August 4, 2012
It was the very end of August, two years ago. It was Freedom & Revolution, or kinda close. Take the F to Smith & Ninth, he said. Then walk down Ninth to Fine Furniture. When you get there, walk down to the back. That’s where we’ll be.
Five o’clock, I told him. He said that was fine.
We arrived, Miss Chen and I. I was wearing that one-shoulder Fafi top and my hair in a side ponytail. I was hot pink, sunshine yellow, and black. I was vibrating wildly, all day waiting this moment. I was an addict. I did everything I could to get my fix and I would not go without. I was instant gratification. I was constant, constantly. I knew just what I needed to do to keep in him my orbit indefinitely.
As we started down the ramp that’s when I saw the car. It was big and burgundy, an old school showboat, from the movie of my life. It was driving towards us so very slowly. And then it stopped. Mr. Brown leaned out the window with that smile of his, twenty four carats straight through my heart. I looked at his eyes, they were wide and bright and tired and dark. I looked at his hair. It was perfect, but no paint in it. I introduced Miss Chen. He was polite, if nonplussed. The guy in the passenger seat didn’t so much as turn his head in our direction. There was a car behind him and some guys flew by on bike. The caravan was heading out. Wait. What.
He wasn’t staying. He had been painting for hours in the heat. No food, no water, on some say what now steez. He was wasted, had to go. I shifted my weight on to my other foot. He stepped on the pedal and off he went.
Miss Chen was unimpressed. After all that I had said, she looked disappointed, annoyed, and started in on it. I got what she was talking about. Had I not been, I would have agreed. But I was so I ignored everything. It was just who I was.
We left those energies on the ramp and headed back, walking under the unshrouded August sun. With every footfall, my heart pounded harder until it was rattling in my chest and it was then that I drew a long and slow breath. I could smell the sewage in the air and hear the light lapping of the canal as it sparkled majestically, well, as majestically as August in Brooklyn on the Gowanus, ya feel me.
We reached the end of the road and went around the corner, and that’s when I saw it, shining in full splendor. Took my breath away. He did. He always will. There, reflecting on the canal was Joan of Arc blazing fires long fueled.
And I just stood there and maybe I said something aloud like I love him I love him I love him. Or maybe not. I heard the rumblings of a train and I looked up over my right shoulder and I saw the F barreling down. And then it hit me. This painting can only be seen from the train.
My heart soared. I swear it just, I can’t even describe it, that feeling where it becomes so big and so round and so pillow soft that you think you might float away. I stood there in reverence, feeling something that still vibrates today.
And then it hit me. It was a tiny pin prick and I floated back down to earth. I wasn’t there as some fan. I was producing a shoot. I was professional. Too much so. Too much a cog in the machine, another brick in the wall. I turned off and then I restarted myself. How did he get over there? And how were we going to photograph it? And wait, why didn’t he tell me? And why, why always secrets? And why did he leave me to do this by myself? And why… I know why, I just do. I can’t never not. I always will.
What do you think? he texted me.
You defy me, I wrote back, laughing to myself. There would be hell to pay. I couldn’t or wouldn’t help who I was.
Ohh oops. I almost forgot. Day 28: When you write, to what degree do real-life experiences serve as inspiration?
Everything about life and death serves as inspiration. Even my delusions and illusions and fantasies are based in the world around me. I’m not one of those people who makes up stories from scratch. The only ideas I have are those that come to me. I don’t understand it and I doubt I ever will because when I really, really feel it, it’s too fuuuuhkinnn intense. It’s me with tears in my eyes and I don’t know why but it’s cool. It’s cool. I can’t pretend something important isn’t happening right now.