Saturday, May 27, 2006

Life Liberated

4am Saturday night and I am startled out of my sleep. I lie there, in wait, expecting to hear a crash of lightening, a burglar snap the cast-iron bars and burst through my window —something loud and definitive.

But, nothing more than a rustle of leaves...
The early rain was good for the air and the neighborhood. A strange, cool breeze prevails.

And then she begins. I hear the woman’s staccato cries of pleasure. They’re lusty and clear and ring out against the sides of the buildings that surround my garden. I’m repulsed… then intrigued. I push myself up in bed, resting on my forearms, not sure if I hope for her to continue or end.

Her lover wills her to carry on and my opinion is null and void—silent and distant and tucked beneath a silk coverlet and feather bed. The moans and screams continue.

“Will you two shut up? Do ya’ hear me? Shut up!” a man from a neighboring building yells through his screen, out into the Saturday night air. His angry voice and heart-rate are wasted.

The couple keeps the pace. Nothing is done out of spite—the sincerity of her moans tell me this—for they’re in a separate world of naked skin, closed eyes, darkened rooms. Somehow, I’m happy for them—the twilight noise nothing more than another eccentric quality of my SoHo.

This is who I’ve become. Slowly, slowly New York has made me more accepting, indulgent, laissez-fair to the whims and qualities of strangers. The South (the South where I was raised, anyway) lacked tolerance. As I grew older and moved away from the pack (and the debutante, cotillion and mardi gras dances), the judgements hightened. Coffee and tea hour after the Sunday service was a catfight of gossip, rumors and jealousy.

To this, I say, keep your sanctimony and burned coffee. I'm doing just fine with a dirty martini and a taste of the liberated life.

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