A My Private Coney project Flash non-fiction, brief moments and old memories of a city and mother's emotional and physical real estate disappearing at the speed of heartbreak.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
It Happens When It Happens
I had met them before. On a Thursday.
On the same bus. Avenue A going back up to 14th Street.
Had to run downtown to Florence's. Stopped to talk with the staff there. Ran into an old friend as I hobbled up the stairs. Got to the bus stop before the bus got to the bus stop. Watched them get on at the next stop, clearly miserable in the cold weather, not sure how to get to where they were going, and and bugging the bus driver who finally told them to relax sit down I'll get you there but you gotta let me get there first...
Yeah, I chimed in, you'll be fine - because travel on the MTA is a group participation activitiy.
The weekend came.
Had to run downtown to Florence's. Brought the Mariner with me. Met with a whole bunch of people. Met a whole bunch of other people last minute. Visited a neighbor. Stopped by the laundry room to say hi to an old friend, hobbled up the stairs, got to the bus stop before the bus got to the bus stop....
And there they were. At the next stop. Definitely enjoying the warmer weather.
We gave them our seats. And before you know, we're all talking non-stop, yeah they had gotten to New Jersey alright, her former daughter-in-law was in the same anthology series I was, writing about the store her family owned - the one my bubbie used to go into and argue with her distant cousins to give her a better discount, he was a cop in Brooklyn in the 30's, in those days, ok just a short story, but in those days...
...and then of course the question about how long have you been together...
"A year and a half," she said. "You?"
"Two and a half," we said.
"We met online. You?"
"At the airport."
Both heading home to Florida after some tough family stuff in New York, the plane got delayed, and the only seat left on the plane was next to him.
She sat down and said, "This is the last time I'm ever flying this fucking airline."
He thought, "Wow what spunk."
And she, 'allergic' to short men, glanced at his legs, and thought, "Wow. Tall."
Which made me and the Mariner laugh because on our first date I yelled at him when he asked if he could kiss me.
He says he said, "Ok. I'll try later."
I don't remember that. But I did remember thinking, "Wow. I get to be myself with this guy."
And he remembered thinking, "Wow. She's honest."
"I was widowed five years ago, wasn't interested in dating at all," the woman said.
"I'm 90," the man said. She grinned.
We refrained from going, "AWWWWWW!" After all, we hate it when the 20 somethings say that to us when we stand on line at Trader Joes.
But looking back at that bus ride, the perfect timing of running into that couple out of the blue again, the storytelling, the intersection of family and history, I guess it shouldn't have surprised either of us when in the middle of a messy house, the cats running around, the sink full of dishes and us in our most comfortable nap-time sleepy clothes, the Mariner got down on one knee...
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.