Monday, January 03, 2005

So Live

My New Year’s trip to New York that started with a small snafu ended up being spectacular. On that small spot I will no longer dwell. It is the big picture that is most important and I had good time in the big apple.

Friday night, New Year’s Eve, several friends and I went out for a late dinner and at 10:30 pm began our trip down Christopher Street. All week I knew that I’d be spending New Year’s Eve in the city but I had no idea where midnight would find me. I was positive I didn’t want to be anywhere with too much smoke, too many people or not enough good energy surrounding me. This could prove to be a hard test. Around 11:00 pm we were strolling through Chiz Chiz and by 11:10 pm we were doing what would be our final toast of 2004 at the Hangar. 11:40 pm found my friends and I walking into the New Year. Laughing, joking, singing and dancing we strolled down Christopher headed toward the pier. The temperature was just right, the sky was clear and the wind was blowing. It was picturesque. There we were four friends standing near the end of the pier surrounded by other people and their friends and family fellowshipping, facing the Statue of Liberty and watching the start of a fireworks display. 11:58 pm came and the four of us got into a group hug huddle. We prayed. 5-4-3-2-1! Happy New Year! It was a New Year’s Eve I will never forget. I don’t know if that pier, if the New York skyline or the Statue of Liberty ever looked so beautiful to me. The fireworks that lit the night were like confetti being thrown over the waterfront and the city.

When I woke up on Saturday morning it was time for me to shower and dress and head to midtown where I’d be meeting Langston for lunch. I saw him first halfway down the block. He apparently spotted me as well because my phone rang and when I answered he immediately questioned if I was the handsome man approaching the corner of 33rd & 8th in the blue jeans and black shirt. Yes, I was both of those things, handsome and approaching that corner. It was so good to Langston and we embraced and took the opportunity to just enjoy each others beauty for just a moment. It has been months since we have seen each other face to face. We began to walk and talk and he told me he wanted to go see the home the Ailey Dance Company. We hopped on the train and in minutes we were standing in front of their building. The we looked at the pictures and shared highlights great Ailey performances we’d seen and both agreed that Ailey would be proud to see his living legacy continue to flourish artistically and in terms of its management.

We then headed to lunch and I remembered why I had become so enchanted with this man. I enjoyed our conversation and his presence. I truly want to be his friend. For the first time, at lunch I was able to look at him as just that and be at peace with it. He on the other hand hadn’t been thinking the same thing exactly. He asked for a kiss. All of my body and just a little bit of my heart wanted to lean over that table and kiss him but luckily my head prevailed. I refused his offer. That opened up the gates to a conversation that was probably overdue for me and perhaps him as well. I very much laid out to him that yes we both shared an attraction for each other – but because I am an entrée and not a side dish – that’s all it can be, two friends that happen to have a special fondness for each other. Two friends, not two friends with benefits, just two friends. I needed that conversation. It was very healthy, realistic and good thing to get off my chest. I think I was getting a very good start to my New Year with that. Langston and I finished up lunch and went shoe shopping after that. He found a shop in that had what he said was exactly what he’d been looking for. I was happy he had what he wanted. We parted ways, he headed to his hotel and I headed for cocktails and dinner with my friends. I haven’t talked to him since.

Saturday at 3:00 pm the curtain went up on what I think was without a doubt the crown jewel of my trip to New York. House lights went down and the audience was silent in the Walter Kerr Theater for the matinee performance of the latest August Wilson play, Gem of the Ocean. I don’t know of another playwright that I can even compare to Mr. Wilson. He weaves love, race, class, family and life and death into this play so well. Sitting in the audience listening to his words I felt like a small child in a candy store. Each word, each line was a delicious treat. There were times I wanted to yell cut and have an audience discussion. Some words spoken were pure sweet and others were of the sweet and sour variety. All of them delicious, those delivered by Aunt Esther, Black Mary, Solly Two Kings, by every character. But perhaps the one most memorable was by Eli right before the lights blackout on the stage for the final time.

Overall I had wonderful trip to New York City and I think it was great way to begin a new year to live, learn and grow. So live.