Winter of 1980, late December to be exact. I’m sixteen years-old.
Girlfriend and I just broke up. I feel free now but lonely at the same time. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Or does it?
We always fight. I think I’m a jerk to her. Sometimes that is…
It’s Saturday night, we’re all hanging out by Prospect Park. My ex is talking to a boy; I’m jealous, jealous as fuck. They keep laughing with each other. They’re having fun. I’m pissed. He’s an asshole to tell you the truth.
I decide to split. I have had enough. Loud music, drinking, smoking and everyone seems to be having a good time…except me. No one says good-bye.
It’s cold anyway, real cold. My feet are frozen. My fingers feel like they will fall off any minute. I need to warm up.
I decide to jump on the train and head over to the city. It’s always warm on the train. At times during the winter we hang out down in the subway but the transit cops always kick us upstairs.
Walking across ninth avenue I hang a left down 16th street. There’s a few guys hanging outside of Farrell’s drinking containers.
Walking down the stairs I hear the train rolling into the station. I begin to sprint towards the token booth.
Fuck it, no time to buy a token.
I rush the gate (hopping the turnstile), sprint down the stairs and take a seat on the Manhattan-bound F-train. It’s empty. Thank God there wasn’t any cops. I was like Pete Rose scoring from second base on a single. I was booking!
When I leave my friends I usually go up to the schoolyard to play ball or I head over to the city. I don’t like going home. When I am in Manhattan I feel like I am in a different world. There’s so much to do. I started hanging out in the city in the summer. I met some kids at West 4th street while I was playing ball. They were cool. We stayed in touch and have hung out a few times.
Four days days ago I met a pretty hispanic girl on the F-train. Her name is Evelyn. She lives in the Lower East Side. I was cutting out of school that day. Evelyn was sitting across from me on an empty train. I caught her smiling at me. I smiled back. We had a nice conversation.
When she got off at Delancey Street I was bummed. Evelyn was tall with long dark hair. Her eyes were beautiful. I’m sure she had a boyfriend. We chatted from 14th street. I was shocked she wrote her number down on a piece of paper before the doors opened.
“You better call me,” she said as she stepped off the train. As the train pulled away, we looked at each other and Evelyn waved good-bye.
It’s a little after ten as the F-train pulls into the Second Avenue station. I walk up the stairs that lead to the street. There’s junkies, winos and whores all over the place.
“Suck your dick for a fin,” a dirty looking woman says to me as I walk over a bum sleeping at the top of the stairs. She’s nasty.
I begin my walk uptown. I need a chocolate egg cream from St. Mark’s Place. Plus I want to pick-up the January issue of Basketball Digest. I love the newsstand there. Anytime I am in the city I make sure to make a pit stop there.
There’s a pay phone on the corner of East 4th and second avenue. I pull out the slip of paper with Evelyn’s number on it and a dime. I begin to dial.
The phone rings three times. Damn, hope she’s home.
“Hi is Evelyn there?” I ask.
The person who answered the phone just says, “hola,” and that was it.
“Hi this is Evelyn,” the voice said.
“Evelyn, this is Steven.”
“Oh hi, how you doin’?” She asks, sounding excited.
“I’m in the city, what are you doing?” I ask.
“Nothing, I’m just chillin’ with my cousins,” she says,
“Come out and meet me.”
“Okay, where ya wanna meet?” she asks.
“Meet me at Katz’s.”
“Okay, I’ll be there in twenty minutes,” she says.
Click, she hangs up. I hang up with a smile.
I make my way over to Katz’s. I have a few dollars on me. Standing outside on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow the wind is picking up and it starts to snow.
Can’t wait until she gets here. We’ll sit down and have a knish and drink Cream soda until they close.
This is going to be a great night.