin. Now it boasted a much hipper name and even more nouveau cuisine. Young, hip tech and media types jockeyed for bar space under the enormous plant that was placed at the curved end of the drinking platform, half of them the pasty color of true techies and half of them the overblown bulge of strenuous gym workouts.
The loss of the Towers has put a slight crimp on my activities in Manhattan. It’s difficult to negotiate with those who live in the Heavens when one can’t get as close to said Heavens. Luckily for me, Art Deco has one thing the Towers didn’t.
A lightning rod on the same building as the Observation Deck.
I stood on the northeast corner of the Empire State Building and looked out over Manhattan Island at night. The air was muggy, oppressive and loaded with the sullen energy of thunderstorms licking their way across eastern Pennsylvania and up the Jersey shoreline. Off in the distance, flickers of heat lightning backed by the real thing could be seen even through the ochre haze of streetlights.
The deck was deserted. It had closed some three or four hours before. I had hidden myself in a corner, helped along by some of the talismans in the leather bandolier beneath my overcoat. The glass vial had rippled me out of sight as the guards swept through, kept the light off me as they passed, and now here I was turning the smooth angled shape over in my hands and waiting for midnight to come.
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