-New York circa 2000.
Some background to this New York discourse – After the end of a two month period of “dating” a writer from Florida (I’ll call her the Floridian), which consisted of us reading each other’s projects and drawing conclusions on the people that we were both from our interactions and our works ended in the culmination of these conflicting ideals, and her move to Atlanta. Writers of different ilk’s, she was a big reader of “Black” fiction, and was looking for her manuscript to be a best seller in that genre, I personally saw Blue Lines as a book that would be in any fiction section of a book store. Her writing used voice inflections, and phonetic spellings, my writing used standard English, at best, and added “regional” words to add authenticity to the characters and time period. Needless to say, she was in Atlanta and the two months of hell, which seemed like two years was over, thus an offer to come to New York.
I knew that in coming to New York, I would have to temper emotions and expectations. These were conflicting times, as a 24 year old thinking he knew everything. I in the initial final stages of a manuscript about a woman that I had recently told I loved her (through e-mail, because she had left Atlanta, I had recently heard back from her to which she responded that my “words were nice” and we were having some discourse, much to the Floridian’s chagrin, I’ll call her Key, since that is the manuscripts character’s name). The Floridian and I had ended our “relationship” that was strife with wanting to live up to Key, although it was through reading and the Floridian asking me about Key, that she was brought up (I didn’t ask about the man in her manuscript). Tempered, because the Trinidadian, a great friend from college and to this day, however we had our misstep and entered into a relationship my freshman year, and now she was bringing me to New York to escape. So while at the Bentley Hotel (a boutique hotel that was a precursor to what we see in Hotel’s such as the W and their Whatever/Whenever mantra) on East 62nd Street we enjoyed a weekend that was enlightening, and helped put a stamp on solidifying and maintaining our friendship. I had to go in, knowing that although I needed this escape, maintaining our friendship, and just that was key.
Early the morning of my second to last day in New York, I sat in the corner of the room, the bridge in the distance of the wide open windows. We had had the coolest dinner at the spot I wish I could remember, we saw a film that had the Portishead composition “Roads” in it, and we had discussed that our friendship would be just that. Though, that’s my girl, I’ll always have her back. I sat reflecting, while I had Blue Lines open on the laptop, and tried to dial into the internet (this was 2000) to check on correspondence from the Floridian (this I expected) and from Key (I still did not know how to deal with the woman of my dreams popping back into reality), as the Trinidadian woke, we began OUR discourse as it pertained to relationships and reciprocity. Reciprocity, being young my concept of love dealt mainly with feeling being reciprocated. Though, I consider myself and observant man of few vocal words, my thoughts and discourses, especially at this time, were verbose. Our conversation about reciprocity had less to do with the Trinidadian and I going forward, or even our past, but more so with love and the future on our different paths. And as the sun cut through that bluish New York morning and into our room and she woke, I placed the computer down. My contacts burned, and the sun was at my back, and we spoke of how you can want something (man/woman) with all your heart, but if that feeling/love/want/happiness is returned to you, then at the end of the day, it is all for naught…it may at best be unrequited love and at worst infatuation. And although, not specific to what she at one time wanted for us, we both knew what would come up, had the option to say know, and continued to forge that mutual respect that allows for us to be the greatest of friends to this day.
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