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09/24/2006

W. 116th St. and Broadway, NY, NY 10027

Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

People. What can I say. Are unpredictable. Quite. It’s approaching four years since we first met at Bar 13 downtown while listening to some of the dopest spoken word artists. Most notable was Bonafide, Puerto Rican kid, Columbia guy.

We both were given to the electronic medium of connecting, given that substantive “real-time” connections were elusive. I wrote an original poem not for her, but sent it to let her see my thoughts. It was pretty good for off the cuff, written in a few minutes while sitting in the East Asian library during reading week, mere days before finals. Undoubtedly taking a break from studying, putting off the inevitable. The poem was about being a muse, finding a muse – searching for inspiration. Discovering the talent within by way of another.

Later we chatted on the phone. Had the most interesting of conversations about everything. I shared my observations about “The Death of Socrates_”on my visit to the Met. My favorite painting. I recalled how it enthralled me because it crystallized the importance of ideas. I gave an impassioned speech about how the ancient Athenians understood the importance of ideas so much that they sentenced Socrates to death for it. Corruption. Corrupting the Athenian youth. A crime of thought. Death for ideas. Socrates willingly drank the hemlock that forever sealed his fate. She indulged my rant and seemed to enjoy the discourse. We talked some more, off and on for a few weeks. It was fun b/c she was smart and witty with a sense of humor. A self-proclaimed “Dominican valley girl” b/c of a stint living in San Fran. But a true New Yorker at heart. Dominican from Washington Heights. Can’t get more New York than that.

The evening we finally met, I only knew the sound of her voice, yet when she tapped me on the shoulder, and said “hello”, I turned around and I shot her an icy glare. And then said, it’s me, “Aurelis”, and then I flashed a warm smile and we embraced. I later apologized for the giving her the ice grill.

As fate would have it she was absolutely beautiful. I was fortunate yet again with these type of meetings. As we sat down and shared drinks waiting for the poets to reappear, I prayed a silent prayer of thanks. That night was the first we met, but memory of her and our times together have been with me ever since. She enchanted me with her beauty, charm, and personality. I couldn’t get enough of her, the following month, I called her from South Africa just to hear her voice. She seemed thrilled. I could see her gleaming on the other end of the phone half-way across the world.

We went back and forth romantically, though I never could apprehend her…she wanted me not. At least not in any serious way. She made me sick with joy, pleasure, and even agony. I wanted her to want me, but she couldn’t, she wouldn’t. Forever at arm’s length, just beyond the grasp of my fingertips and heart. She broke my heart, several times over. But yet, I yearned for more. It was a tragedy of all tragedies.

But then things fell off. Slowly, but very assuredly. There was the evening of her birthday party. I mumbled some lame excuse about having to study. We didn’t speak for months afterward. Then there was the other party she hosted. Again, poor timing, I explained. Mid-terms were in full-swing. I couldn’t get away, no, not even for a little while. And then we didn’t speak again for months.

Then, I called her one day my last semester at Columbia. We chatted for a while and it was pleasant. We both agreed we shouldn’t let so much time pass between talking again. We promised to meet for lunch at that sushi place on broadway and 112th And soon. Soon was a couple weeks later. After the sushi place, the next time we met was prompted by me breaking her the news. I was moving. Flipping coast. To LaLaland. Los Angeles was beckoning.

And so, a few days before I boarded a flight out of NYC we had dinner. It was uptown in the Heights at a Spanish place. El Caridad. She still looked great. Beautiful as always. She wished me well and I wished her the same. It was bittersweet, our departure. I didn’t want to be with her, because so much had changed between us in the intervening time, both circumstances and personalities – but I would always think fondly of her. And always have. I wanted her so deeply and passionately, like I haven’t anyone else. I was intoxicated with the idea of her. Punch-drunk for the Dominican schoolteacher.

When I moved to L.A. we fell out of touch. I figured it was time to move on anyway. We had such a brief, fleeting romance, so long ago, I decided to let it go. I rarely thought of her anymore. The times I visited the City, it never occurred to me to call her, if only to say hello. I had moved. Literally and figuratively. Undoubtedly, she had moved too. The nature of life is moving – both onward and upward. I filed her away as another chapter in the saga, a forgotten page penned with ink that fades over time. The Dominican bruja no longer had me under her spell. I was free. Like Verizon. And clear from the pangs of desire.

Then one day, out of the blue, it occurred to me, she might have thought of me. More specifically, my family. She knows I’m from Lake Charles and the hurricane went straight through there. I decided to write an email. And so I did. I had no idea what to expect, I just wrote a brief email saying my family was okay and shot it off into cyberspace. And then…my pulse quickened when I saw her name in my inbox. Imagine my surprise. Surprise of all surprises.

Turns out I was right. She had considered my family and their well-being. In fact, her best friend is also from Louisiana, whom I had met, and she too asked about my family. How nice I thought. But admittedly, she supposes that she could have called to find out for sure. (shrugs) I suppose. Anyhow, she wishes me well and that she is still teaching, but has changed addresses. She mentions something about killer rents and then signs off.

I begin to hastily type a reply, excited by the fact that she has finally acknowledged me after all this time, but then I stop. I click out of the email and navigate to the web browser. I navigate to my favorite site, log on and click “post new blog”…

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