Sunday, January 11, 2004

Am I blue?

I awoke into the comforting embrace of the first hangover of the new year. Without opening an eye or otherwise moving at all, I basked in the recollection of the events of the previous evening, which seemed pretty darn nice. Drinking Scotch with a stranger in an overpriced, empty trend-hotel would be amusing enough on its own, even without the added adventure that is New Year’s Eve. Plus there was the decidedly above-par sex. Plus, if I could recall correctly, we actually liked each other.

I slowly opened one eye to look at the woman who, for some reason of her own, had held me all night. I was not afraid she would look worse than I remembered — I mean, as the poet said, “I’ve been to coyote ugly, and I don’t mean the bar” — but the opposite. I was afraid that I was still going to like her. I looked down at the vision in blue spread out against my chest, totally cacked out in what appeared to be deep, untroubled sleep. I bit my lip and looked at the blue girl who had sobbed and whispered and kissed softly all night long. Once she was broken out of her statue, the blue girl had been a shy, vulnerable, sweet, blue girl. Are those the right adjectives? I feel that I’m trotting out ones I don’t know how to use.

I reached out to pet the hair of the blue rose, but as soon as I touched her, she shook awake and yelped. Facedown in my chest, the girl shot out her arms and steadied herself on the mattress. She raised herself up more calmly, or with trepidation, going through the same fact-checking process I had. Through a tousle of blue hair she smiled a blue smile. “Hello,” she said.

“Hi,” I said, and stroked her cheek. She pressed her lips against my fingers and started to get out of bed. I sat up, held her arm. She stopped, looked up at me. We looked at each other for a moment. “Somebody ought to kiss you, Laura,” I said, and kissed her. It made me realize I didn’t know her name.

We kissed, and she resumed leaving the bed. She gathered up some blue clothes and hurried into the bathroom. I lay back in the bed and stared at the ceiling, listening to the city. In only a minute she was back, fully dressed for work in her shining blue toga, leaning over the bed to give me a quick peck. With her hand on my chest she said, “Thank you for last night. I didn’t know it was what I needed.”

“I’m really glad I met you,” I said.

“Goodbye,” she said, “and Happy New Year.”

Her hand pressed against my chest. “You don’t want to see me again,” I realized vocally.

“It’s not a question of want, don’t want. Let’s just say it was special, and it’ll stay special.”

“Well, hold on,” I said.

“I’ll remember you,” she said, and smiled and backed out the door.

I watched that ceiling for a while longer, took a shower, and with clothes on my body I headed for that Seventh Avenue line to Times Square, the scene of the crime. The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime, but which of us was the criminal? It’d depend, I guess, on whether I found her there. It could either be both of us, or just me.

I walked the tunnels below Times Square, where entire trash-collection trains were running full of discarded confetti, until I found a small copse of art lovers surrounding a plastic box where my blue girl did her bit. Unlike the night before, she was seated — perhaps she was tired — and was doing an impression of The Thinker (originally intended by Rodin to be part of a larger work, The Gates of Hell, in which it would symbolize Dante himself) if bronze ever turned blue.

I stepped in front of the crowd and said, “Look, we need to talk.”

Silence. No discernible movement.

“I’m sorry to chase you down here. I just thought it’d be worthwhile to talk things out before we make any mistakes.”

She kept thinking.

I tried: “I’m not saying that we should be together or we shouldn’t, I just don’t think we should make that decision yet.”

What was she thinking about? Not her reply.

“I’m sorry if you think I’m coming on too strong or something. I just felt we made a connection. I mean, you cried, you held me —”

I stood there for a while with the blue girl staring straight at the floor, chin on her wrist. The crowd, not more than a few onlookers who only tarried for a moment each — I guess sitting was not her most popular number — made no comment.

I watched her contemplate concrete intently for a few moments, then I walked to catch another subway train. You can’t argue with a statue about what a statue ought to feel.

by Jack, January 11, 2004 11:50 AM | More from The Blue Girl | More from Women

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prince said:

sob, gasp, moan.... who knew Jack had so much sob-gasp-moan in him!?

Fred said:

Elaine Stritch wrote a book with the same title. I can't tell which reminds me of which.

Jack Author Profile Page said:

Ms. Stritch and I are both alluding to a song with the same title, written by Grant Clarke and Harry Akst, copyright 1929. However, I like Ms. Stritch a lot more than I do most diabetics.

Fred, were you feeling nostalgic for the classic tale of my New Year's Eve last year? This year was not quite the same.

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