Before we left on our voyage, the one luxury I couldn’t live without was lipstick. Back then, browsing through the French Market with Charmaine, I thought that choosing between five shades of pink was overwhelming. Now, a stroll through any Manhattan makeup department is almost too much to absorb–and I’m only focused on lipstick. And stain, and gloss.
Is ordering one of everything over the top? Probably, but too bad, because that’s what I did.
Hundreds of tubes and pots in every color and hue, spread around me on my huge bed.
Armed with a fistful of lipstick brushes and a stack of tissues, I spent all night trying on one after the other. Pink is history. The colors I love are closer to my natural blue-ish tint that I’ve spent years trying to disguise.
The verdict; stain lasts longer, lip pencils are my personal revolution and the color of choice is…wait for it…Venom.
You were here once, but you’re gone now. The cold, flat emptiness of the streets is a dead giveaway. I just need to take the hint and move on.
Tonight, I made the acquaintance of an older gentleman who organizes estate sales for a living. We met at the counter of a tiny diner, not the cleanest place in the world but the atmosphere is comforting. I bought him a cup of coffee. Now, it wasn’t Morning Call or Raimond’s signature blend–but it was tasty enough.
We spent hours talking–imagine that. Everyone used to tease me about how my elderly patients became chatterboxes around me. Well–I’ve still got the gift.
My new friend gave me a chance to preview his current project, an event at one of those charming Brownstones.
The boxes were dusty and crumbling but the best finds are usually at the bottom of the pile. The couple who lived there must have loved the arts. Poster, playbills, musical scores–all signed and dedicated. Their collection was extensive and it seems such a tragedy to sell it off in pieces. I wish I could have heard their stories, carried their memories forever, added their history to our archives.
I bought two posters, rescued them from the dirty basement. They brought memories slamming back, like it was yesterday–JazzFest, 1970. I met Mahalia Jackson, remember? It was a relaxed, local festival in those days, not the wild bash it is today.
I think…no wait–I know. I need to go home.
I’m taking the hint.
They all drank Scotch. The royal ones, the powerful ones, the old ones. I could never stand the taste. Ridiculous, when I think about what I do drink.
I can’t stomach tequila–too many bad memories–mostly of an impulsive climb and how close I came to smashing every bone in my body. A saint saved me. He saved me so many times, I can’t even count.
I’m thoroughly bored by wine, all of it. Every glass is like the one before and the next to come. I guess grapes are grapes. I don’t touch Port–too many memories of you, lover. The one and only sip I took made me feel as if I would shatter in a million pieces.
So, I’ve made it my mission to learn to like Scotch. All these flavors I’m supposed to taste, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon…and clove. Hard to taste anything if I’m holding my nose just to get it down. The promise of the cloves is what drives me to keep trying.
Sip, swirl, smile. I’ll get it eventually.
I’ve spent the better part of this miserable winter wandering the streets of New York, battling snow and wind. I remember seasons of storms, bitter chill and ice but this year? The worst of them all.
The apartment building I lived in still stands and 3C is occupied. Not much has changed, a coat of paint and a new carpet. The stair treads are still the same though, worn in the middle by countless pairs of shoes. Mine. Mom’s.
Our old apartment door is painted a cheerful lavender. Standing in the hall I could hear music and children’s laughter. At least there’s happiness inside those walls again. They certainly saw their fair share of sadness.
In my mind I could see Mom in her nursing uniform, like it was yesterday, gliding down the hall, arms piled high with groceries and flowers to make her little girl feel like a fairly tale Princess.
And I did–feel like a Princess.
I’ve been a real Princess since, but never with the innocence and joy that I felt in 3C.
March 20th. Not my birthday or our wedding date or even the anniversary of my death, but a landmark on my–our calendar of eternity. Seventy eight years ago, tonight.
Since I signed my name in the book, since it was sealed in blood, my blood and another’s, so much has happened. Loss and love–triumph and tragedy–love and more loss.
The air was heavy and deep, rumbles of thunder still echoed across the lake when your graceful fingers coaxed magic from a borrowed violin. The old city walls absorbed those notes and melodies, sending echoes through castles of the living and canyons of the dead.
I thought it was over that night–the torment. My happily ever after had arrived. Not even close.
I’ve searched for you for years, across mountains and oceans, through gardens and ruins. Everywhere we’ve been and everywhere we dreamed of going.
My love, light of my life, whenever or wherever you read these pages, just know I’m still your Angel.