Here comes the sun.
They’ll all be coming soon.
Arriving from their homes and apartments. All directions. They live on Sherman Street. 10th and 11th avenues. 16th, 17th and 18th streets.
On their way to church. All dressed up.
Four or five different scheduled times for church.
Every hour. Personally I like the 5:30 mass on Saturday nights. That’s the one my girlfriend goes to with her father.
I stopped going to church soon as I graduated from Holy Name. They made me go every Sunday. Hate to stay this but I didn’t like going. I could never put any money in the collection box. Plus I had a hard time getting up so early.
I’ve been sleeping against the wall here in the schoolyard. The boys schoolyard to be exact. At our Grammar school we have two yards; boys and girls. We have three full-courts here. The basketball games here are competitive and tough. I like watching he older guys play three-on-three.
As I make my way through the chain- link fence on Howard Place, turning left I walk slowly towards Windsor Place.
It’s quiet. Not a sound except for the birds. But I don’t see them. They must be sitting up in the trees. I glance to my right and see a lady walking down her steps. She’s tossing her trash out. We make eye contact, she smiles at me. I put my head down and keep walking.
You’re probably wondering what the hell I’m doing walking home from the schoolyard at six in the morning?
Last night there was a big fight between me and my girlfriend. I’ll call her “M” – don’t want her to get mad at me for telling you all this.
It was all my fault; I get so jealous when she talks to other boys.
“Can’t keep running away,” she always tells me.
But I disagree with her. I have to run when I’m hurt. I don’t want anyone see me cry.
The boys schoolyard is my safe haven. It’s the only place I feel good.
Must’ve been around eleven last night.
We were all hanging out in Prospect Park.
M and I were having a good time. Drinking, kissing and most of all laughing.
She has the greatest laugh. Her smile is amazing. Her teeth so white.
When we kiss I melt.
Her breathe always smells so fresh.
I don’t know what happened but all of a sudden I find myself yelling at her. In front of all our friends. There’s about 25 of us hanging out. I have a temper. It’s spiraling out of control.
My mind is going in a million different places.
Storming out of the Park I wlak across ninth avenue, past Farrell’s and towards Holy Name. i make a left down Windsor and a right on Howard.
The yard is dark and quiet.
I walk over to the church and sit down against the wall.
A few people walk by heading up Prospect Avenue.
I’m so confused.
I get jealous a lot.
It burns me up.
My face turns red.
Then I start yelling.
I close my eyes. Leaning against the wall I fall asleep.
Sun is out.
I glance at the alarm clock on the nightstand; big hand is pointing to the eleven, little hand to the nine.
Gotta get up.
Gotta get up and go to church.
Every Sunday for the last eight years. Same routine.
Tell you the truth, I’m not excited. Not feeling it.
I wanna sleep some more.
That’s been my thing now; sleeping in.
I can’t get in the schoolyard until mass is over anyway.
Plus I don’t have any money to put in the collection basket. They stick the fucking thing right in front of my face and hold it there. I’m busted bro.
Got no money.
To be honest, I wanna snatch a five dollar bill out of the basket.
My girlfriend went to church last night at 5:30 – I should have gone with her.
She’s always bugging me to go with her and her father.
“Wanna come to five-thirty mass with me and my dad?” She asked me Friday night while we hung out on her stoop.
Nah, instead I spend my time in the schoolyard at that time playing ball.
“GET UP, GOTTA GO TO CHURCH!” My mother screams from her bedroom. It’s right next to mine. We live in a five room, railroad apartment on the corner of Windsor and Ninth.
Why do I gotta get up?
She’s not going to church, neither is my sister or brother, they’re sleeping.
Plus, I’m in high school now, I don’t go to Holy Name anymore. They can’t do anything to me. I hated Monday mornings. if I skipped church, they called me down to the office. How did they know I dipped out?
I ain’t going to church today.
“GET UP!” Mom screams again. She’s relentless.
Slept in today.
Don’t care. I don’t go to Holy Name anymore so they can’t say anything if I don’t go.
Been going to church every Sunday since I was eight years old. I’m 14 now.
Mom never came home last night.
Younger sister slept at her friend’s house.
Older brother never made it home. Haven’t seen him since Friday.
Head out to the kitchen and open the fridge, it’s pretty empty.
Guess that means no cereal.
It’s cold in our apartment. I swear sometimes I think the landlord shuts the heat off. Mom would turn on the burners on the stove to warm us up. One night a couple of years ago I slept with my coat.
Slide my jeans on, slip on my sneakers and throw a coat on. Don’t need socks.
Forget to brush my teeth.
Walk down the two flights of stairs out onto ninth avenue.
