Fidel Castro lives just down the block from me Really. I swear. I recognize the hat, the fact that he always wears khakis, and, most importantly, the beard. No glimpse of him smoking cigars yet, but I think he's trying to remain undercover. He probably slipped out of Cuba for a field trip of some sort--like the apocryphal sultans and emperors who disguise as beggars to mingle with hoi polloi. Maybe he's just hiding out so people stop prank calling him. But I'm on to him. Oh yes, I'm on to him. I'd take a picture of him for y'all, but you just don't fuck with Fidel.
But spring has finally arrived up here in Upstate Manhattan. The night sky glows with the light of the George Washington Bridge. And the people in my neighborhood are out in force. Someone on my block just got a mini-motorcycle, and they're tearing around up and down the block, scattering when the police come to investigate the noise. Young hoodlums (are people "hoodlums" these days? Naw, they're probably just thugs 4 life or something like that) get into shouting matches with each other.
Everyone's dressed like they're shooting a rap video but haven't quite figured out where the cameras are set up yet: the young girls are in outfits designed (successfully, mind you) to give us indecent thoughts, while the men are wearing clothes baggy enough to house a small civiliation. It's another spring night in New York City, and love is in the air. I passed a car parked on the side of the road rocking back and forth seductively: another young couple enjoying the spring and each other, no doubt. My local drug dealer is back in her doorway, looking more adorable than ever.
And me? I'm, of course, sitting right here at the keyboard of this computer, looking out my window and wondering what that cute silhoutte in a window across the way is thinking. She's sitting in her windowsill, smoking with her cat (that is, she's smoking, with her cat perched next to her; not that the cat is taking drags off a Marlboro).
I don't really know how to deal with it, actually. She's in the only lit window in the entire apartment block across the street, and I'm most likely in the only lit window of my own apartment block, and so we sit, both smoking out the window and both pretending not to see each other. It's like that uncomfortable feeling you get when you see a friend coming down the street from far off--you pretend not to see them until they get closer, because the moments after you make eye contact but before you get close enough to great them seem to elongate and you're left looking vacantly at each other across the divide.
Now imagine that distance never decreases, and you don't actually know this person but nevertheless feel a certain kinship with them. I don't know what it is; is it just because we're both in solitude, smoking out the window? Is it just a false feeling brought on by too much gin and juice (in honor of my fellow hoodlums)? It's really horribly confusing, and so we both continue this charade. She's slunk back from the windowsill a little, leaning against the side, so that all there is to see is a cat draped on leg-shadow, a comely breast floating a foot above that, and the hint of a nose to top it off.
Kind of surreal, if you ask me. Though not necessarily worthy of complaint.
Would it be weird to develop a crush on a girl you only know by silhoutte? Weird that I hope she can hear the Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine I have cranked up on my speakers? Would she prefer it if I cranked up the Pixies? That shape looks like she digs the Pixies. Is it weird to hope that my music is cool enough to that shape across the way, who I don't even know enough to recognize on the street (no matter how close or far I see her)? Weird to feel I know her already?
Or maybe I just passed "weird" six paragraphs ago, in admitting that I have a crush on the local drug dealer.
Yes, it truly is a wonderful night up here in Washington Heights. Hope spring is treating you as well as it's treating me.