Saturday, September 22, 2001

Not since the old ACT UP days of the early 90's can I remember tears in my eyes during casual sex. Seems like trivial self-pity to even mention it, after all, I'm still around, some of those guys from back then aren't; today, I have a place to live, the guy who left a short while ago, calling himself a "Battery Park refugee", doesn't know when he'll get to return to his home.

Thursday was a tough day - probably the rain, the same rain that 10 days before was so awesomely beautiful - but 7 days prior had kept me up all night, worried about rescue workers' job being impaired by the downpour. I realized that I haven't cried with anyone I know; it seems to happen when I am alone riding my bike, or holding a stranger tight like tonight, or last Friday, in the dark, so they can't see, hidden, secret, too upsetting to share.

Thursday, I walked around the neighborhood, which was quiet because of the rain; the memorial down the block was tattered and wet, with one of the dozen candles still somehow burning. In Thompkins Square Park, I circled the area where the candles and flowers were laid, eventually approaching the big trees in the center, reading a sign, saddened, moving slowly away..... I finally allowed myself to stand still, leaning against a fence, facing north and looking at the dozens and dozens of candles scattered. Two old women, of some undetermined Eastern European origin, who I've seen for many years in this park, slowly approach the candles. I have always imagined they must be sisters, as they are both rather old, small, feeble looking. The one is always pushing the other in a wheelchair, going for an afternoon stroll it seems, though she looks like she could use a wheelchair herself. I've never seen them talk to each other, as if everything has already been said years ago, or the one in the chair is too incapacitated to understand. So, as they approach the memorial display, they stop. The one pushing the chair bends over, picks up one of the dried flower branches, and says something to her sister - I can hear only enough to tell its not in English, then she bends back down, finding one of the few lit candles, igniting this branch, and lights several other candles. They stare at it together for only a few moments, as the rain returns, the wheelchair moves on, my face wet, once again.