One hundred years ago, the Bridge was “the Eighth Wonder of the World,” an amazing achievement by Washington, John and Emily Roebling and the workers who built it. There can be nothing like that today. I watched the fireworks from one of two 110-story towers, but I can’t imagine anyone celebrating the 100th anniversary of the sterile, utilitarian World Trade Center.
We had lunch at Brownie’s. For dessert, we ordered their famous carrot cake, only to find it inferior to our memories of what the cake had been. But Ronna and I go on. I think she’s prettier today than she ever was. All I know is we can still talk and laugh the way we used to ten years ago when we were in love.
10 PM. I just picked up the Sunday Times and a bran muffin on Broadway, made my way past a group of Puerto Rican kids taunting a young Chinese guy walking a poodle, and tried not to look too menacing to an old lady walking in the opposite direction from me on West End Avenue.
No, it wasn’t just sex. Hell, I see a hundred better-looking guys every day. There was something between us; it hit me like a sneak punch when I first looked into his eyes.
Blair is 17, wears four earrings, is being published in his sister’s boyfriend’s Austin punk fanzine, and has been paid for sex. He began the letter “Dear Mr. Grayson,” and ended “Your friend, Blair.” I’m getting old, pardner. Last night one of my students handed in a paper on Jello Biafra and thought he had to explain to me who Jello Biafra was. “I know the Dead Kennedys,” I snapped defensively.
You can’t make anyone love you, and if you could, it wouldn’t be worth it. Still, getting dumped hurts. Yes, yes: intellectually, I know it could never have “worked out” with Sean, and like my breakups with Ronna and Shelli, this will prove a blessing in the long run. But right now I feel like crying.
I’d like to find a new lover, but I believe you can’t go looking for love. At least in my life, it’s always developed naturally out of friendship. I don’t need to try promiscuity, which can be deadly these days, what with AIDS running rampant.
I had a terrific publication party. The guy who ran the bar said that only James Michener had a better party at this B. Dalton store. I felt, as Ronna suggested, like a bar mitzvah boy, surrounded by people I care about: Alice, Teresa, Ronna, Josh, Mikey and Amy, Larry, Wes, Mark and Consuelo, Stacy and her girlfriend, Pete, Justin, Susan and Spencer, Mrs. Judson and Wayne, Elihu, and so on.
After my talk, Tina, Susan and their friend David, a cute gay theater grad student, took me out for some fun food at Fanny’s Saloon, in Fort Pierce’s small downtown. There was good conversation and good potato skins, and I didn’t get back to my hotel room until after 11 PM.
Grandpa Herb would say to make the best of what comes my way, and I’ve tried to do that. In a strange way, his death has renewed, and not diminished, my determination. I’m realizing what I’ve got, and as the rabbi said of Grandpa Herb, I’m trying to minimize what I don’t have.