Five months and two minutes later we are arguing violently in front of the L train stop on Bedford Ave.
Youíre the one who didnít call!
I did callÖ
Yeah! Five fucking months later. Her green eyes light up and I have an overwhelming desire to kiss her.
Well, fuck, why didnít you call me?
I am not going to answer that one you prick.
Ok, technically sheís right. I said something to the effect of
ëdonít call me Iíll call youí but who ever really means that?
Alice is looking over me and I see her do something that fascinates me
about her; she covers her face with her hands and completely composes
herself from a crying, angry young girl to headstrong-together young
Entering to my left is a taller, dusty version of myself who kisses
Alice on the cheek and turns to me and smiles and says, ìHi, Iím
Jim. Iíve heard a lot about you.î
ITîS A BEAUTIFUL FUCKING DAY! I wipe my face with my sleeves and
close my eyes while I walk. I open my eyes and Iím surprised that
Iím not floating in the air.
Alice pulls me to the rusty fence that stretches yawning around the
East River. I can feel her arm around my waist and I can feel Jim pull
her nearer him and me pulling her towards me and knowing that all of us
know that all of us donít want to know that we know because the
knowledge only frays the lines of our heartstrings. I start to
drift into a breathy heaviness and close my eyes, I cant stop thinking
about how good I feel and how I should feel like this all the time, and
I squeeze Alice tighter. The light of the setting sun has
turned her white summer dress into an amber robe that floats around her
with the breeze.
ìThe suns so bright it leaves no shadows only starsî, she sings in my
ear. I laugh and sing to her, ìA woman needs a man like a fish
needs a bicycle.î She shoves me playfully but looks at me with
eyes slightly darkened. I ignore her stare and grasp the wire
fence with my hands and shake it as if I can wake the deathless metal
to life. Suddenly I realize that I have covered us all in rust
dust. My face turns red as Jim and Alice look down on their
formerly white clothing.
ìSorryÖî my face heats up and I feel that I should slip into some wretched hole. Jim and Alice start to laugh.
ìItís okay.î Jim says. He puts his hand on my arm and we pull
ourselves together and watch the sun slowly sink into the tremulous
skyline of Manhattan.
I close my eyes and feel the bits of sunlight sprinkle across my face
and I swallow a deep breath forcing the oxygen into my body. As I
am holding my breath I start to hear a voice off in the distance.
The voice gets louder and louder and I realize that someone is coming
towards us, screaming. As twilight paints the street a deep cyan
I see a grinning kid zoom by me on a bicycle, his eyes catching the
last drop of sunlight. Behind him I see some guy running after
ìSTAH OP ëIM, STAP ëIM, MY BIiiiKE!!î
The kid turns the corner onto another street laughing as he chugs
along. Suddenly I hear a screech of tires and a sound that
reminds me of an egg cracking. I look over at Alice and Jim in
disbelief but Alice has already sprinted towards the accident.
Jim looks at me, a cigarette in his mouth, shrugs and grabs a lighter
from his pocket. I walk quickly around the corner and feel my
heart in my throat and my stomach somewhere in between. I turn
the corner of the street and crumpled on the sidewalk in front of me
is, or was, the bike. Fifteen feet away is the dented pickup
truck and its driver staring wide-eyed at the kid laying in his pool of
blood in the middle of the street. Alice is by the kid, one hand
on her cel phone the other rummaging her purse for something.
Behind me I hear footsteps and smell the sweat of the guy who was
chasing the kid.
I look at him and heís looking at his bike then at the kid then at the bike then at the kid.
ìGood lord.î He manages to say. ìGood lord. Jesus.î
Jim walks up to the guy and offers a cigarette. The man refuses
and puts his hand on his head muttering.
The driver comes up to me, a man in his early forties with a shocking
jungle of white hair that flames upwards from his head.
ìI had no chance man. It was so quickÖthe fucking kid just went straight into me. God, I hopeÖFuck.î
Jim approaches us and offers the driver a cigarette. The driver thanks Jim and takes one.
Jim says to the driver,
ìYou know that kids a thief.î
ìThat kid you hit, he stole that guys bike but he got hit by your truck
when he tried to get away.î Jim says. Alice is on her knees
and the hem of her dress is covered in rust and blood.
ìPoor bastard. Stupid kid.î Says the driver.
Jim coughs. ìWell sometimes you get what you deserve.î
The driver looks up at Jim with eyebrows raised. ìYou think that was deserved for stealing a bike?î
Jim thinks for a minute. ìIf it was my bike, yes.î
ìAnd since itís not your bike?î
Jim takes a drag. ìI donít know.î
I walk over to Alice and the kid. I kneel down and put my hand on
Aliceís shoulder. The bicycle thief cant be more than fifteen, too old
to be a kid, too young to be a man. His left arm and leg seem to
be at odd angles, broken but still attached. Alice is holding the
kids hand tight and asking him questions in Spanish. The
kid is not responding too well.
I look up and see we have formed a circle around the kid. I feel
a little disgusted by the spectacle; here we are watching one of lifeís
final mystery unfold, curious spectators for a final
broadcast. But I canít move because I want to watch, I want
to see whatís going to happen to me. I can hear the kids
breathing becoming more laborious and I see concern wound tight across
Aliceís face. Alice has that look on her face, the look I
fell in love with, the look of empathy untainted. Itís a look Iíll
never have. Alice is softly humming a song her father use to sing
to her when she went to sleep and one she use to sing to me when we
went to sleep. The lyrics went something like;
Hush hush time to be sleeping
Hush hush dreams come a creeping
So smile in your sleep bonny baby
So smile when you dream
So smile when you dream.
The melody has taken effect on the kid. He looks up at his angel and breaks into a broad smile as he says to Alice,