It was Sunday, October 22, 1988. My last day in New York City.
I had a late-afternoon flight out of the city. I slept in a bit, waking up around 10ish. I packed my stuff, ran down to a liquor store to get a six-pack of my long-lost second-cousin’s favorite beer, which I left with a thank-you card in the ‘fridge, and locked up around 11ish.
And then…I moseyed. Meandered. Took my sweet time. I walked up Broadway a ways, past Union Square, just savoring the flavor of the place a little more.
But finally I couldn’t put it off any more. I walked down into the subway, and went to Grand Central, and there onto the “7” to LaGuardia. The subway became an “el” after it crossed the river, and I watched Brooklyn and Queens roll past below me, Manhattan receding in the distance. I switched to a bus somewhere in Queens – a very West-Indian neighborhood, if memory serves, and it might very well not – and wistfully watched as the neighborhood slowly switched from a tumbledown scrum to row after row of tidy brick houses – and, finally, the approaches to the airport.
One of those jobs has to pan out. It just has to, I thought. It HAS to. Nobody’s luck is that bad.
I caught my flight home without any major events. We climbed out of the city as the sun started slipping below the horizon. I craned my neck and watched the city fade into the distance behind me.
The flight home was uneventful. I flirted with a cute redhead who was in the seat next to me. She was connecting to Atlanta, I think; we talked for a solid hour; she about her travels (she was in sales), I about the job hunt. She seemed fascinated – but not enough to miss her connecting flight.
And I left it all behind when the plane landed. It was about 9:30 when we landed. I hurried down to the exit, and took a bus to downtown Saint Paul. That left me a mile to get home; I slung my suit and duffel bags, and started walking. It was a damp, chilly night, and as I walked across Lafayette over Swede Hollow, I felt…vulnerable. Alone. Compared to 4AM the night before, walking down a still-teeming Broadway, I felt like I was the only person on the street, but for the occasional shadow around the occasional corner.
Finally, I shambled up my street to the house. I walked up the stairs and around the back of the house. Passing the living room window, I saw Teresa, standing by the couch, naked, pulling on her underwear, yelling something or other in an angry shriek. I turned my head and went to the back door. “Hey, everybody”, I said with gusto as I rattled the key as loudly as I could in the lock. “Home from New York, baby!”. I opened the door, slowly, and loudly plopped my stuff on the kitchen floor.
“Hi, Mitch”, Teresa said, poking her head around the corner, having donned a burgundy turtleneck and jeans.
“It wasn’t nothing”, I heard Wyatt yelling from upstairs.
“F**K YOU, AS***LE!”, she yelled back at him, walking toward the front door. “NEVER AGAIN, YOU BASTARD!”
“See you, Teresa”, I called.
“Bye, Mitch”, she yelled back. “BYE, AS***LE!”
“Bye, you crazy bitch”, Wyatt yelled down the stairs as Teresa slammed the door.
I carried my stuff to my garrett at the front of the house. Wyatt slumped down the stairs. “How’s New York?”, he asked, sounding slurred.
“Love it, man”. Christ. He was bombed. “What’s up?”
Wyatt rolled his eyes. “Oh, Ruby called, and she answered the phone and got all weird”
He opened the door, and walked outside as I slid my door shut, hooked it, and lay down on my bed.
Oh, dear Lord, I hope one of those things comes through for me.