Love In The Late 20’s
It was early morning on the roof of an East Side building facing the East River with the sun moving up above the buildings in Long Island City. The summer warmth was thick and the humidity was wet like a blanket.
A little plume of white smoke lifted from the industrial section of buildings across the into the orange colored sky. Uptown and Downtown, The West Side and East were all quiet in the hours of dawn’s first light.
I pulled a cigarette out of the package with my teeth and dug my hand into the pocket of my black slacks to fetch my lighter. The collar of my white shirt buttoned down shirt was opened over the lapel of my black suit jacket with the top few buttons unattached and the shirt loosely untucked from my pants. The smell from smoky barrooms in late-night nightclubs, spilled drinks, and the perfume from a buxom girl remained in the fabric of my clothing.
This was life in my late 20’s.
Across town, there was a young buxom girl still sleeping in her bedroom, to which I left, making a quick escape and fleeing without the awkwardness of a meaningless conversation.
There she lay naked with the sheets covering the lower half of her body. Her large breasts bulged from beneath the sides of her faced-down, sleeping body. And me; I slipped off the opposite side of her full-sized bed in a small bedroom, quietly gathering my things to dress myself, and then quickly made my way through her apartment without waking her or her roommates in a downtown flat.
I made way to a building uptown, which is where my car was parked. I entered into a building at 909 3rd Avenue where I was greeted by the familiar doorman of the tall office building. I took the elevator top of the building and climbed the stairs that led out to the roof.
I could still feel the glistening aftermath of sex on my body. On one hand, I was unattached to anyone and satisfied for the moment. On the other, I was somewhat alone and feeling detached from the feelings of love.
This is the world when you are young and searching. This is when time moves with too many questions. I watched and looked at my surroundings. I wondered about the smiles of others and the depths of their happiness.
What is this life, I wondered.
Is there really such a thing as true love, or is it a fairy tale?
I began counting the sexual episodes of my life. Beginning with my first, I counted every event that followed. I considered the empty, meaningless one night stands and the brief attempts at relationships.
Then there were the strange recollections of the crazy ones; the ones that were unforgettably odd and left me to question, “Maybe it’s me.”
Standing on the roof a tall building, wondering about the aspects of my sexual career, I felt a sense of lonely regret. What is this thing they call love?
Is it real, or is it just something people say to each other because they’re afraid of being alone? Does fate really exist? And what about destiny? Is destiny real or is destiny a word used to give people a false sense of hope?
There on the roof, contemplating the evasiveness of love and the difference between love and lust, I lit my cigarette and blew my smoke up to the morning sky.
The sounds of city winds blew passed. Overhead, a plane streaked across and headed off to an unknown destination.
It could be me on that plane, I thought to myself.
I could go anywhere and be someplace else in a matter of hours.
I could start over—maybe I could be someone else for a change.
Maybe. . .
It’s so strange how we move through life.
It’s strange how we learn (and how we settle)
It’s strange when we look back at who we were and laugh because everything that was once so crucial to us then is so unimportant to us now.
We look back and see the red flags we missed or wished we paid attention to. Then we laugh because we realize the red flags and mistaken love are what led us right here to each other.
I guess fate and destiny and fate are real things after all . . .
Wouldn’t you say?
Above picture is a painting is by Gary Benfield
He’s one of my favorites