Classic NYC Story

Words of a poet… Soul of a musician…

Wednesday, May/29/2013 12:38am

On having done something bad

I’ve done something bad.

Or, so began the conversation I started with the only two people to whom I could make such an admission. They are the only two people I know of who will understand and won’t tell my secret.

The most fascinating thing is to flash back on various moments and apply judgement to them. That’s what people usually do, isn’t it? Freeze frame there: that’s the moment when you should have told him to go to hell and left instead of staying silent. That’s the moment when you should have called the police instead of calling your cousin Bo and his posse. That’s the moment when you should have smiled and said nothing instead of calling her a wench and pulling her hair. Etc, etc. That’s the moment when you did something bad.

So what was the moment?

He walked me home. Well, almost. We were about a block away when he asked if I lived alone, with roommates, or with parents. It was one of those kinds of questions. It was an “is there anything hindering me from coming in tonight” question. There was, of course. My husband, of course. I told him this and did not let him inside. Was that the moment?

No, that wasn’t it… but it could have been any one of a thousand more. It could have been the white mocha at the coffee shop. I arrived half an hour late, running in the rain with no umbrella, twisting the flowy ethnic printed fabric of my dress into a knot. Nearly tripping over my low-heeled flip flops, I bundled down the stairs to the basement-level coffee shop. I saw him get up from his chair through the window. He embraced my shaking, shivering, profusely apologetic and out of breath body at the door as he ushered me in. Was that the moment?

That wasn’t it either. Couldn’t have been. Coffee and rain are both innocent enough.

But it was sometime after that. Sometime between that moment and the moment in which I called my best friend and said “I’ve done something bad,” a bad thing had happened. The irony is that I don’t know what “something bad” means. Maybe that’s why I can’t pinpoint the bad moment so easily now. There were maybe a few moments when I thought “this isn’t going anywhere good,” but the moment when it got there? I don’t know what that moment was. I don’t know what moment I was referring to when I said I had done something bad.

But certainly I’ve done something. That much I do know. I have most certainly done something…

…and now you all know…

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