tales of a girl in the city

mars 26, 2006


I have gone alone to the symphony dozens of times. I spend intermission strolling around Alice Tully Hall, picking up the bits of conversations people let fall.

I like to watch the old women who come in pairs. They move together in clouds of perfume, silver-haired. Strange angels. Their husbands are dead maybe, or maybe unwilling: "You just go, Norma. Those damn seats kill my knees."

I like to smile at the school groups--the one girl in the bunch who begged to wear last year's Christmas dress (though it is March. Though Mom said it was too fancy). I was that girl on those field trips, in my black puffed-sleeve satin. I angled to sit next to Andy Morter or Nick Terrahboi, hoping to be noticed in my Christmas dress. Hoping that, away from school, in this new, chandeliered setting, some ray of light might hit me that could not penetrate Mr. Richardson's math-room window: She is pretty. I had never noticed before, but she is pretty. And everything would change for me.

Most things have changed for me already, but last night one more thing did. I went to the symphony and took you along. Not to dazzle. Not to wish to be spot-lighted or seen. Just to have you there next to me. To listen to it in your own way.