In search of what?


Saturday, January 19, 2013


I woke up from a cold night to find a rising temperature, a warmer wind blowing across the side porch as I put out food for the cats.

On the kitchen table I still have the left over food from the Chinese take out we had last night, as well as a pile of fortunes I’d collected over the last two weeks, unable to tell which fortune went with which week so they all sort of mingled together, stinging a little as reminders of the past and the wisdom I was smart enough to give, but never follow.

“Trust yourself,” one says, “You know more than you think.”

I suppose I do, instinct always outweighing every other option in my life, always telling me by some mysterious process when I am on the wrong path or what I should do next.

I keep thinking of the Indiana Jones movies where the hero keeps “making it up” as he goes along.

There are contradictions in these fortunes, such as when they tell me to “take time to relax especially when you don’t have time for it,” or how “sincerity is the finest point of communication,” or even “there are not stupid questions, just stupid answers.”

I still pondered these over breakfast at The Coach House, where I routinely spend Saturdays reading the latest editions of North Hudson newspapers, sorting out fact from fiction before I take a cup of coffee to go and wandered up the street into the lower part of Union City, taking glimpses of a fading piece of history, old garment district reminding me of the days when I grew up in the Silk City, similar ruins, similar people, similar memories – rusted fire escapes, street sides filled with crying babies, and people who speak tongues I barely understand.

I always come back down Summit, passed the old theater with posters for movies no longer playing, in fact, no movies are playing, just the echo of theater ghosts stirring in the back, aching to be set free now that the only occupants are them.

I like the other part of Union City, the section where Bergenline Avenue hits the viaduct, and a handful of old fashion banks surround the intersection straight out of my memories of Paterson when I waited for the bus to go home each night from a job in a theater than hadn’t yet turned to cobwebs, where we ushers went as far with girls in the balcony as the girls would let us, always coming out after our shifts aching for more.

I met my best friend in that old theater, and as I walk around this part of town, I think of him, and the adventures we had, and the immense sadness I felt at his passing, as if an age of the world had come to an end, an age of innocence I could no longer lay claim to.

I guess I’m always searching to get back that innocence, or at least, to look at it to see if it really ever was anything more than wishful thinking, and that the me of that time is as stained in heart as the one of this time, and most of us really spend our times struggling to find something we can never really attain, love, fame, fortune, glory, and in the end, have to settle for something much closer to truth than we ever thought – our version of truth, anyway, truth not found in tea leaves at the bottom of my paper cup, but in coffee grounds, just a bit bitter and hard to swallow.

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