This odd time and place


December 12, 1981


We had our first snow last night.

A half inch of white covered the ground when I stepped out my door.

I thanked God or whoever was up there listening for how lucky I was to have put on snow tires.

I woke woozy from a mere three hours sleep and a pot hangover. And I couldnít find the brush for my windshield. So I had to wipe away the snow with my gloved hand.

Passaicís streets for some reason are vacant at night Ė even Fridays Ė and so this scene felt a little eerie, snow given a blue cast from the street lamps.

This was my two-day per week ritual of survival. But I canít get used to working nights on the weekend after sleeping nights the other five days of the week.

Still it keeps me fed and a roof over my head.

Somehow, this year Iím in the mood for Christmas. Talking to Louise and my daughter after not having heard anything from them in years will do that.

Through the haze of thinning clouds, I saw the moon Ė an omen to go with the lingering voice of my ex-wife still lingering in my head.

Her voice has grown warmer more friendly than the remote voice I heard when we first talked again over the summer.

This strange phenomena coming as if the changing of seasons had soften her, while making the world colder and harder with the coming of winter.

The snow reminds me of Boulder and the piles of it I saw that December when I climbed off the bus and walked to her door, my hair still short from my stint in the army, and kept warm by the black leather motorcycle jacket I had purchased in LA.

It is almost as if I have gone back in time and have been given a second chance.

But this is Passaic and the winter is coming over me and my world, this crumbling ghetto in which I have taken up residence. My friends, who used to live here with me are all gone, seeking softer and warmer places in the suburbs while I cling to this way of life, knowing that I cannot survive the remoteness of that suburban world, and need to feel the cold snow stinging my fingers as I wipe it away from my windshield.

I envy Pauly as he sit with Jane, the love of his life, in front of a fire place on a mountain in Towaco, staring deeply into the flames as if looking at the future.

Or Garrick living not far from him at the edge of an ice-covered lake.

We used to get drunk on nights like this and stare out the window at the snow, bemoaning lost loves and remote futures, wondering if we will ever find the dreams we dreamt when we first started here, artist, musician writer.

I even miss the band and the crazy hours that I put in, not just lugging equipment, but picking up the pieces of the broken-hearted groupies the band left a trail over behind them, trying to keep them from going over an edge from which they might never return.

But by the time I climbed into the car and let it warm up and began to drive up the snow covered street, Iíd forgotten all that, thinking only of the blue glow and the snow, and this sense of loneliness I still felt and probably would always feel, floating in this odd time and place forever.



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