New York Stories, Pt. 2

Moments in Time

From an East Side 19th Century Japanese Pub

Terry Barr
4 min readOct 26, 2022

--

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

I remember long ago, walking crosstown with you. We had seen something off, something like The Last Seduction, and sure, Linda Fiorentino was all bad and the soundtrack at the end — Miles Davis? Dave Brubeck? — had me swirling. But the evening had fallen and I felt lost. And then we walked as friends do, long, tall, our shadows reflecting all that we could hold.

I guess we were going home; I was only visiting and I still think of “Walking on the Moon” when I remember that night.

But now, on this night, as the four of us hover over a table of oysters, curry, ramen, and somehow deviled eggs, we speak of future legends and retirement, you and I. Our partners watch us closely, smiling (though I wouldn’t know this then) at how we are together, how we laugh, how we seem to finish each other’s thoughts as if our minds always think the same things.

Which they almost always do.

At one point I lean into you. We’ve catalogued all the high school teachers we loved and how — and yes, you are right about this — they didn’t teach us to be analytical. No, we didn’t learn to scan poetry or use any theoretical framework to dissect Whitman or Romeo and Juliet. Maybe other high school lit classes in other, more progressive states would have. But this was Alabama, a smaller town, and so what could we expect?

“Except,” I said, “Look at all the works they taught, exposed us to: The Catcher in the Rye; The Diary of Anne Frank, stories by Flannery O’Connor and on and on.”

“You’re right,” you said.

“But better than that, we had friends who were smart enough to know that reading would pay off somehow. Imagine the people we knew and how supportive they were. Our group. And you and I: we were always giving each other books, and you got me reading things that changed me: A Clockwork Orange, Bradbury and Lovecraft, John Fowles, and The White Hotel. I got you a copy of Moby Dick; you asked for it. What would we have done without each other? Where would we have ended?”

The lights kept fading in and out as the waiter brought more blue cheese martinis and “Smoke.”

--

--

Terry Barr

I write about music, culture, equality, and my Alabama past in The Riff, The Memoirist, Prism and Pen, Counter Arts, and am an editor for Plethora of Pop.