It was 1996, and I was dating a poet who lived in Spanish Harlem. I called him Blue, and he called me Miriam and left little notes all over my apartment. I'd go to light a cigarette or open the fridge for juice, and there I'd find--in his scribbled hand--a tiny fading note. I found them for years, actually: Trumpet, or, The sky was crooked, or, This is not a metaphor: my heart is full.
But the night I'm remembering we were in his apartment, his tiny, dirty apartment. It was late October, and I was wearing that old army jacket, and we were sitting on a futon mattress on the floor trying to break up. He was crying; I was sopping up pizza grease with a paper napkin. You, he said, are the coldest person I have ever known. (This haunted me for years. Am I cold? I'd ask people, particularly after wild displays of warmth.)
And then, suddenly, in the midst of one of our painful long silences, we heard something coming from outside. The whole city was going wild. Horns honked, and music played, and we ran to the window and pushed it open and let the cold air rush in. The streets were filled with people celebrating. "What the hell happened?" my poet yelled.
We were lost, two flights up, wild-haired in the wind. A man looked up at us. "The Yanks just won the World Series, you #**##%! idiots!" Before we knew it, we were out in the street, holding hands and laughing and the whole city was on fire. Those moments were so magical--so alive and spirited--that we stayed together for a couple of months--me and the poet--and while we never did manage to fall in love, it was that night that I fell so hard for New York that I knew that I'd never want to leave.