Friday, January 3, 2014

The Tenth Noel: Into the Cold Again

As you may know unless you live in another hemisphere,
it is dang cold. 
No, colder than that. 
Cold as (the last circle of) hell (Anne Doe Overstreet).  
So Rorie and I are out walking and she's like, really, you're just gonna walk around the block in this deep freeze?
And I'm like, what's your problem female dog? It's not like I need the exercise (well, really I do). You're the little fatty!
And she's like, that hurts, it's not my fault I'm getting old and you guys don't let me run free and besides you've got shoes on you stupid . . . .
So, of course, I'm like, awright Rorie, I hear you. Let's run back to the house. 
And all the way  back, she's like, ouchie ouchie ouchie, my tender little frozen paws!
Well, anyway, take care of your warm-blooded selves and your warm-blooded companions, friends. Because it's cold out tonight, the tenth night of the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. 
I'm feasting, in a way. On comfort food. This is not like me. I make healthy soups. I eat in moderation. I work out. A lot. I'm something and I know it. 

But as the mercury hit a billion below today (whatever, it feels like infinity below), something kicked in from my old life.
So, I just ate a pizza. I think now I'm going to make some mac and cheese. No ice cream in the house, though, so it looks like I will have to make brownies. I feel not at all like restraining myself from eating things that make me feel warmer right now. It's cold. Did I mention that? 
So be it.
The day Noel died, November 23, was really cold, or at least it seemed like it. Of course, Missy and Gordon live in Texas so anything under 60 feels cold to them. But the air was brisk, even frigid that day, although the world was beautiful outside Noel's window early that morning. He faded through the night and quit breathing as the sun was just starting to shine off the Hudson and the buildings across the way on the New Jersey side (his side).
I don't think it ever occurred to us to sleep that day. We didn't sleep the night before and hadn't slept much in a week. We had pretty much been living at the hospital, although we did have a room in a local hotel where we sort of took turns getting some sleep. But then we would fight about whose turn it was. Not to go sleep but to stay at the hospital. We had to insist that each other go get some sleep occasionally.
Anyway, it never occurred to us to sleep that day. He died about 7 A.M. The last thing we wanted to do after being in the hospital and the hotel for a week was to be in either for the rest of the day. Besides, they were kicking us out of the hospital.
So, I came up with a plan. Knowing the city pretty well, and it being a lovely, sunny, but cold day, we would traipse around the Big Apple. We would talk, and eat when we felt like it, and look at things, and honor Noel by being together.
That's what we did. To tell the truth, I don't remember eating much except that Gordon HAD to have a NYC hot dog from a hot dog vendor. So we did that at Columbus Circle, at the edge of Central Park, where we started our pilgrimage. Actually, the first guy didn't have kraut, so I told Gordon, don't worry, we'll find a guy with kraut. And we did. And it was fifty cents cheaper too. Apparently, it was a great hot dog. I'm a vegetarian so I can't say for sure.  
We walked through the park, then over to  Central Park South, over to 5th Avenue. Then, obviously, we went into F.A.O. Schwartz, the famous toy store and a place I used to like. It being November 23, you can imagine how crowded it was. Gordon and Missy were like, whoa, that's a spicy meatball. I'm like, you aren't in Texas any more kids, so just go with the flow

I talked with a lady who was selling Hanukkah calendars and it turns out she was a comic dramatist when she wasn't needing to make money, so we talked about Becket and Ionesco and Chekhov and Shanley. And she had lost a brother in the not too recent past. Missy and Gordon were off looking at the dancing piano thing made famous in BIG. I was getting a hug near the Legos.
We had some coffee and some snacks at a hard-to-find table in Trump Tower. Then on to St. Thomas Church (near MOMA), Rockefeller Center, the tree (not lit yet), St. Patrick's, the theater where Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart were doing Waiting for Godot (just to be there), St. Bartholomew's over on Park, and, eventually, Grand Central Station. 
And points between. Along the way we talked, cried, bought wool caps, bought gloves, lit candles, prayed, argued about something (can't remember what), and posed with Sponge Bob in Times Square. Well, Gordon did. And, yeah, there was also this cowboy guy wearing only white briefs, hugging people and letting them take their picture with him. I think I saw that.

We marveled at the restoration job on Grand Central. And sat and had a beer and some fries, except for Missy who had a coke or something. We warmed up before we went out into the cold again. We talked and were quiet and realized how tired we were. We said mean things about the bad doctors. We sad nice things about the sweet ones. The healers and the angels. As I say, we warmed up before we went out into the cold again.

Then we went out into the cold again. We hopped the A train back to the hotel and slept for a long time.

The image is of Gordon in a dress and Noel squatting in the background. 


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