Well, I don’t know…you get to a point where you just don’t care anymore what happens…you keep walking forward because that’s the way the crowd is going, but your heart isn’t in it. I used to think it was the kind of dull ache that was relegated to coming off a high, but I know better now.

You don’t need anything—you can fall with a clean head.

I got off the subway at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, clutching the letter in my hand. The stairs leading up to the street were covered with trash and flattened pieces of popcorn and oily green puddles.

I felt the wind even before I made it to the top, damp and insistent on fucking-up my hair. My bangs are finally long enough for me to gel them back, when I feel like taking the time--which isn’t very often, but today I did and in two seconds flat the time I spent turned into wasted time.

Meanwhile, out on the street there was no time to lose. Everyone had taken their rightful place.

There was the shoeshine guy with his bloated face, telling everyone who passed good morning, whether they heard him or not. There was the tragic youth in his ripped black jeans, smoking a cigarette and checking out my shoes. There were the religious Jewish guys holding mysterious green stalks in their hands and trying to get regular Jewish guys in suits to stop and pray with them. There were the school kids from France looking like school kids from France as they took digital photos of the neon sign across the street advertising 25 cent Peep Shows.

Don’t let them tell you it’s all Disney, mon amis, I thought, in that funny way I have of pretending that others can hear my thoughts.

There’s still plenty of naughtiness left…

Plenty of places to disappear between the cracks and forget what day it is…

I read the marijuana reform flyers taped to blackened windows, I looked up at the lights, I scanned the news tickers, I laughed at the HSBC 30 second flash commercials, I made eye contact with a pretty foreign girl who must have been freezing in her shorts and flip-flops that showed off her tan feet.

I turned without thinking and walked over to a payphone and placed the letter on the metal shelf where long ago they used to put phonebooks. Then I picked up the receiver and put in two quarters.

Next to me, a guy in an orange windbreaker was screaming to someone about having to earn his respect before he gives it.

I took a deep breath and dialed the number. It was impossible to say whether she would answer or not. I stood there while the phone rang and tried not to think..

The voicemail clicked in without any greeting. I give her shit about it but really I think it’s cool.

“TRUE, it’s me…listen, I don’t know what to say to you anymore, I don’t know how to explain how I feel, so I put it in a letter. It’s here, squeezed into the back shelf of a phone booth. Folded yellow pages. You’ll have to come outside to get it. You’ll have to come down here and find out for yourself.”

I hung up and listened to the quarters plunk into place. I stepped back and rubbed my forehead. Everything was right there in those pages, everything that I felt but was too scared to say. I turned and walked away. I felt good, like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

I was all the way on the east side before I realized that I never mentioned where the phone booth was.


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