Last in the series, A View From A Kitchen explores what meets our eye when we look up from our dirty dishes or half-full coffee cup.
Me A bit before 6am.
Even with the recently fixed and repointed bricks on the building facing the window, the view is exactly as it was 35 years ago. But the life inside the kitchen is completely different.
This is the view I had of the transvestite prostitutes catwalking the street as men in cars dreamed of a $10 solution to their lacks and woes.
This is the view I had of the angry crack pimps threatening the resident who dared to challenge their turf with bright lights and video cameras. (He eventually moved quickly from the neighborhood, having realized this was not a movie and he was not Charles Bronson.)
This is the view I stared out of one holiday evening, promising myself the next year would be different and then the next year I looked out again and promised myself that the next year would be different and then the next year and the next year and the year after that, promise after promise floating out and disappearing into thin air along with a sense of my future.
It's the view where I saw at 3 or 4am a woman run down the street in skimpy pajamas and a man also in pajamas run after her, grabbed her, drag her back to some fancy lobby door as she stamped her feet and flipped her hair back and forth. I didn't call the police because it looked like neither of them knew honesty or love. It just looked like a drama neither of them could change or leave.
And this is the view that, after a sudden and unexpected reprieve from having to work a full-time job, I looked up at one day and saw sunlight burst through for brief moments in late afternoon and, after 35 years, realized that any day the sun was out there would be a precious twenty minutes where my home became happy and calm, no matter who was in it or what was happening.
It is the view I hope only I have and that no one below has a view of me in slovenly sweats or sometimes even quite naked as I rush from the shower to put out the fire of a cooking pot accidentally forgotten.
It's the view that has told me how hard it is raining, or how windy it is or how close spring is by the huddled pigeons returning to roost and fuck and make many ugly baby pigeons right by its ledge.
This is the view I have stared out of, through loss and through hope, washing dishes only I used or washing dishes 16 friends used and its constancy has told me my own transformation.
And now, before 6am in the morning, this is the view I stagger to, exhausted, but not questioning, to open a can, reach for a bowl, and burst with feelings I had once only read about while my legs are bumped repeatedly by love for a mommy-can-opener.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.