And Meanwhile, Over the Queensboro Bridge

19 Dec

While I plan my move to L.A., my one and only son is planning a life as student and artist in New York City.  So we met this last weekend–he already staying there with his paternal grandparents on Long Island–me driving the four hours from Ithaca, in order to do some Holiday Hurrahing (we celebrate both of the Judea and Christian narratives, without fully believing in either) and find Noah a place to live.

(Ark, right?  Rent very high on the Arks. ) So, I arrived Thursday, later than planned because I had papers to grade that I’d put off. Noah  and I stayed in an inexpensive place called “The SkyLine” on the far West side. It has great views of New Jersey. A  recently renovated place that could have been, we later decided,  the NYC version of the lodge in The Shining. Some re-modeling choices from Dennis Hopper?The bloody wall panels in the elevator, halls that seemed to lead to nowhere.

SO: Noah was standing outside of the parking lot in a puffy  parka and gray wool cap. He saluted, as he does– like we’ve known each other almost too long, but OK, sly smile.  He gave me that little wave that he did when the nurses brought him in after the 24- hour labor,  the little separation for them to measure and weigh him, me to suck down a milk shake,. Middle of the night, he fluttered his fingers.

“Right. OK,  and now? Mom?” he seemed to say.

“Hello, Little Noah” I said.  I’d been expecting a girl, a Madeleine. This little guy seemed a strange and perfect person. Mine?

So back to the Sky Line : we got a little spooked by the hall of beveled mirrors– 70’s cool, a room by the elevators that had round, white plastic couches.

“There will be blood on them tomorrow,” I said, joking.

The next day we heard about  the shooting of tiny kids in CT.  I did a fair bit of crying.  Noah kept asking,

“What is the real story? Who is this person ? Those are not normal guns. WHY?”

We needed to get up out of the two double beds and check addresses and phones of the places in Astoria, Sunny Side, and Jackson Heights, where we hoped to find a room in an apartment that was fairly clean, fairly normal, fairly sober, and well, fairly something else we couldn’t put our fingers on. I knew we would know it when we saw it. Right?

We saw six rooms  over two days, trekking back and forth, my arthritic hip grinding, my damaged soul whining and acting out, Noah’s twenty- year old anxiety and wit speaking from the (non-arthritic, indeed jaunty) hip.

“Don’t look at it like you would live there, Mom.  It’s me. I need a room. With a view. Period.”

“Ok, that was not a room. It was a closet. And there was no view. And the guy had 1,000 video games. I don’t know…”

At our greatest low, Noah: “SO: What would you do if I were dead?” Me: “Oh YEAH? What would you do if *I* were dead?” An elderly Hispanic couple passed us, and I think, heard.  I thought, “Kirsten. YOU? THE ADULT?”  (Not so much).
Later, we found a room in the Art Deco apartment of a retired Philosophy professor;  he liked Noah immediately, and his place was clean if disorganized.  I had the distinct feeling we were in a Woody Allen film–Irving wanted to talk about art and history and, he seemed lonely, smart. Quite possibly  like someone who would understand who Noah was,  and go to lectures with him.    The room was very large, with two big windows, one with a view of the Empire State Building! Noah liked the room and the books everywhere.

Noah called his dad for final approval, and then,  in the hallway with white and green walls, we smacked hands. Noah has large hands, long fingers that remind me of my dad’s. My son, six foot three, dark handsome–and still that little boy  smile and eye crunch I remember.

On our way to dinner, I got weird; it was pouring and windy, and I saw myself in a window and thought I looked like an old woman. I remembered, suddenly, that it was the  date that, thirteen years ago,  my dad’s body was found in his NYC apartment. He’d had a heart attack, and died many days earlier. The wind was crazy and sucked up the Duane Reade umbrella, and I threw it across the sidewalk like a child. Noah picked it up.

For dinner, we ate in a Village sushi place, and  then saw a modest and amazing show called “The Old Man and The Old Moon.” We took a cab.

Noah: ‘That was amazing”.

Me: “It was.”

Noah: ” You Ok?”

Me: “Yes. Sorry I lost it. I  think we should get a little chocolate before we go back to the Skyline?’

Noah: “Sounds Reasonable.”

And so we  got cups of tea and a bar of Swiss Chocolate before heading to bed at the Skyline. It was pouring and blowing, and Noah held the umbrella as we crossed the street. As if the ark.




8 Responses to “And Meanwhile, Over the Queensboro Bridge”

  1. George Russell December 19, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    “Sounds reasonable.”

    The sticky sweetness between you.


    • kwasson2012 December 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      If you must remember bits of my adolescent poetry, could you please recall and quote the really exquisite lines about ethereal ephemeral skies and shit of that ilk? Thanks!


  2. Barbara December 19, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    I loved this. It’s 4:11am, and I am up early to grade papers that I’ve been avoiding. Plus, there are too many people in my bed…and Patois. the cat from New Orleans was purring in my face. Normally, I enjoy the sound, but I found it annoying because I’m restless. Again, I loved this. We have to catch up, soul sistah. Happy holidays to you, K. xoxo BB


    • kwasson2012 January 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      Barbara, Thank you so much for reading. . .I’m loving the pictures of you and your gorgeous family. And the New Orleans purring creature. Please stay tuned. I need your support on this next journey! XXXOOO


  3. a guy December 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    When Noah reminds you that he’s the one who’s going to live there, I hear an echo of many parent-child scripts. Usually the plaint is dead-ended. It’s really gratifying to hear one where the parent listens, at least a little. 🙂 In fact, I envy the two of you the negotiation you seem to be making about his becoming his own self.


  4. Mary January 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Finally I managed to find your blog, and I’m so glad. If you can’t live down the street from me, and come over whenever one of us (usually me) needs to whine, at least I can catch up with you every once in a while this way. Knowing Noah as I am starting to do (and with visions of big bottoms on little chairs in my head), I can totally see you two having a simultaneous low moment, as you do here…and recuperating together. This is wonderful. xo


    • kwasson2012 January 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      Well, there will be a lot of ups and downs on this journey, but it means so much to me that you will be with me in spirit. Thanks for reading, Mary!
      Now, nothing more about big bottoms on little chairs, please. xo


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