Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Skylines and Facelines
I have been away from New York for over two years, the longest time since I started my life with La Professoressa, and I will spend this time here sitting with old friends and just looking and talking, sometimes with the sites of New York in the background but they are not the feature. What I am visiting are the faceliness of those whom distance has kept from me, the faces of old friends who are old, some young old and others, whom time has not yet shaped. Naomi, in her 90s, welcomes me to her door. She is a gleam of spirit. I have interrupted her at breakfast, she sits in her chair, slightly at a slant, the New York Times propped up on a table easel. We talk about her collected works soon to be published, we laugh at the audacious spirit of the women of OWN (Older Women's Network) that she and her partner, Eva, founded a decade ago, rebels all with bones that hurt and bodies that fall. No denials just egging each other on to keep snatching the sting of that good martini or essence of that poem or flight of the just seen bird before it disappears in thicker stuff. Naomi, laughter in her eyes, mischievousness living in her narrowed house, her body, her house. Each year we pledge to stay alive until we can make it together down Broadway for our ritual hamburger, the good joints, without pretension, getting harder and harder to find. We did it, Naomi, we did it.
And then last night, dinner with Deborah and breathing deep sighs of relief at how well she looks, how precious these facelines are, these scapes of friendships and loveships, how one rushes in to say to time, please be careful with this one, touch it yes, let your calligraphy run deep but let me see again and again the precious visage gleaming with the touch of life.