Saturday, June 20, 2009


I could have stayed in bed a lot longer this morning. My sheets were new and crisp, the room was cool, the fan was whirring me back into my pillow, but I knew the day had plans to be overtaken by rain – I had to jump on this day while it was still dry and new.

Out on the street, submerged in my ipod, sneakers on, I had the sidewalk solo. As soon as I crossed Atlantic Ave, picking up the pace, the rest of the neighborhood was beginning to wake. Cinnamon, bacon, and toast came in gentle waves; a woman was crossing the street drinking coffee from a porcelain mug, leisurely, like she was crossing her living room.

I took the turn up to The Promenade, and saw the grey, magnificent expanse of lower Manhattan. Other women were rising to the occasion alongside me. Sports bras, ponytails, each of us wired to the same tune, running past the old man in the wheelchair, holding “Awake”, the Jahova Witness periodical, holding it perpendicular to his broken body, he was jumping on the day with the rest of us.

At the other end of The Promenade, the Chinese tourists, a mother, a dad, and a son, taking turns with the camera, to snap the other two. I stopped, out of breath, so they could have a shot of themselves all together – it was selfish, I wanted to take this moment home with me, too.

That’s the thing about odd hours when no one is around – be it that half hour between thunderstorms, or daybreak, or 3 AM. There’s an intimacy about it, you can actually see others, because they’re just on the edge of your solitude.

The Promenade started to thicken with people as I came back from my third loop. A group of Italian tourists now clogged the center of the strip. The men in their cargo vests with multiple pockets, the women with their loafers and cardigans and tasteful gold jewelry – taking in America, me, in a feverish sweat and sneakers, white wires flowing from my ears, I didn’t disappoint. Yet I smile at each tourist as I pass, who am I? The morning has had its way with me.

Now, raindrops single me out, and preview the inevitable downpour. I still have time to make it home, I am damp from the exercise and the morning that is now thick and wet, I make it upstairs and it is pouring through the open terrace door. The drench is in, I am already in my head canceling my plans to attend The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, I am not much of a mermaid. Perhaps that’s why I took my two feet and jumped on the day.

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