Last weekend, in New York City, I heard a female voice to my left say, Tell me, quick. Quick, before running past me on the sidewalk, then stopping. When I passed her, I saw she was crying. Twenty-something and crying big tears on the street, in New York City, in the East Village.
I'm not in my twenties anymore. Public crying isn't done, unless someone's died. Even so, yesterday I sat in this coffee shop in this small town, in this coffee shop where I come to write every day, where the same people sit in the same chairs every day, every day. I sat here and tears leaked out of my eyes, however much I tried to hold it together.
I've exiled myself here. It was my choice, and also - it hurts. I swiped at my face with my gloves and the people in the coffee shop tried not to look.
Today, I'm back in the coffee shop. I don't know if anyone looks at me funny, or differently from the way they looked at me before I cried here. It doesn't matter. A friend told me I'd have to write a lot of nonsense, so this is what I'm doing. I'm writing nonsense.
Today, I had lunch in an aluminum-sided diner with curved glass block corners. A man in an apron with a long white beard came to my table with a plate - not my order, not yet. He looked like he'd been at sea for many years. He turned a small loaf of bread out of its pan, used a butter knife to cut off a hunk. A generous portion of butter, a smear of jam. He offered it to me, quoting James Joyce:
The butter, he said, weeps into the bread.
The bread was sweet and salt, as warm and intimate as a kiss.