Sunday, June 17, 2001

the world's greatest

He should have been 68 last month. When i was a kid, he'd take me to church, then to breakfast (he always ate breakfast out, preferably a "greasey spoon") then I'd either clean his office, or we'd go to some site he was doing blueprints for (he'd always say something like "someday, my prints will come'). He took me to see all the Planet of the Apes movies, and Soylent Green, and my first R-rated movie, Sisters, promising Mom he'd shield my eyes from the naughty stuff (which he tried for all of 5 seconds, so I did get to see her boobs and lots of knives and blood, which may explain why I can never cut meat, or have any sort of physical attraction to women - just a theory). We saw all the 70's vampire movies together, and always got lots of popcorn and snacks, and he was the first person in my family I officially came out to, in a long long letter which he called immediatley upon receiving to tell me how everything was cool, and how happy he was that I could tell him anything. And when i thought i'd flunk out of school, he told me it was okay, it might just take an extra year, no big deal. So I didn't fail, and he and Mom came to New York for graduation, spending money they didn't have....... and yet, somehow, I never managed to feel like i had enough time to truly be a good friend to him, to tell him to stop drinking and eating so poorly and smoking, and not taking care of himself. But he lived his life the way he saw fit. He drank cheap red wine out of gallon bottles (not literally right out of the bottle!) which he often had on ice, or watered down. He always asked beggers for the "story" - often to their bewilderment ("I give you money, you give me a story, thats how it works") He traveled with Mom in a Cadillac across the South just a few years before he passed when neither of them had jobs. As a teenager, I would be horrified riding in a car with him cuz he was like Mr MaGoo never seeing the red lights, and he'd roll down the window and yell out randomly to people "Get off the street, you're ugly!" At diners, if his coffee cup wasn't full, he'd quietly sit it on top of his head, continuing his conversation non-chalantly as I sank lower and lower in my seat until the waitress would appear and laugh at how silly he was. And he had everyone in the Building Dept call him The Worlds Greatest Living Architect. And I find I still need his friendshp and reassurances. And today, pretending I could be ok and not think about him too much, the last man I fell in love with, who dumped me 103 weeks ago today, and who I havent seen or spoken to in 101 weeks, was walking along Christopher St and waved and called my name and I smiled, or waved, or nodded, or did a combination of the 3, and kept peddling, not turnng back, cuz you know how inertia is.......
and not until hours later did I let myself fall apart, wishing that I could call 312-238-5210 and have him tell me it would all be ok, and "lets go to the Beverly Theater and sit in the balcony and see a horror movie, okay, Bri?"