As I am working on my next book I have been coming across written and half-written essays, moments suspended in time, and scribbled notes in journals, often opening boxes of memories and feelings. This one will most likely find itself in the book in some shape or form... It reminds me of many people and nights.
There are certain sounds that transport me right back there, like Julian Casablanca’s' voice for example, I can smell the dry ice, taste the ice cold vodka that never had a chance to melt. I can feel the sweat on my neck, rooting around my bag looking for elastic to tie my hair up with. Dance dance dance amidst everyone, friends, acquaintances, random people, together and alone, drunk and high.
Friday night Darkroom. Friday night Annex. Saturday day hangover. Saturday evening Darkroom. Saturday evening Motorcity. Saturday evening Misshapes. Saturday evening Annex. Sunday morning somewhere. Home? Maybe. Elsewhere? Possibly.
Those days were so innocent; there was a lot of laughter and fun and some responsibility, lots of words unspoken and some fear bolstered by Stoli. We all fit in, fit in together, little groups of people, friends, moving in the same circles, some crossover, nods hello, hugs, sharing, bitchy looks, drunken tears, hook ups, nights that went on and on in bar basements.
Monday, drinks. Tuesday off? Wednesday Darkroom after Sidewalk. Thursday Motorcity. Back to Friday again. Sleep was one of those things you could do when you were dead. Skinny jeans and heels and biker boots and black tops. Pad Thai delivered from the place across the street on Sixth Avenue, cheese enchiladas from the Hat, sandwiches and cigarettes and beer and Gatorade and coffee and chips delivered from the deli on Bleecker to my teeny tiny studio where my bed fills my room.
I don't miss those days but they are days that should be written about. Days where I would stand next to one of my favorite musicians in a dark bar and just smile and walk away, afraid to say anything and appear anything other than aloof and fabulous, trying not to hyperventilate while lighting a cigarette in a corner to calm my nerves. Sitting on the wall of shame outside Darkroom watching the world, Ludlow St, go by night after night, breathing in the air around me, wondering how I had ended up in the most perfect place at the most perfect time and thanking my lucky stars for aligning when they did.
It was a time when we didn't face our demons we just ran with them. A time when we just wanted to dance and to sweat and to sleep around, a time where we all pretended we weren't looking for anything more, where we tiptoed around feelings and love and hatred and fear, where the music brought us together and where sex and drugs and alcohol ripped us apart inside. It was all fun and games, laughter and shots, innocence and pretense. Walls were built high, high and knocked down brick by brick. I let some people in and others let me in, friendships were built through the haze of all of the fake smiles and bright eyes. We bumped into each other so often in the same places, we ended up having real conversations leading to brunches and dinners and heartfelt talks. We talked about life and love and fears. We listened to music, always the music, we tried new restaurants and venues, pretending we were bored of the "old" ones, but heading right back "home" after an hour, finding comfort in routine, even if we pretended we didn't.
How many days and nights did we waste running after things we would never catch? How many nights spent swimming in booze and sweat, how many days alternating between wishing we had just stayed in and wishing that we didn't need to live a life during the day.
The best days, the worst days. Dancing on a table or a bar, no cares in the world, shots, another round of shots, I need more than this, no I don't this is perfect, this is now.
Ten years ago, a decade from the innocence, old enough to know better, young enough to know that we would make it through ok, at some point. I close my eyes and I see a sparkling darkness, a road well trodden, at least 6 pairs of boots worn down on that street, stomping up and down. 2006 was happiness and elation, there were no bad days then, it was a long chain of days strung together where everything felt right and friendly and interesting and fun. Sometimes I pulled myself back to the fringes, not interested in stepping into the abyss that appeared sometimes. No need to dip my toes, I liked dancing around the borders, butterfly wings light and fragile holding me away from the pull.
There was a lot of love around at that time. A lot of scared young adults who needed each other but didn't want to say so. NYC is a big dark city if you don't find your place and I found mine. It will always be there on Ludlow Street, a stomping shadow moving from bar to venue to restaurant to bar again. A city of moving pieces where everything changes, but where your spot never goes away, a beacon in my memories, a highlight of every story.