I dropped my bags at the curb and turned to watch the yellow cab recede into the drear of a late October afternoon, burnt orange staining the sky. Sidewalk of shame, sidewalk of solace, sidewalk of self-indulgence… all seemed appropriate in the reality check of the moment.
Reaching for the two mismatched brown leather duffel bags, odd reassurance life had become more simple, I realized I’d not yet laid the tracks to this, my latest soundtrack. Irony, soaked in regret like strawberries in newlywed champagne, crashed the moment, drunk and banging at the back door to my consciousness, reminding me of the road not taken.
The last time I’d been in New York City was May 4, 1990 when my girlfriend and I took the train from Providence to see one of my guitar idols and his latest band playing what was once, the Ritz on 254 West 54th Street; lucky for us Paul, my old college roommate, was going out of town with his boyfriend the same weekend and graciously offered me his apartment, only blocks from the Ritz – bonus.
I found the graffiti adorned door to the 3rd floor walk-up cramped (like a middle child in the backseat of the car between his siblings on a family vacation) between the entrance to a tattoo parlor on one side, all night convenience store on the other, and said a silent prayer of thanks Paul and I had stayed in touch over the years; taking a deep breath, I began my ascent, physically and spiritually, to the tiny apartment on the top floor…