01 November 2008


The first day of November...Another turning point?

It's not that any major event happened for me today. But somehow, I feel something besides a page in the calendar has turned.

October is everything people like me love about the fall. Why do leaves have to be so beautiful when they're dying?

I think now of a Japanese story I read years ago. In it, a young boy contracts a disease that will kill him. However, nobody believes it because as he comes closer to his death, he becomes more beautiful. How can anybody look so good and be so sick?

Obviously, the author hadn't met Paris Hilton. But seriously, that boy is like a leaf in the month of October. Then--about now--that blaze of gold and red and orange turns brown as the branches they will leave bare.

You might say this is where the fall turns serious, toward winter. Although it was rather mild today, there was a hint of cold in the wind and of colder rains in the blanket of clouds that kept in the last remaining hints of fall.

It reminds me, somehow, of the time I'd gotten on the #5 train in the Bronx and took it the wrong way--not back to Brooklyn, where I was living at the time, but further up into the Bronx, where I knew no one and almost nothing.

But for some reason I though about getting off the train at Morris Park, a few stops away from where I'd started. It's in the middle of one of the last remaining Italian neighborhoods in this city. But I wasn't thinking about that. In fact, I wasn't consciously aware of why I'd wanted to go there.

In that part of the Bronx, the #5 train runs below ground level. However, it's not a tunnel: It's more like a ditch or a canal, as the top is open. That is, until you come to the station. Then it's a sort of tunnel, and the train's echo fills it: more like an Amtrak or some other long-distance train than a subway.

It had rained that entire day, which was unseasonably cold for the middle of June. The tunnel provided some respite from it. Still, when the train stopped and its doors opened, I froze in my seat. I couldn't have moved, even if I'd wanted to.

And when those doors shut, I knew there was no going back. I rode that train to one end of the line, then...I'm not sure of what happened next. I hadn't been drinking or taking any drugs, so I was more or less in my right mind. All I know is that much later, in the evening, I was sitting in a park in another part of town.

The next day--a Friday-- I called some friends and my mother, who was living in New Jersey. "I'm coming over this weekend. I have to talk to you."

In a way, that was the second step to becoming who I am now. (Getting clean and sober was the first.) I was near my thirty-fourth birthday. However, I was dealing, for the first time, with something that happened to me over a period of time, and the first moment of it I recalled came when I was nine years old.

A family friend molested me. A very close family friend, in fact: He and my parents met when they were teenagers. In fact, that man introduced my mother and father to each other.