Surrounded by the hulking gray and peach buildings, Downtown Brooklyn’s Family Court and the Metropolitan Transit Authority headquarters, the park feels like one of those abandoned places in a Planet of the Apes movie. It is not a park mothers would take children to. It was built over an underground parking garage. Six lanes of traffic stream by the Adams Street entrance. Inside the park is a playing field with bald dust spots, a row of cherry trees and a privet hedge along the side. We used to come here every day for recess in lower school. You could find treasures in the bushes: broken jewelry, metal watchstraps, chess pieces, screwcaps. There was a sweet smell down there, when you crouched along the edge of the field where the dust met the bushes, rotting cherries, Thunderbird.
Here is the wide subway platform with its white and green tile walls, the gray concrete floor they hose down with chlorine before the evening rush hour. Upstairs, the Transit Park heroin addicts are having breakfast at the donut and hot dog stand. The token booth squats toadlike in the darkness, breathing its hot exhaust, oblivious to the line of people as a mountain of change is meticulously counted. Metal tips of train pass holders tap against the glass, kids hollering “Pass!” as they plunge through the turnstile with enormous book bags and their noise. Jehovah’s Witnesses stand silently in the shadows, waiting, watching. Harry says they prowl the Heights, ringing doorbells, forcing themselves, smiling, into people’s homes and converting the children before their parents come home from work.
“Through the trees we can hear the crackle of the bonfire and the hum of another song. All around us is a pattern of chirping bugs and a scatter of bright stars. We go to Peter and Harry’s cabin. They aren’t even there. The rooms smell like ours, of candy and bug repellant, but they feel different, kind of risky. It is all boys’ socks on the floor. We spy several pairs of floppy white briefs on the floor. Monica catches one with her toe and flicks it at me. We think we hear someone. We are slithering around trying to hide in the sleeping bags. It is this incredible feeling of giddiness, frantically trying to hide when you know you will get caught, except, like in all those games of hide and go seek tag we used to play at her house, getting caught didn’t matter when we got caught, like in R.C.K. when you hope it will be the guy you have just started to like and are hoping he will like you back. Before it gets complicated. We are pretending to be piles of laundry when Mr. Nichols flicks on the light and tells us to scram.”
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Mr. Murphy took us to Windows on the World at the top of the World Trade Center. He let us drink one glass of champagne. The city was spread out all around us. We pressed up to the windows, trying not to annoy the other people too much; giggling in the bathrooms, where an attendant is there with towels and we spritz ourselves with cologne and hairspray.
Going back to Brooklyn, the bridge howls, making this terrific sound that is a combination of wind and wire strings and traffic, punctuated by the clank of wheels hitting the metal plates. When you walk across the bridge, you can see boats below, through the slats, like fallen wads of tissue.
Photo: Truman Moore
My friend just mentioned my book in her blog, which would be like my first bit of media coverage. Which is awesome. And her blog is good and she’s smart and funny.
Here’s a sample:
“I used to be pretty creative. I almost (almost) minored in creative writing, you know. And when you almost minor in creative writing, you learn to write about what you know, to write about your life. That’s what makes it true, even if it’s fiction.”
One of my favorite bloggers interviewed me this weekend.
Here’s a link to the interview: http://wertis.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/cult-fiction-exclusive-interview-with-reclusive-authoress/
Have a question? I don’t promise to answer, but I’ll try.
“What were you like in middle school?” is a hard question. What would you say?