Set In Brooklyn
She was coming on fast...long, strong
say I was moon struck...watching the moon set over Staten Island on the other
side of the Upper Bay. I imagine it was that proberbial sixth sense that told me
someone was approaching.
a pleasant evening, or rather night...it being around ten. On occasion
I'd walk down to 69th Street pier just to let's say - meditate.
On almost every occasion I'd have the pier to myself at that
hour...especially in winter.
this night however...actually I was a bit surprised. I hadn't noticed her
coming until she was about half-way along the six-hundred foot
skirt swaying in rythm to her walk, her left arm swinging slightly...her
right slung over her shoulder bag, and purse. At first all in sylhouette...the
car headlights, and ferry terminal lights at the head of the pier making it
impossible for any assessment of what vision of lovliness might be approaching
me. Her figure however was pleasing, as was her height...she
was long-stemmed alright.
and with enough moon light left just before setting, I could see she was quite
attractive...and young...near my age. I was just about twenty...I still lived
in Brooklyn...hadn't moved yet to Lawn Guy Land. The year was '51...the
good years....Good enough for someone to not have to worry about being molested
on a dark municipal pier anyways.
"Hi. Come to worship the moon?" I asked.
"As a matter
of fact yes...or something like that...you're leaning against my idol you
know." she said.
I'll have you know this light belongs to me." I said, and laughed...continuing:
"Allow me to remove myself so you can put your foot up, and stand on one leg for
a while...if that's the posture you take."
Isn't that spooky...my name is Doris bye the way."
that is spooky...I've known two other Dorises...both from Brooklyn. The handle
here is Carl." I said.
Carl." she said...continuing: "Be advised you're my first "Carl". I do however
have to break your "Doris chain"...I'm from Staten
or going?" I asked.
taking some night classes in Bay Ridge High...just up the street. I'll be
sailing, sailing to Staten Island once I pay my respect to my
out on the Staten Island Ferry hah?. Since they run seemingly every two minutes,
I guess you don't have to rush." I said.
meditate together." she said...continuing: "C'mon...next to me...lean
back...left foot up."
back against the red enameled structure of the light tower, and instinctively
lifted my right foot, placing it against the structure.
handed." she said.
know?" I asked.
"If you were
right handed...like me, you would have raised your left
long have we known each other?"
minutes, Carl...the moon has set in case you haven't
facing South...the pier ran East, and West. To the North were the lights of
Manhattan...to the South the darkness of the Lower Bay. These were the years
before the "bridge" went in. Dozens of ships lay at anchor off of Stapleton,
Staten Island, and the Bay Rigde mud-flats. Occasionally a tug would tie up at
the end of the dock to take on water...there were steam tugs in those days, or
to "call in" for "orders"...many tugs still didn't have radio-telephones, and
used the shore phones. It was a busy harbor in those days...everything went by
barge, or scow.
I can't say
I was oblivious of Doris right next to me. In fact I was rather blown-away so to
speak. I spent many a lonesome night at this exact spot fantasizing about
something like this...but things like this just don't happen...ever. I looked to
my left, and a bit down just to study this creatures face, which for what I
could make out from the lighting coming from the ferry terminal, and cars, was
quite pretty. Her hair was curly...sort of tight, small curls, and clinched in
the back into a bun of sorts. It looked soft...I would like to feel it just
to see, but would never attempt that. It was black...coal black hair, and
out?" she asked.
ahead...you can feel my hair." she said.
"Oh no." I
my arm, and holding my hand placed it on her hair.
soft...softer than soft. "Wow!" I said.
curly...everyone wonders." she said.
"Yeah...you're a pretty girl Doris. You have to think this rather
strange though, you, and I standing here, leaning here, side by side, and both
doing whatever it is we both do do while out here in the dark at the end of a
pier." I said.
not believing this myself, but then again I'm not going to ruin it by wondering
about it...it is happening, and as strange as it seems, it's beginning to become
real. Let tell you what I get out of this lonesome, off the beaten path,
especially at night, place. Tell me if it isn't exactly what you feel.
When I'm out
here I first take in the smells of the harbor. Yes, it's polluted, but then it
is salty. I then sense the coolness, even in summer, that comes off the water.
Except for the occasional ship, or tugboat whistle, it's quiet-quiet. I listen
for the water lapping at the timbers under the dock. Though dark, it's the
darkness that accentuates the formidable swells that challenge this decrepit
structure...I especially like it out here when it's a bit stormy.
is the fragrance of the dock itself...yes, all that tar, and wood to me is a
fragrance...I just love it.
stand here on the South side looking towards the sea, and darkness...Manhattan
can't offer me the solitude I seek here. I don't meditate per se...I just give
my brain a rest. I let the lights of the passing tugs, and ships occupy all my
Now, I have
to admit, having you near me...sharing this with me...adding yourself to my
consciousness is sublime...yes sublime that another like yourself understands.
I'd be inclined to metamorphose us into one, but that would be what we both are
already except we are two. Let's not become one...how much nicer life is knowing
someone like yourself is somewhere out there. Now it's your turn...tell me why
you do this place."
did, Doris. Now let me walk you to the ferry, but first listen...breath in the
air...take in the serenity...let me..."
me...hold me as tight as you can Carl."
"Oh, not as
tight as I can...I'm a seaman...I'm pretty strong."
tight as I hold you then. I want to cherish this moment forever...the sights,
the sounds, the smells, and you."
facing each other, looking deep into each others eyes, our senses tuned for the
surroundings, plus each other. I put my right arm around her waist and drew her
close as she did also...nothing can describe the sensation. Then our left arms
drew each other in closer...I matched her embrace, burying my face in her
hair...that soft, curly, black hair. There we stood at the foot of the 69th
Street Light Tower at the end of 69th Street Pier, alone in sublime
bliss...ecstacy. If only it were forever, but if only for seconds, it has
lasted forever. A look at each other for the last time, and then she, picking up
her bag, and pocket book that she parked at the base of the tower, started off
for the ferry. We never said a word as walked the creaking timbers to the
watch the ferry sail...my last image of her was of her going into the terminal.
I didn't even get her last name. I never visited the dock