Back in the Den
The dust cloud was now cloud clouds and as the jet descended
through them the skyline of New York City appeared for Celia. It
unchanged and she entirely so.
LaGuardia airstrip was closest to her Astoria apartment so she
made that the first stop and would get to her mother in the
Driving, drinkin, waiting, flying, transferring and then flying
some more, though all done from a sitting position tuckered Celia
out so she decided a bath, ahhh, shower, a think and then go find
Harold, would be the way to go. Most definitely.
Like when one visits his or her elementary school, everything
now seemed so small, so compacted. In the cab Celia wondered if
the car would fit through the narrow streets. While waiting for a
traffic light to turn green on Astoria blvd., she saw more people
than she had in 3 weeks out west.
She got out of the cab on her corner so to walk to her building
in the middle of her block. Her block now seemed tiny. She might
spit from one end to the other. The double dutch girls,
chanting and twirling in the tight circle of illumination under a
lamp post stopped to greet Celia. Celia dropped her bag, embraced
them all and requested a one rope turn as she was out of practice.
Double dutch was the same. Not reduced or altered and certainly
not beneath her.
“ If growing up means it would be,
Beneath my dignity to climb a tree …..”
The apartment was tiniest of all. Dorothy in Munchkin land, you
betcha. But there were her portraits, her books, paints, music,
clothes and effects and they all now seemed to her as artifacts or
maybe, clues at a crime scene.
A shower left her clean and yet not cleansed. Not at all like the
daily ablution she enjoyed in her deluxe tub with lion paws in
The think, a regular feature of the Ardensville bathe, was not
present in the 40”x40’’ shower. There was washing and there was
done. That is all.
“Aye Harold, you okay?” Philly called over in his penetrating
No regular patron listening was accustomed to Harold dropping
a beat or hesitating segues or any disturbance to his fluid playing.
Celia’s accounting of her bizarre visit to what once was Harold’s
homeland was short circuiting his musical brain.
“This secret is so secret Harold, I wouldn’t be surprised if
blabbing it was a federal offense.” Celia tipped back the bottom
of her beer.
Here were the two friends as before and the only thing changed
was Celia’s worldliness due to having spent a few weeks in a
small town out west. Harold ceased playing and Philly turned the
sound up on the ball game. Now the friends could face one
“And they, all these ahhh, refugees, don’t even detect each
other? I find that very tough to swallow.”, Harold queried
“Could I make this shit up Harold?!” Celia stopped realizing she
had raised her voice enough to draw attention as detected by
Philly’s caterpillar eyebrows. Without turning to the piano, Harold
grabbed a big chord that expressed simultaneously his amazement
“Wha chu gonna do?”, Harold asked in character though
sincerely and looked directly at Celia for a big and substantive
answer. Harold waited. He waited a little more then got up and
took their mugs for reloads.
“I won’t let my soulless mother and her soulless pride-less pride
expose and destroy a holy place. I don’t know what I’m going to
do. I don’t know what I can do. This is just awful. I’ll know more
Turning back to the piano Harold glissed down nearly the entire
keyboard and landed on a thought.
“M is for the many things you gave me.”