I had no idea what time it was when I got to the steps of my new home. On the stoops, one of the kids who lived in the apartment on the first floor was listening to music that wasn’t playing anywhere. He was tweaked out of his mind and praying that the sun wouldn’t come up too soon. Maybe he wasn’t thinking that at all though – he might not have been thinking anything. He might have just been sitting there doing what he wanted. Lucky.
Sitting underneath the giant clam shell was cold no matter when you sat there. I remember walking down the streets and seeing other folks just kicking it on their stoops having a glass of something and relaxing. I was tired for the first time all evening, so perhaps going to sleep would be something welcome. I didn’t need to work until 2 the next day since it was a Saturday. 2-10 was the shift, and Saturdays were usually pretty mellow up there. I was a night’s sleep away from the next next even though I was still eyeballing it. I hadn’t yet learned to live in the moment.
The kid was a DJ or something at some club or was at least trying to be. I could never get with that whole house or techno scene, it was too new to me. I felt out of place in modern times, even though now looking back on the early 90s, that was a piece of history I fit in well, just not in every pocket. Even at this moment, it’s Saturday, April 24th, 2010 and I’m at the kitchen table trying to think back hard enough to make it all clear, it’s hard to believe how young everything was back then. There are no marked periods in life – not page turns to new chapters.
Up the stairs and into the living room with the open doors that led into the kitchen. The Goat faced boy was sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal and I decided to join him, but found that wasn’t possible because it was the end of both my milk and cereal on the table in front of him.
“Sorry,”he said with my Golden Grams falling out of his mouth. “I figured you’d be out all night or with some girl and I’d just pick you up some in the morning before you got back.”
He smiled and I liked what he was thinking about me, so I paid it no mind. I sat across the table from him and watched him eat the last of my cereal. He was whispering when he talked to me and grunted in between cereal scoops.
“Marcy’s asleep, so I want to keep it like that,” he said. “She wore me out today. Plus I had some work, so it was a double day. No time to go out and do anything I need to do. Why you home so early?”
“I was at a club with some friends but had to get out of there. Things just weren’t feeling right. I’ve been leaving places all night actually.”
“We’re always leaving somewhere man, except when we die. The trick is to learn to enjoy where you’re at and make the most of that – then you can always get comfortable when the situation becomes tense. You’ll rarely see me freak out.”
With that, he put the spoon on the table, drank the last drop of the milk with the sugary bottom and lit up a menthol. He looked comfortable all right and smiled because he had enjoyed what he just told me. After putting his feet up on the table, I noticed that his socks were like new and I was pleased because myself, at that time, and I guess still now when I can though I’m not as fanatical about it, but I used to enjoy having new socks to wear each day. If they weren’t new, then they had to be clean as possible, and I did my socks separate at home in the sink of the bathroom just so they could be like new.
He saw me looking at the socks and offered me one of his smokes. “Hope you don’t mind, I just didn’t have a chance to do any laundry today. You’re like me though, clean socks make the night.”
Now, here, when these things happen in life, now, there is a light that goes off to get away from people who are taking things from you and try to offer up items in exchange: Whether those items be smokes, herb or advice, these things usually are being offered because you’re being taken. Of course, you have to get taken to realize this, and here, in this house, I learned all about that. However, at that time, in the 3:30 AM hours of an old Victorian in my just starting 20s, I had no idea.
The steps sounded with boots, two pair. It was – Damn, I gotta find names for these two. It was Florence and Carolina. Carolina was the guy, but that was debatable. No, he wouldn’t have come home with her. She came home alone from work. Okay. Let’s try it again.
I could hear Florence’s boots stomp heavy up the stairs. She looked around quickly and noticed us at the table, came in and smiled, never taking her bag off her shoulder or putting the plastic bag of groceries that she was carrying down.
“How was work,” I asked.
She smiled at the normalcy of the question.
“Pretty good today actually, though I had to take this guy into the back room for like an hour. He was a mess, just talking about his job and what he should or shouldn’t have done throughout the day. I thought about what I was going to make for dinner while I was ontop of him though, and came up with something good.”
She help up her bag of groceries just as Carolina came racing down the stairs that led intt of a o the living room with the look on his face like that of a dog that had been waiting all day for his owner to come and take him out. He half smiled, grabbed her bag, and went slowly upstairs before stopping half way through.
“I’ll get it all ready, Okay?” he said.
“Sure, that’s what I was thinking,” Florence replied after exhaling. “I’m coming.”She dropped the bag of groceries on the table and followed him upstairs.
“He didn’t even say hello to her,” I said. “What a dick.”
“She’ll return the favor, don’t worry about that,” the Goat Faced Boy said. “Everything changes pretty quick.”
His smirk faded away when Kim came out of their room, wipping her eyes and clapping her tongue to the roof of her mouth.
“Where’d you go? I got scared.”
The little girl voice that she used did not go with her large frame and faded green Manic Panic. The goat faced boy got up and dissapeared shen he tried to put his arms around her. She moved his hand into hers and led him and my socks into their bedroom.
I walked upstairs and sat in the middle of the ballroom and just looked out over the city that had been holding me all night. I still played records back then and put on a Dexter Gordan album and did nothing.
Paws scraped the floor to announce the coming of Florence and Carolina’s wolf dog, followed by his owners. Both of them were calm and friendly and approached soft and respectful.
“it’s the best time right now,” Florence said. “after work with hours to go before the next shiften and an entire city asleep. It’s like everything is for us.”
She had showered and was now in sweats with a towel over her head. Unless she smiled, you couldn’t tell she was a vampire. Carolina was lost in a trance looking through the window checking out his fangs.
“I wish there really wasn’t a reflection,” he said, squinting his eyes in an attempt to make it real.
Both of them were nodding there heads to the music and admiring the same scene. The wolf dog sat in front and completed the picture.
Here, with the vampires and the wolf, was the moment I had been looking for all evening.