I don’t remember much detail about July 5, 2002, three scant spins back. I wasn’t very happy — this will come up here now and then, as I aim my future in some new directions these next months — and I was spending a lot of hellaciously late time at the East Village’s finer drinking establishments (I haven’t actually stopped doing that, but sometimes less is more).
There was more likely to be tequila in front of me then than there is now, which is probably for the best but frankly it was kinda fun.
If I’ve got the years right I was frantically, liquidly, murderously in love with a girl who was so shredded herself that our every touch left splinters (not that touching was any part of her agenda). We had another few months left before we shook ourselves to pieces over a plate of midtown french fries and polite conversation in the company of a stunt man; that splendid summer we saw each other constantly, swam apart vividly, built distance as industriously as a developer might build condos, drank need from each other’s hearts. We shared poems, songs, confidences and hate in equal parts, and waged across our bitter borders with the deepest love. If we were bridges we would have joined continents of pain. Think of the money we’d have made in tolls, ye mighty, and despair.
Ever give someone the best of you and they didn’t even notice? It was one of those. I still miss her sometimes.
What I do remember is that a few days earlier the cost of cigarettes in New York, already stupidly high, went up to over $7.00 a pack. Priced out of a 19-year vice — and even if Bloomberg were not a lameass mayor in so many other ways, this would be sufficient reason for me to never, ever, vote for him for any office anywhere so long as I live and help me God — on Friday the 5th of July, 2002, at about 10:00 a.m., I put my last cigarette in my mouth, lit it, and smoked it down to the end of nearly two decades of tobacco.
I still miss it sometimes. But not as much as I miss her.