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  • Dear Leapin' Lizard:

    Where ever you are I know that there is music. I know that your body now must be swaying, your toes tapping, your hands pouncing against the ivory keys of the piano, the songs from your throat, mellifluous songs, like a flare in the dark, even now, I am still stumbling in these musty corridors, these memories, always returning to a certain time, a certain point, sharpened like a lead pencil.

    There are skyscrapers. Knives. Slicing the sky. There is you in your white tuxedo. Crooning a Perry Como song. At the piano. A Steinway. Outside. On the terrace. The music is muffled. There is the clink of wine glasses. Wine dark night. I see your back. Your shoulders scrunched. The swiftness of your body. Jerking along with the music. A jazzy tempo.

    You are framed like a painting. Through a wall of glass. The penthouse seems so warm and cozy. Glowing. Golden. I feel woozy.

    Walking home. That night. I am delirious. Midtown is a blur. The neon glare of Times Square is dull in comparison to the brightness inside of me. I have your telephone number scrunched inside my pocket. I feel myself tap dancing. The world is marvelous. I hear that song by Ella Fitzgerald --what a difference a day makes.

    But you never called and I lost the cocktail napkin in which you slurred your name and number.

    What a difference a day makes!

    I am walking along the pier. The rusty toothache of dilapidation along the Hudson. The putrid waters. The grimy seagulls, their mocking alto voices. I am still young and these moments still reverberate inside of me, the ache is like the sound of a telephone ringing and ringing in an empty room.

    New York teems with millions of people. I thought I would never see you again. But synchronicity defeats these odds.

    A week later: I am on the steps of the New York public library, near one of the lion statutes, and I see you, there, walking with a jaunty stride, wearing a yellow ascot which looks preposterous on most people except you.

    There will be other moments between us, there will be mornings of splendor, the languor of coffee in bed, you, singing in the shower . There will also be nights of anguish, nights of slamming doors, recrimination, betrayal, forgiveness. Our story will neither be remarkable nor original, just another tale of two men, loving and strifing in a big big city, two strangers who conjoin for a moment in time before returning to their separate solitudes.

    And yet after all these years, your imprints remain stamp upon me. This watermark.

    And so, many years later, that day, when I heard the news you had died, it hit me, like a boulder, a stone swallowed whole. I felt this numbness in my limbs.

    And I remember walking outside in Soho, the cobbled streets, a light sprinkle of snow twitching against my nose, how strange your absence felt even though I had not seen you for many years, still, your presence in this world was a reliable landmark. And now that you were gone, the world seemed more inscrutable - much lonelier .

    I wish i could return to that night at that party. I want to walk up to you right after you finish singing that song--what a difference a day makes- I want to boldly kiss you in the lips in front of all those preening society matrons and I want to hold you tightly, in the spectacle of that room, never, never letting you go.


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