Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The Avenue N station was early-afternoon quiet.  An orthodox mother & her daughter were standing on the platform.  The girl wore winter clothing that made the word "serge" spring to mind - a fabric stored in my head from an E.Nesbit childhood or something - and a hair bow bigger than her head.  A guy paced back & forth, talking rapidly into his phone.  He was early middle-aged, in plaid pants sharply creased and an ugly brown jacket.  The pants were a little too short. Back & forth he walked, back & forth, and each time he neared me I caught fragments of his conversation.  "So basically you want me to beat up his daughter?" "So I'm gonna strip the Bronco & resell it ..."  Then something that sounded so much like a Coppola movie than it hardly seemed credible.  It was tantalizing, and at one point I edged closer, but it didn't help because he never stood still for a second.
It felt so peaceful up there on the elevated platform.  It was a perfect spring day, the air sweet & mild,  & finally some sun on our skin.  Despite the pacing & the lurid rhythm of conversation, life seemed leisurely.  You could see into the distance for miles, across Washington Cemetery & beyond, all the way to a faint trace of Manhattan, with a tiny Freedom Tower.
Those lands to the north were a whole other world away

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