Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No City I Know

Because I'm allowed to hold my head up again, I've been out walking and errand-running while I wait for my eye surgery to be scheduled. I have learned how hard it is to do some things with one eye: walk down a broken escalator, put money in your wallet, swipe a debit card in the slot on the little machine. I walked up to the Whole Body store on 25th St to buy vitamins, and because I couldn't see to fit my card into the slot the cashier became quite solicitous. She had to key in my account number twice, and when I offered to give her another card she demurred. She didn't want anything to be more difficult for me. I was both grateful to her and about to cry; I'd never quite so clearly been seen as disabled. Then I went into Whole Foods to buy something for dinner; the store was busy, i was trying to walk forward, be aware of where my handheld green plastic basket was so I didn't whack anybody, and thread my way through the people and the carts, and suddenly I just wasn't sure I could handle it. I had to stop behind a column and just breathe next to the no-sulfites bacon till the feeling passed. Then, determined not to be defeated, I shopped.

Walking home on Seventh, I stopped and covered my left eye, so I could look at Manhattan through my right. What I saw was a murky gray city, tinged pink with my blood, and the dark shapes of figures moving toward and away from me; the one bright spot was a beautiful ripple of reddish neon, saying what I couldn't tell you. It was apocalyptic and like no city I know, and I thought, This is the adventure my soul is having.

Then I had to jump over one of those big slushy puddles that are the ice-cold perils of city intersections when the snow starts to melt, and just as I came down on the other side a taxi six feet away honked at me and scared me half to death, and I was filled with rage. The furious don't think about the spirit at all.

7 comments:

kyana said...

thinking of you. and hoping for a very good result from your surgery.

okie said...

Praying for you.

Nancy Devine said...

thinking of you, hoping your surgery goes very, very well.
and happy new year. reading your work, in print and online, gives me sustenance.

Kathleen said...

Yes, your soul's adventure. Thank you for sharing it here, and for looking through that eye to see the city. I'm glad people are helping (not just honking) as you carry on in vulnerability.

Gail M. said...

I can't imagine what you're going through and hope you have had the surgery by now. What a way to start a new year! If you lived in Durham, NC, I'd happily help with Ned...

Mim said...

Dear Mark:

Be safe--away from the furies--and in skilled hands. Tender ones, too.

Mim

Monique Avakian said...

Praying for you, Mark. If someone is reading this, maybe they could post how we in New York could help you out.....