I left him at the table and walked north back to my apartment, staring at the sky above my riverbed, the white and silver scales atop the Chrysler Building (the arrangement of lights looking like the fish I’d seen on the walls of Pompeii). Alone and heading home.
It reminded me of my first weeks in the city, walking from Union Square down Broadway after my movies—always alone—past Grace Church, Amalgamated. The education of a girl and her sensibilities. It came to me, finally. “Alone” and “lonely” were very different. Right then, I was by myself yet a part of those around me, Broadway, a river of souls, the echo of heavy heels, sneezes (little orgasms of air), monologues of crazy street poets. I considered all of my romances—the city, my job, the men. Manhattan was real and the only thing that had grabbed a hold of me, never once letting go. So I had that. I’d always have that. Breathe.