NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 98

“Your best surprise is Laura, Cal. You’re one lucky guy. Beauty and brains; it’s the match of dreamers. I’m almost jealous. She’s one hell of a woman. You guys seem like two finches in a lilac bush. You wouldn’t be planning on marriage by any chance? Or just living together? That’s what some women seem to want rather than marriage. Our generation seems to be running scared more than most.” “No marriage plans but you were close. We’ll live together and see what happens. Just like Joan Baez sings, we’re going to do it one step at a time. But Laura’s the one, Zock. She’s turned my head around and I swear I can see her when she’s behind me. That’s a good omen. She’s definitely the one for me. We’re still young though and nervous about that. What’s love? Who in ten thousand years has ever been able to figure that out. Yet we’ve decided it doesn’t matter. It’s the flash of lightning charging between us that counts. To touch the humanity in the other is what we’re after. Mutual respect then grows like a sea anemone. That’s my word on love. Oh, tilt. The beer’s attacking my kidneys. Hold down the bar; I’ll be back in a minute.” Well, what do you do when it doesn’t look as though it’ll ever stop raining or summer was as hot as you remember? “It’s easy, Zock. You wait and count your blessings. Like Cal said, you sit it out or maybe take a walk. It doesn’t matter where, so long as it’s night. There’s freedom even when the wind blows and your bones crunch against one another. Remember, Zock. Sartre was all wet. There is an exit. And you create the way in or out.” “Ok. And be sure and tell her hello and I wish her luck with the new job. But make the party if you can, Cal.” “Right, Zock. Might see you there.” “Be as free as a sail, Cal.” Strange, it seemed like Cal is faking. Laura isn’t that alienated from parties. She’s just very selective and maybe I should learn from her. He left like he was running from a fire. Did I say something wrong? Whatever, the musi c’s still great. But what’s that clown doing in the top ring of my glass? And who manipulates him like a puppet? Is he suggesting I step right out of this bar, inhale a little night air for the senses and the nerves? How can I forget, Second self. Your mask glistens like a Park Avenue shrink’s. Why persist this way? It’s bad for your image, not mine. But here comes Cal. Nervous, nervous, I call him. He hops around like a grasshopper. Talks indirectly. His edginess makes me nervous. Bouncing back, Cal attempts to bossa nova with the bar maid who wants nothing to do with him or the dance. “Holy rat race, Zock. I nearly forgot. I’m to see Laura tonight after she gets off work. She wants me to pick her up. I must drink this on the run. I’ll ask her if she wants to go to the party. But don’t count on it, Zock. You know how Laura hates parties.” 96 Zock thinks to himself, Cal’s crazy, in a good way. I would like to be so crazy. And he always said each dog to his own lamp-post, each desire ripples on its wave of chance. As I rocked my glass around and around, I thought to ask myself, just for an hour, the old question — why does each fall ignore the last? Why isn’t the next easier? For sport, his Second self pitched in his little ditty, “Why should it? Can’t you remember the day the story blew over and the rain stopped and the clouds broke into complete blue? Or what it feels like to wake from a dream on a beach, and realize it’s summer and warm and drenched in silence?” BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 96 3/29/15 11:42 AM