Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Morning Arrivals

1:28 AM One World Trade Center, New York, New York, USA

The party was in that artist's space on the north side of the 67th floor and I'd walked through the late summer storm all the way from the Canal Street Station on the BMT because it hadn't been raining when we'd crossed the Manhattan Bridge and I hadn't considered that possibility. I was soaked: t-shirt and jeans stuck to my skin, water squishing out of my adidas. The elevator up to the 44th floor skylobby was cold, and I shivered. I noticed the trail of water I left on the polished floor as I changed to the 'local' for the rest of the climb.

The music shook the walls when I stepped out onto the floor. Flashing light leaked into the central corridor. There was a girl I desperately wanted to be with inside. And at least two guys I did not want to see at all.

5:23 AM Craigovan Bridge, Derry, Ireland

Behind the sky was just beginning to be touched with the sun now dawning over the Netherlands. Ahead it was a pure dark backdrop to the pinprick lights of the bridge and the city. I had left Belfast too late and too depressed and probably a bit too snoggered for my own good, but I'd kept the music roaring and my eyes open and the almost vacant A-6 hadn't thrown me anything I couldn't handle.

When I curved through the rotary just east of the Foyle I already felt like I was home, but I didn't want to show up just yet. So I crossed, drove through the Ferryquay Gate and up the hill. I parked at the Diamond, and sat on the car. The war memorial seemed reproachful, the streetlamps blocked the stars.

8:23 AM Dublin Airport, Dublin, Ireland

The flight from Chicago had crossed a cloudless night. I had watched the cities and forests of North America run beneath in the fading evening light, had noted the tiny spots of light that mark Canada's Atlantic coast. I thought I woke up at one point and saw a ship crossing the ocean, the smallest flare of illumination in a vast, deep universe. Or maybe I dreamed that. It doesn't matter.

Ireland glittered as morning struck the plane, the Shannon silver against the fabric of the land which held it. Only Donegal smothered itself under tufted grey. I knew she would be there at the airport. We'd said we'd meet them by the giant winged pig by the car park. I thought that suggested many things. The line for those with EU passports went this way. The line for others was over there.

11:41 AM Indian Trails Bus Station, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

I'd taken the first plane from LaGuardia to Metro. American Airlines. "Fly the American Way." Everyone else was wearing a suit and carrying briefcases. I had a backpack and a pillow and had checked a dufflebag. It was just about everything. The stewardess thought my nervousness was about flight and was very nice. At Detroit I claimed the duffle and found the bus going north and west. Not Greyhound or even Trailways, but 'Indian Trails.'

East Lansing emerged out of an empty landscape. The tops of the football stadium visible long before any other object save huge chimneys. It was the end of the summer and the air was hot and full of dust. I felt myself start to sweat as I lifted everything onto my shoulders. Around me others were being be greeted by old friends or family. And still others walked off as if they knew where they were going.

copyright 2008 by Ira Socol

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