There we are, Dave. It’s 1993 and I’m waiting for you underneath New York’s faded zodiac. I don’t notice you because I’m watching everyone else while you watch me: dirty hair, black tights, black everything. You line up our Doc Martens toe-to-toe and gently tap one of mine. When I look up, you offer a hand and haul me up off the stairs into your arms and hold me, rock me back and forth in the middle of Grand Central Station. I’m crying again into your jacket over the same woman I cry over every time I leave New Haven to visit you in Alphabet City. You tell me again she’s not worth it. Certainly not worthy of me. You have plans to take me dancing at The Limelight. You hate that I smoke but light up my cigarette anyway and guide me through the station underground to the club. When I veer over to stand in the queue, you shake your head and slide your arm around my waist. You’re smooth for a 23-year-old man from Portland. We pass the line and the people lingering near the entrance and walk like demigods into the Temple of Love. Dancers slip in and out of cages via strobe lights keyed to the thrum of Kim Deal’s bassline. You flash a sweetwicked smile with sharp, snowy teeth and, if we were lovers, you just might bite. We crash and dance and shimmer and glisten in the echo of the deconsecrated church. You, you hang on, keep watch until I wear my heart out. At 3 a.m. we eat potato pancakes at Odessa where we hold our breath when we admire the waitresses who wear vintage silk slips for dresses. We go back to your place and don’t shower. I wear one of your soft gray T-shirts to bed. Remember here how young and gigantic we are, sweet friend, before the world gives us more and holds us facedown into the dirt, when we clutch telephones to reach one another as easily and desperately as we now bed down in a tangle and spoon like children in a pallet. In the morning your sheets smell like our sweat, Chanel No. 5, Merritt Ultra Lights, and Guinness. You make coffee and we hang out, sitting up in bed sipping from hot cups, knocking our knees, chatting over one another, or staring out into the mass of our futures until we can’t stand how dirty we are. You let me shower first.
April Bradley lives with her family on the Connecticut shoreline outside New Haven. Her writing has or will appear in CHEAP POP, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Narratively, NANO Fiction, and Sundog Lit, among others. She is a submission editor for SmokeLong Quarterly.