i took a long, lone cab to brooklyn last friday.
i finished work, slipped out of my trusty black heels into a pair of worn flip-flops, untucked my work blouse, pulled my hair into a pony, and with exhaustion in tow, raised my arm and hailed a cab.
i listened to johynny flynn's sweet william, part one the whole way there:
i was born with this story, it's older than i.
as the familiar lights of ninth avenue streaked past and a cool air slipped in the window i could think of nothing but a night nearly seven years ago when i and three girls from school squeezed ourselves into our friday night best, piled into a yellow taxi, and headed into the belly of the beast that friday night in manhattan invariably becomes when you're young, wide-eyed, and (yes) impressionable.
we hardly knew each other then. hardly knew new york. hardly knew ourselves. and certainly didn't know what was to come.
but i do remember that paused at a stoplight, i thought: i should remember this. this will be one of those nights i'll need to remember. this is the beginning. this is the starting point.
and that's all i remember of that night.
well, that and the gorgeous garden balcony boasted by the chelsea apartment we finally ended up at.
one of the girls in that cab is married now. to the man she began dating not long before that late september night. another is engaged. many working actresses. all thousands of miles from home. all forging lives and ferreting out truth--or trying to, at least. one girl i haven't spoken to in years. with the others we do what we can but life is hard and time is short and the phone calls have become uneven at best.
i have spent so much time in the seven years sandwiched between those two cab rides wishing it all went differently. wishing the great love of my life proved himself such. wishing i was well. successful, even. wishing it all went a little differently.
but here's the thing. headed to brooklyn last friday, still in my work clothes, speeding down ninth avenue, i felt so...happy. so at peace. so aware that all those seven years and all those things i would've changed led to that moment--to that delirious, little, heaven-sent moment--to that moment in which i was filled by a story older than i, filled by the past, charged by attraction and desire, and thankful i didn't get the guy or the job the first go round.
because i'm still so young. and i've got a little rebellion left. and i'm finding all it takes is a smile to melt a man. they don't care what you're wearing or what you do or even the size of your hips. just a smile and they turn to putty. and it's so damn fun to watch for that moment in which they return the gesture and then wonder if they've done it suavely. and men, i'm gonna level with you: most of the time you haven't. but that makes it all the better. suave is so uninteresting.
and i'd take interesting and flawed any day of the week. whether it's a man. or my life.