I was determined this year not to miss a moment of the spring. I wandered Central Park, all the way from the pond, my pond now, with the touching curving stone bridge in the shadow of the Plaza, all the way up to the still untamed Meer, my other pond, up in Spanish Harlem past the formal Conservatory Garden, To be at the Meer still seemed like I was in the Huckleberry Fynn south, with fishermen still dangling worms from the muddy banks, right there in the middle of urban Latin/black New York. The Meer’s old and neglected park buildings from another time now covered with graffiti.
I went to meet Tina in her sister’s dealers’ gallery of second string 19th century work, located on a second floor on an Upper East Side side street. Tina who, like virtually everyone else I saw these days, I had not known until this year. Tina, like everyone I dealt with this year, out to find out what had really happened in the distant or recent past – and this search seeming with so many of us be leading into life in the present in new ways. This graced time. And what a place to be right now with Tina, here in the art world which seemed so much what was real about me and what I wanted, something I had known before this year of change, but had managed to hold at a certain distance. Here on this spring day in a part of the city, the Upper East Side, that in my story was pretentious and stuffy. Or had been. For it was not like that today, which was a spring day that suddenly seemed to be all spring days I had ever known – like the evening I took flowers to Bonnie was like every hopeful courtship time.
And strange that so recently I had felt so disconnected from everyone. Strange now that I was dating Gillian, the blonde girl who sold African fetish figures on the sidewalk near the Modern Art Museum. And I was going horseback riding in Prospect Park with Janet, who seemed thoroughly free of her very recent childhood in an Alaska family bullied by a failed and violent Republican politician. And red-headed Tina was increasingly on my mind and in my life now that we were going to art exhibitions together, including the museum level pre-auction viewings at Sotheby’s. and to other places too, like the Paris Theater near the Plaza where, for a Truffaut movie, she met me carefully dressed with bare legs, displayed in thin sheer stockings on a cold day – and now in the warm weather her loose blouse bared her shoulders as she turned, bared the shoulder blade butterfly, the left shoulde rblade, this tattoo on smooth, soft skin.
I was with Tina at her sister’s place on my way to my last therapy session with George Rathbone who had become a friend and hardly seemed like a therapist he was so connected to the world and so amusing, like a friend accompanying me on an adventure we both found amusing and fascinating.
At the sight of Tina’s butterfly that sadness to which I had become vulnerable in this year swept over me once again, nearly knocked me down.
I told George about it. He said, and I thought maybe he was partially right, that the sadness had to so with our sessions coming to an end. It was cut rate, limited time therapy carried out at the Jewish Board. But I was deep in the sadness of knowing Tina, as with sadness, it seemed now, with almost every girl I with whom I had ever begun to feel connected. Tina now in this city with which I had been dealing since childhood, and where I had gone to live when free of school and army and apparently family too.