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Moon Set In Brooklyn
69th Street Pier
 
She was coming on fast...long, strong strides.
 
You could 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.
It was 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.
 
Not 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 pier.
 
Her 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.
 
Closer now, 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.
 
"Hello." she said.
"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.
"Your idol? 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."
"It is!  Isn't that spooky...my name is Doris bye the way."
"Doris?" Now that is spooky...I've known two other Dorises...both from Brooklyn. The handle here is Carl." I said.
"Hello Carl." she said...continuing: "Be advised you're my first "Carl". I do however have to break your "Doris chain"...I'm from Staten Island."
 
"Oh...coming or going?" I asked.
"Going...I'm 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 idol."
"Shippin' out on the Staten Island Ferry hah?. Since they run seemingly every two minutes, I guess you don't have to rush." I said.
 
"No...we can meditate together." she said...continuing: "C'mon...next to me...lean back...left foot up."
I leaned back against the red enameled structure of the light tower, and instinctively lifted my right foot, placing it against the structure.
"You're left handed." she said.
"How'd you know?" I asked.
"If you were right handed...like me, you would have raised your left foot."
"Doris...how long have we known each other?"
"About ten minutes, Carl...the moon has set in case you haven't noticed."
 
We were 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 eyebrows.
 
"Checking me out?" she asked.
Laughing, I said: "Yes."
"Go ahead...you can feel my hair." she said.
"Oh no." I said...continuing: "I'd...."
She lifted my arm, and holding my hand placed it on her hair.
It was soft...softer than soft. "Wow!" I said.
"Yes...and 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.
"Carl...I am 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.
Then there is the fragrance of the dock itself...yes, all that tar, and wood to me is a fragrance...I just love it.
I always 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 consciousness.
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."
 
"You just did, Doris. Now let me walk you to the ferry, but first listen...breath in the air...take in the serenity...let me..."
"Yes...hold me...hold me as tight as you can Carl."
"Oh, not as tight as I can...I'm a seaman...I'm pretty strong."
"Please...as tight as I hold you then. I want to cherish this moment forever...the sights, the sounds, the smells, and you."
 
We stood 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 terminal.
 
I didn't 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 again.
 
C.
 
 
 
 
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