Friday, April 09, 2010

Yoga in the City

I did move into the apartment on Washington Square, which is the nice way of describing that place. The ugly, more accurate way of describing the apartment is to say that it was on the 13th floor, but was called 14D. It was on a floor that didn’t exist in a bland skyscraper that did not deserve its romantic setting, inches from the arch of Washington Square.

The doormen and elevator men were always at hand, dressed in green uniforms. Only one of them was black and he was called Curly. His job was to stand in the elevator and press the button of your floor for you and talk amiably about weather or sports, your choice.

And yet it was spacious, the apartment. Two bedrooms. Two full bathrooms. Much more space than a 23-year-old in Manhattan was supposed to have. Not to mention that it was free.

I had lived here with Geoffrey and his father and sometimes his sister in my last couple of college years before we’d gone to L.A. Though “living with” is a stretch. People cycled through the apartment and right now it was empty. There were bits of furniture, things people had left behind. I didn’t want to be there long. I hated the ugliness of the apartment – the dark salmon of the living room walls, the bright blue bedroom walls. But there were times too when I showed the place off, acting as casually about wealth as Geoffrey did.

I brought Roy, the guy from the party in the East Village, there and didn’t say anything about the place, just let it be a mystery that I lived with a balcony over Washington Square Park.

When people at work asked where I lived, I answered either vaguely, “in the Village,” or, if more detail was needed, I’d have to explain what I was doing in an expensive old-people’s building.

I put sneakers on and walked to work every morning – 40 blocks – feeling like I was riding the wind, feeling invincible in the power of my stride. Our New York offices were pokier than the luxurious L.A. ones, but for awhile I didn’t mind. I was in New York.

I had to get a lover quick. Mostly to protect myself from the memory and presence of Geoffrey of whom I was still so conscious. I promised myself I would not call him for six months, and slept in our old bed, with his childhood furniture that smelled the way it always had.

The only thing I knew for sure that I wanted and knew how to get was a yoga class. I wanted to find the classes that would make me feel as perfect as those L.A. ones. I made a list from the yellow pages and began systematically visiting each school.

One was on 23rd Street with a shiny wooden floor, lots of mirrors and green plants. The class felt more like a dance class. One place was too dark and burned too much incense. That wasn’t it. I went from class to class and none of them recreated the big hall in the white mansion.

I knew three women from college in New York – Anna, Sara and Meg. Once or twice they came to the apartment. Once they even slept over. Though they’d known me for years they hadn’t been there before. I could not have friends over when Geoffrey was there because he didn’t like my friends. Or my family. And when I looked at these people through his eyes I saw what he saw. Geoffrey’s family took us on vacations, out to fancy Manhattan restaurants. His stepmother gave us hash and his stepbrother was a bona fide schizophrenic. His friends had vast record collections and made him laugh. My friends and my family couldn’t begin to compete.

Anna and Sara persuaded me to take a weekend workshop that promised breakthrough via a system they swore by. I took the weekend and did not have the promised breakthrough, could not join in the party afterwards where everyone celebrated having gotten it. I felt as disconnected there as at any other party.

I brought one boy home to the apartment after meeting him at a brunch on the upper West Side, identifying him early on and bringing him home, hoping that he would be the next Geoffrey, that we would melt into each other, but it was like trying to get something to stick with cheap glue.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Hello! Just popping in to say that I admire your blog and have given you an award!

Check it out here: