Wednesday, May 08, 2002

From a dream, yesterday morning: May freedom melt in your throat like ice cream.

I went to 28th Street and walked up and over to the uptown side and I waited. I watched as waves and waves of commuters got off trains and filed through the turnstiles, disappearing upstairs to leave the station quiet again. I scanned the crowd for any dark woman's face. I was calm but not serene; all I could think of was how strange this was, this dreadful anticipation. I was about to see her.

Finally she appeared. She was slender, with a long black coat and her hair tied back. She had thin lips, high cheekbones, a bit of an overbite. She looked good and I was relieved. Pat, she said, yes I said, and she smiled and we stood wordless a moment, and I said would you like to get together later and she said sure. I said what about tonight and she put her hands up to her head and said I don't know, I'm so pressed for time and I said that's OK, how about tomorrow and she said yes. I said we'd talk later and it was good to meet her and I shook her hand.

Later she called me and left a message. "It's Sajita, I want to make sure everything's all right." She was afraid I had changed my mind, I realized. I called her back and said everything's fine and she said why don't you come out to Brooklyn tonight, come out to Grand Army Plaza and call me when you get out.

I waited on the corner on Nevins Street, waited for her to come and find me, watching people walk home in the cool spring dusk. Two women, one black and one white, walked up.

"Excuse me," the black one said.


"You speak English!" she exclaimed with goofy, exaggerated delight. "Do you know how to get to Park Slope?"

"I'm sorry, I'm not from around here."


I motioned toward the subway entrance with my head. "You could go down and ask the, uh, the tollbooth guy."

"Good idea!"

"The token booth guy."

"Good idea!"

They nodded to each other, eyebrows raised.

"Good idea! Thank you!"

And I was left to stand and wait again.