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I was walking past the produce stand on the corner of 33rd street contemplating my next two weeks without weed when the fear hit. It was not the thought of being without weed for two weeks that brought the fear on; that was simply when I noticed it. It was a tingly feeling shooting out of my fingertips; it was the brightness of the sun. It was numbness; it was light, and it was spreading. It was a knot above my stomach, not letting me vomit or swallow, sending messages to my brain that negated every thought I had. “I’ll write,” I told myself. I don’t want to write. “I’ll be working, I like work,” I told myself. I don’t want to go to work. My feet were moving but I did not notice them. All I could see was the bright light of the sun, flooding my eyes, bringing back memories of heatstroke on a warm morning, 1984, smothered in grey, underestimating the power of the bright haze of spring. And the fear rose up, and threw a muddy tarp over my mind. There was panic, but then that too subsided, as it simply meant nothing. I was in the air, eyeballs floating blankly, my body as ether. Everything blacked out.
Hint: I do feel a real duality from time to time. Mind is body, energy as thought. And most of the time I am balanced. The joy; when I insert the ‘I’ behind my consciousness, behind my soul, behind my awareness and observe it. The fear; when the ‘I’ slips in front of my awareness, in front of my soul, in front of my consciousness. Then I am not looking at myself as something immediate, but something past. I have been, so I am nothing, that sort of thing.
Searching for grounding, I walk into Dunkin Donuts and order coffee. It means nothing. I break a ten. I wonder where all my money goes. I walk out, dazed. I can feel that this is the undertow, that I am being pulled back in to myself. I know because I am starting to realize that I was not conscious of where I had been walking. The subway calls. I start to see faces again, but the eyes in them say nothing. I walk up the stairs and wait for the wave to pass.
On the platform, I return. I realize that I am drinking coffee and going into the city. But I still am unclear on why. It is not at the forefront of my mind. I notice my heart beating rapidly. I had just had either an acid flashback or an slightly bipolar experience. I remember I had wanted to cry, as I had been walking past the pizza place thinking ‘I don’t want to eat'...
N-train: I remembered at 49th street that I would not be getting off at Times Square, as I do practically every time I take the train, every day for the past four months. For some reason this relieved me greatly. The train moved on, and I sat sipping my coffee, Ayn Rand’s We The Living desperately trying to get my attention.
It is working, somewhat...
I get off the train at Union Square and walk around the park for a bit, looking for a non-threatening value department store. Some lady gives me a bagel to feed the pigeons with. There are hundreds of them. Dozens gather around me as I lazily drop crumbs at my feet. I walk past a dog run and watch the dogs play. There’s a three-legged dog hoping around rather gracefully, his playmates unaware of any of this... There are three dogs, obviously friendly, play-fighting. I begin to laugh at this, thinking it absurd. I leave the park and its green sky and, feeling like myself again, walked to the Virgin Megastore.
After some hesitation I purchased a knish and a can of Coke from the hot dog vendor on the corner. The first bite burned my mouth but tasted wonderful.
There is beauty again, rounding the edges.
Only then did the beauty return.
“Is that good?”
I was sitting in front of the Megastore, eating. The question had come from a man my age or slightly younger, sitting next to me. I noticed a few friends around him and a map. Tourists.
Me? I am a New Yorker.
“Man,” I said, “so good. So good.”
I got up, didn’t litter, and forward.
Right to the end.
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