please don’t tell

Does the angle between two walls create:
a) an uncomfortable place to lean
b) a morose shadow
c) a happy ending

On a Saturday, I am joined by a woman wearing blue hips. She speaks in clicks and swirls of pen ink. Her laughter is a meal I savor all evening.

In a museum, we wander. There is a room with thick floss creating boxes of mazed claustrophobia. Ticket holders pause in the darkness. I notice a man; I notice my discomfort being blind in a room of his gender. The rope bends, pulls up and to the sides.

Does the artist want us to panic? Does the artist want us to focus on shape shifting? Is the artist watching?

Tour guide with long, blond hair and purchased smile tells us to stare into the red neon blinking exhibit.

This will take away your memory, she says.
Good thing, I blurt. I’m ready to start over.

I stare, refusing any blinks to interrupt. There is burning in my retinas, but I push through it. I have a lot of memories to extinguish.

In the evening, we come across a bar with no sign, with no mention, with a huge waiting list. Only in New York would a bar exist that has a secret entrance in a telephone booth built into a hot dog shop.

Over three hours later, we receive a call that it is our turn to enter. I wonder what exists in this place. Will there be men or women walking around naked, slurping expensive shots of liquor off each other’s curved parts?

I can recall various places I’ve been where images such as this filled the room. A man in pink tutu wearing dog leash and bruises, asking to be whipped. Women with lipstick all over their bodies from other women’s lipstick sticking to them. Piles and piles of condoms.

We enter the bar.

Nudity?
(nope)

Safe sex paraphernalia?
(none)

Women walking around carrying cheese platters?
(I was hungry; no)

It was really just a bar.

Men in fancy suits or button down shirts that looked newly pressed and steamed.

Women wearing cleavage and smiles.

Then, a redhead wearing bandana on neck, striped shirt with black vest. Converse. Some visible knots in hair. Scars replacing bling.

I’m not supposed to tell because that is what the bar advertised.

(but….)

There is taxidermy everywhere. My beautiful friend keeps getting accosted by a stuffed grizzly wearing a hat and several rows of sharp teeth.

Where the walls meet, there are tables of people, gathering stories or alcoholic buzzes. I feel envious for the dead animals nailed up.

They don’t have to wait on a list or order overpriced drinks (though impressively made with locally grown herbs).

They don’t need to worry if anyone will notice the ink stain on right pocket of jean shorts.

They definitely don’t have to feel distracted by the fear that deodorant protection ran away two hours ago and any sudden movements may offend.

They just get to remain there, regardless of social class or ability to match shoes to shirt.

Please don’t tell but I think I fell in love with New York City a little more on this day. With all of its secrets and odd quirks. New York City is kind of like me.

happy ending or….an uncomfortable place to lean?

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