This past winter has been a bitch. I have vegetated in my house....scared of icy roads and sidewalks...terrified of falling...broken arm...leg...back. I carry the hiking stick which I can barely manage when walking the dog. Yes...Yes what I have experienced is fear...real fear..and I hate it. Long ago I swore that as I aged I’d be bold, take the risks, not let the years strap me in an unmovable chair, be who I was.
I was in my twenties. I was in New York City taking an acting class that met on a Sunday night at twelve midnight on Sixth Avenue and 24th Street. You climbed up three flights of rickety stairs to the studio. The class met at this witching hour because everyone in the class, except me, was in a Broadway show and they could make it down after their performances.
The class ran from midnight to 2:30 or 3:00 am. After class we’d trudge down the rickety stairs...some turned north on Sixth Ave....four of us turned south headed toward The Village. We didn’t wait for a bus but walked the blocks south to 8th Street, talking about the scenes that had been presented in class; the working actors gossiping about the evening performance. At 8th Street, two turned west and two of us turned east. At Cooper Union, I lost my companion. I continued on, alone, to St. Marks Place, past the darkened Jazz club, on to First Ave., south one block to 7th Street and home at last. Unlocked the apartment door and my dog, Hambone, greeted me. I’d put on his leash, back down the stairs to the street with Hambone desperately searching for the nearest pole to lift his leg. Then a quick run around the block, back up the stairs to the apartment, feed Hambone and the cat, General Beauregard, then into the shower and getting ready to make the trip uptown to get to work on time.
What I remember of that time? The silence of the streets, hearing my shoe heel strike the pavement, the wild conversations as the four of us walked south, the lack of fear... Being alive in the moment. Being young. I want it back. I reach out.