Co-Op City Blues

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01/02/2003

30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, 11217

Neighborhood: All Over, Bronx

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At the time I was working at Brooklyn Academy of Music (still am, actually). I was 26 and living with my now ex-wife in the Bronx, in a place called Co-Op City. Co-Op City is a place just like all the other "Co-Op Cities"; a bunch of highrise type buildings built outside of the "ghetto" neighborhoods. They were built for the working class to have a place outside of the real crummy neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were once populated by Jews, and that's where the term "ghetto" comes from--a Jewish word given for the poor crowded Jewish neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan when the Jewish immigrants were arriving in New York.

Anyway, my marriage at this point was over, we were sleeping in separate rooms. At first I was sleeping on the floor in the game room until one night I burst in our bedroom and told her to get out of my bed, and I went on to tell her how i was working my ass off and there was no way I would sleep on the floor another day. I kicked her out of our bedroom and she moved to the sofa bed, which, by the way, had a really expensive mattress because the sales guy pitched my ex-wife on the upgrade when she bought the sofas. So the marriage was fucked.

We have a seven-year-old girl, Victoria. She was four at the time.

So it was a Friday and my ex-wife and Victoria were going to visit her sister upstate for the weekend, and I was going to work.

At the time at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) we had some show that was selling out every night, and back then BAM performances didn't sell out often. I work in the box-office. Around 7pm a pretty girl comes up to my window and aska me about seeing that evening's performance, and after giving her the bad news we continue to talk. I ask her at some point what her alternate plans were and she tells me about something called Something Something Fantastique. I can't remember the complete name, but she goes on to tell me it's some type of underwater puppet show. I tell her that I'd be willing to see it and so she invites me. She meets me after work and we sit in her car for a bit chatting about odd stuff and then we drive over to some place around Varick St. or 7th in the Canal St. area. I get confused once I'm below 14th St. We chat here and there and are really getting along. We see the puppet show which was quite interesting and then we go back to Brooklyn cause I need to get my car to go home. We sit in her car and I remember playing a game that involved the traffic crossing in front of us and picking a car that we like and talking about it. Like did we know someone who had one, or did we ever have one, did we rent it once, did we see it in a movie, did we have sex in it? Stuff like that. It was a good way to talk about our lives, and it was part of a game.»

We stay in her car talking till about 2 or 3 in the morning. At some point it's like we were both waiting for something and we finally kiss and kiss some more. The girl, who's name is Alice, asks me if we can go to my place. I say yes. We leave my car in Brooklyn and we take her car. We get to my place and go straight to my bedroom and get into bed and start kissing and touching. I remember feeling so exhilarated. I felt relieved that someone else in the world wanted me; my ex-wife was so not affectionate, sexual, and many other things. So even though this was a lustful interaction, I felt like it was the most amazing thing. We start to strip each other's clothes off and at some point Alice asks me if it would be OK if we just held each other. I felt so relieved cause the situation was a bit overwhelming and i was like, "Yes, of course," and we slept holding each other. I remember dreaming or just thinking over and over of scenarios of my ex-wife coming home and catching me. It didn't happen. But I get a call around 10 from my ex-wife, letting me know she was almost home, on her way a day early cause she wasn't having a good time. I jetted quickly and went to work with Alice. I remember sitting in her car eating breakfast that we picked up from a diner up the block. One of my co-workers (a dear friend of mine)walked by and saw us. The surprised look on her face was priceless. She knew all about my marital troubles, as I confided in her all the time.

A couple of months later I left my ex-wife and moved back in with my dad. Me and Alice were together for a couple of years on and off. Now we're just friends. And I'm still single.

I tell this story, I guess, because although on that night I realized I had to get out of a bad marriage, i also realized that I needed to feel love and that love was out in the world waiting to be found.

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