It’s cold. Snow still on the ground from Saturday. See a few people walking on the avenue. Some coming from church. Some kids are wearing nice clothes.
Cross ninth avenue and walk over to Pynn’s Deli on the corner of 16th street.
See a few older guys outside Farrell’s. Two guys are holding containers. One guy is smoking and talking politics. One guy is complaining about the Giants. They missed the playoffs. Some day I’ll be able to get into Farrell’s, buy a container and hang out.
Walk into the deli and there’s a long line. I hate waiting on line.
Pull out my money and count it. I have six bucks. Had twenty last night but I spent it on some booze. Saturday night is a drinking night for us.
“Coffee light and sweet and a buttered roll,” I tell the guy behind the counter. He doesn’t seem to enthused about working. He has a white apron on. Looks perturbed.
My order is made in a flash. Gotta admit, the line goes fast. I look through the glass showcase and see the rice pudding isn’t out yet. I love it. You should try it some day. I usually get a dollar’s worth. Fills me up.
The guy behind the counter puts my order in a brown paper bag. No “thank you,” and no “have a nice day.”It’s okay though. I’m used to it.
The owner of the joint Billy, is a good guy, he sees me and say’s hi. In the summer we talk about the Mets.
Walk past Farrell’s and over to the parkside where I take a seat on the wooden bench straight across from Lefrak. The snow is cleaned off. The bench is dry. There’s a 68 bus idle.
“Yo Red, Knicks need Melo!”
That’s Mickey, he’s a former teacher and basketball coach at Holy Name. Really knows the game. He’s more of a college guy than NBA. But he knows I love the Knicks. He’s talking about Carmelo Anthony; he sat out last night, Knicks lost.
“NOT A FAN OF MELO!” I shout across Prospect Park Southwest.
Mickey smiles and keeps walking up towards the avenue.
“Matter of fact, maybe they should trade him!” I add.
Doubt Mickey heard me. He walks fast.
I sip my coffee. It’s hot. A few people are walking into the park carrying their sleds.
The buttered roll looks delicious.
Wonder where all my friends are?
It’s Friday night, you coming out tonight?
Everyone goes out on Friday night!
At 6:30 make sure you come over to Our Lady’s Field and share the Holiday spirit at the first Windsor Terrace – Holy Name Father’s Guild Lighting Ceremony. Our Lady’s Field is what we used to call, “The Lot.”
Entrance is on 16th street or Windsor Place.
You are encouraged to bring an ornament for the Christmas Tree and enter the ugly sweater contest.
Hooley is a judge of the contest…
Rain Date is Wednesday Night December 16.
The New York Mets defeated the Chicago Cubs last night 4-2. The Mets now lead the best of seven series 2-0.
The series now moves to Chicago.
“You see Murphy last night?” Jimmy asked Steve while both teens stood on the corner of Prospect Avenue, right outside Holy Name Church.
“Yeah man, he’s hot!” Steve answered sipping on a coffee, light and sweet from Henry’s deli.
“HOT? He’s homered off Arrieta, Lester, Greinke, and Kershaw this postseason!” Jimmy shouted.
The Mets second baseman hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first last night to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.
“He’s a free-agent, there’s talk of the Mets not signing him,” Jimmy explained while he glanced at the New York Post.
“Good, then he should jump on the train and head to the Bronx, the Yankees can use him.” Steve said as he took off down Prospect Avenue to the schoolyard.
“Where ya going?” Jimmy shouted.
Steve kept walking, munching on his buttered roll ignoring Jimmy.
FRIDAY MORNING – MAY 15
I am up, showered, and out the door by 6:30.
Places to go, people to see, food to eat and of course, coffee to drink.
It’s a gorgeous morning. Sun is out, people actually have smiles on their faces and respond when I say, “Good morning.”
Crossing the circle I think of heading into Connecticut Muffin but decide to hold off.
First stop is Terrace Bagels on Windsor and ninth.
The place has a line. People love their bagels. Guys behind the counter are hustling. If Louie the owner was around, he would be proud.
“WHO’S NEXT?” Counter guy shouts.
“Give me the Brooklyn Boy a toasted Everything bagel,” I answered.
For those who don’t know, the Brooklyn Boy is Ham and egg on a bagel.
I sit at an empty table by the window and back door. Placing my bag on the chair, people are in a rush, gotta get to work I guess. Moving quickly.
All good, I feel them. I remember those days. That train, oh that train…
My first screw up of the trip was jumping the gun.
Counter person calls out “DAVE” sandwich was ready. I reached for it and made a mistake.
“You Dave?” he inquired.
