I like sitting in a simple joint working slowly on a medium rare burger, sipping refreshing blue moon, sinking a slice of orange in a glass, mopping ketchup with thin French fries, getting my fingers dirty, striking random conversation with bartender Thomas about the quality of sound of roger waters’ last show, about pink Floyd back in the days (as if I’d lived back then) about upcoming shows at Barclays center. Care-free-dom. I like sitting and eating and drinking just like that after doing many freestyles, and breaststrokes and backstrokes at dodge ymca and then steaming at the steam room and then going to the joint with no make up on, no bra, no grimacing, no attitudes, putting a hoody on top of my head.
‘Stay out of troubles, young lady,” Thomas says as I get up and leave him a good tip. Why does he say that? And how does he know that? I wonder.
I’d taken 1 train only a few times in my entire new york life until I was hired to work at Mystique. I remember that black girl on the train. Her hair was dyed platinum blonde, her nose was pierced between nostrils, and she was wearing tons of make up, and she had this big addidas bag, the kind of bag meant for keeping stuff. Her scarlet red lipstick was glittering on her big full lips, and yet she was wearing an uptight long grey skirt and black tights, creating a weird contrast. The train was moving slowly with delays and she kept looking at her watch nervously. Her face was tense and pensive. It suddenly struck me that we were going to the same place. I almost nodded at her affirmatively because I was running late too. We both got off at Houston and I thought I’d strike a conversation with her and ask her how it was working out for her there. But as we were passing the information booth she suddenly stopped. She swiped her card, asked something an MTA worker. Then she turned away and looked at me without moving anywhere. And I saw it in her. A change of heart. A dramatic pause. To re-position, to re-consider, to perhaps change the course, to quit it once and for all. Either that or I was guessing it – I was jealous of her because I was walking there alone, and because 3 years ago I’d already quit it once and for all, a few times actually. I even had a farewell party with a few friends who knew I was doing it. I’d emptied my addias bag, cleaned it and donated it, saving a few items for memorabilia. But then a few weeks later, after my short vacation at St.Lucia I’d decided to do it one last time again, so that I engrave the experience of being ‘em all in one day – freshly hired non-admitted NY- state associate, hired by a small Wall Street company on a condition to re-take the bar exam, an ESL tutor and a one hot Stripper working for the hottest strip club in Manhattan. I was too excited and to exhausted to accomplish all three staying cool and focused. So the latter went wrong, just like Murphy’s law and I was fired from the strip club in a heartbeat. So at 2 am I walked out from the club, got 99-cents Murray pizza and walked 30 long and short blocks to Brooklyn Bridge. I stopped at the middle of the bridge, ripped my club schedule and threw it down, watching its pieces descending slowly outta my sight. It was early June, the air smelled like early summer in New York, salty fresh damp air filled with cat’s and dog’s urine and people’s drama and sex.