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The River Diaries

Sunday, August 20, 2000

Oh what a day. Glorious in its sun and wind. I am feeling so much better. Perry is off in the country so I take my walk by myself. The river slaps and dashes, the bridge sweeping its lines in the clear distance. Early risers are taking their constitutionals—many older people like myself. The tennis players are already socking the ball back and forth on the red courts. I walk quickly and still see all I need. A young white man leans against the railing, facing the river but cruising the walk. A young black man walks by, turning his head back to the seeker. I am already out of the range of their adventure. Down to Cherry Walk, where the path goes unobstructed to 125th Street. Some day. I sit on a boulder, dedicating myself to life again, looking hard at the center, a firm perspective in my mind. Before going to bed, I read Lepa's long e-mail about all she has seen and heard in the faces of war-torn women. I took her words to bed with me.

Then it is time to head home. I pass an old old man, pale with time, his mobile cart parked right next to him, sitting on a bench with a younger man. The old man is showing a photograph album to his friend, his son perhaps, turning the pages with his shaking hand but all intent on the showing. The younger man keeps saying, how interesting, how interesting. Quickly I go by and then, almost at the point of turning into the tunnel, I see the two young men who had been cruising each other. They have connected and are headed off for the steps that Perry disappears up quite regularly. My walking ground is clearly a cruising ground as well. What a morning—memory reaching for its home and desire flashing in the sunlight. This is my city.


© 2000 Joan Nestle

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