“Oh shit, my fault,” I quickly countered placing the brown paper bag back on the counter.
Everyone waiting for their order gave me the stink eye. I felt stupid.
Dave was like, “YO BRO, THAT’S MINE.”
Finally my sandwich is ready.
Grabbing a seat, all set to dive into a real breakfast sandwich but something was missing. I need a newspaper.
Post, Daily News, Newsday…I will even settle for a New York Times.
No Rae and Otto and Jimmy’s is now closed.
“Yo, you know where I can get a newspaper?” I asked someone on their way out the door.
“No,” the guy with the suit and tie growled.
Damn dude. Sorry I asked.
The avenue needs a newsstand. In the worst way.
Great idea for a business huh? (Anyone want to back it, I’ll move back to run it) We can call it “Reds.”
We’ll sell papers, magazines, candy, soda, and we’ll even bring back the counter and make egg creams.
After I polish off my sandwich and wash it down with a bottle of water, I head up the avenue to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Passing a few people on the avenue I don’t recognize one face.
Where is everyone?
Dunkin’ Donuts is steady. Couple of people in-line. Donuts looking good but I can’t be messing with them.
I order a large coffee, milk and three splenda and grab a seat by the window; great view of the avenue.
Wi-Fi is kicking. What would I do without it?
I’m in my glory.
“Coffee light and sweet,” I hear someone shout to the counter person.
Haven’t heard that in a long time.
As I look across the street at Holy Name Church I see an older group of folks exiting.
I see Mrs. Martin from Windsor Place.
Oh shit, there goes Mr. and Mrs. Cox. I think that’s them?
Finally, some familiar faces.
Feel like jogging across and asking “How’s Laura and Karen?”
Two good girls I grew up with back in the day.
Have to tell you about a young lady who complained about her coffee not once, not twice, but three times.
Felt bad for the lady behind the counter.
“Don’t worry my friend, I love the coffee here,” I assured her.
A college kid is working hard. Wiping down tables. Cleaning the legs of the chairs.
“Great job,” I tell him.
“Thanks,” he answers.
I hope he doesn’t think I was a smart-ass. I admire people who work hard.
Time to split, going over to the city today.
Where’s my Metro Card?
Monday morning – May 4
“Hope you didn’t bet the Nets Friday night,” Billy barked at Mikey as the two friends stood on the corner of Windsor Place and Ninth Avenue.
“Don’t even go there,” Mikey warned.
Billy laughed as a few kids with their parents rushed past them heading to school.
“They sucked,” Billy added. “I was outta there in the middle of the third quarter.”
Mikey had indeed bet the Nets Friday night. Billy said he liked Brooklyn with the points. The line started at four points and grew to five, two hours before the game. Mikey was able to get the five. A few hours later, the Nets got smashed 111-87. Now he was really in the hole.
Mikey had one last chance to get even on Saturday afternoon but he whiffed on the Derby and picked Pacquiao in the big fight vs Mayweather.
“I bet Pacquiao Saturday night and my horse didn’t come in in the Derby,” Mikey groaned.
“Shit, did you bet the Spurs-Clippers game?” Billy asked.
“Nah, I couldn’t get it in,” Mikey informed him.
Billy took a bite out of his buttered roll and sipped his coffee.
“Should’ve took the Clippers,” Billy added.
“I gotta pay Roger seven hundred dollars by tonight,” Mikey explained.
Billy looked at him.
“You schmuck!” Billy shouted.
Mikey was speechless.
“I told ya asshole, stop gambling, especially when you’re outta work, jerk-off!”
Mikey felt terrible. He had listened to Billy so many times telling him to give up gambling. But it was hard. He was addicted to it and there was nothing that could stop him.
“My unemployment check comes today, so at least I can give Roger five-hundred,” Mikey noted.
Billy looked away.
“I’ll give you the other two,” Billy offered.
“REALLY?” Mikey replied.
“Yeah, yeah but no more Mikey, no more bettin’.”
“Okay man, I swear on a stack of bibles, no more,” Mikey assured him as he leaned forward and hugged Billy.
“Get off me man, people will get the wrong idea,” Billy howled.
Billy and Mikey have known each other since their days at Holy Name, they were always there for each other. Had each others backs.
“How’d it go with that new lady friend Friday night?” Mikey inquired.
Billy looked at Mikey and laughed, “None of your business,” as he walked away, towards Holy Name Church.
“Where ya goin’?” Mikey hollered.
“Confession,” Billy joked as he polished off his coffee and tossed it in the trash can on the corner.
Mikey stood there watching his friend walk up the avenue towards the church.
“Confession?” Mikey thought to himself.