26 May 2009

Playing Chicken With a Rainstorm

Today I took another ride up to the George Washington Bridge, then down River Road through Bergen and Hudson counties to the Jersey City waterfront, where I allowed my mind to flicker and ripple languidly like the surface of the river that channels glass and steel reflections on either shore as they fill with schools driving toward the same wrecks at the bottom of the day's currents and disgorge those same schools-- some of whose members are full-- at the end of the day.

And it was about the end of the day when I arrived on the network of piers and promenades that form a kind of buffer zone between Exchange Place and the Hudson River, only a few miles from where it meets the ocean. I thought I felt a couple of raindrops; through my ride, I felt myself tempting the rain that the forecasters said was a possibility. A couple more drops here and there, as I rode behind Liberty's back to the Bayonne Bridge, where a boy with a girl and a skateboard declared, "I love your colors, lady--on your helmet and your bike."

Well, kid, if you ever see me again, you know what my favorite color is. Now as for my dress size, my age or any other personal information, you'll have to get to know me just a little better!

I did something silly, though I didn't realize it until well after I'd gotten home and eaten dinner: I forgot to bring my cellphone with me. Yesterday, during my brief ride, I cried and, as I was about to go to Millie's house, I found out how dire my parents' situation had become. In spite of that, I felt invigorated, even giddy at times, as I rode and took my leisure in the shadow of a tower on the bank of a river. It's as if I knew Millie and Dominick were right: Everything would be OK; I would be OK.

Except, somehow I felt that I didn't need the future conditional tense. Things were not going to be all right; they were in the process of becoming all right. I learned of this after I discovered my mistake and turned on my phone.

Mom had called me twice to say my father is in a hospital, and, from the sound of things, he was getting help. When I called her back, she seemed calmer and more relaxed than she has in some time. For the first time in months, she has at least some hope of having not only her own life again, but something like a partnership rather than the relationship of a parent whose kid won't listen to her and, in doing so, finds ways to make himself miserable.

Hearing from her--specifically, hearing what I heard from her--was as reassuring, at least for now, to me as the light rain that fell unaccompanied by wind or thunder as the boat plowed its way through waters that had become choppier in front of Liberty, at the point where the Hudson roils into the New York Bay--and, from there, into the ocean.

Perhaps some of us are soothed and reassured by soft rain and mist because we spend our lives, wittingly or not, playing chicken with storms. Lovely as those brief showers are, they can no more prepare us for hard rain and squalls than the clearest skies can. We fall asleep to the drizzle, to the intermittent showers, and the storms seem to come without warning.

My storms--which were not as severe as the ones some other people have experienced--have, through their accumulations and erosions, built something that may not be as formidable of the Statue of Liberty. But they made an individual as, if I say so myself, distinctive as the Statue in the harbor is. And a lot happier, even through the storms I've experienced recently.

I hope that my parents have an experience like that. Especially Mom: She so deserves it!

And, yes, I still hope that she'll be with me in Trinidad after all.

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