A Specter is Haunting Williamsburg

by

09/01/2005

Lorimer & Metropolitan, brooklyn ny 11211

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Williamsburg

Last August, I lived with my ex-boyfriend in my ex-neighborhood of Brooklyn, neither of which could I find my way around. Coming back from the city late one night — I remember it being very hot and damp out — I exited the G’s Metropolitan stop around 2 a.m. and halted at the top of the steps, utterly baffled. I must’ve never used that exit before. Everything still looked bright, cheap and Polish, but in a slightly different way. It was like a spooky doppleganger of where I expected to be.

I asked two squinty hipsters, who were coming up out of the station behind me, where Lorimer was. They cruised me, said nothing and walked on.

The rest of the intersection was empty, dead.

I started down the foreign street, made it 20 feet, then hesitated and back-tracked. I turned and considered the other direction, resigned myself to a guess and stepped down from the curb.

As I started to make my way across, from the darkness, someone called out, “May I help you?” The voice was soft, almost feminine — but formal and European.

Startled, I spun around. A thin, anemic-looking young man was moving towards me in the street. His hair was almost translucent, and he was wearing a well-cut suit, a dress shirt and a tie — all of them black.

“May I help you?” the young man repeated in a friendly manner.

“I -,” I began then stopped.

He smiled so that his upper teeth showed, then pressed gently, “Are you…lost?”

Schooled in paranoia as all young women are, I hesistated, then ventured, “Kind of.”

The young man asked, his voice deepening, “What is it you’re looking for?”

It seemed to me he wasn’t being literal.

“Uh. Well, I’m kind of looking for Lorimer, where it crosses Bedford.”

He nodded plesantly, then offered his arm. I demured, but the young man escorted me anyway to the intersection, then suddenly disappeared without letting me thank him.

As we’d walked together in the silence, I’d studied him sidelong and saw a tiny silver elephant glinting from his lapel.

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