76. On Brooklyn Bridge

HOLLY WENT INTO THE witness protection program on a Friday, just over a year ago. Frankly at the time it came as a huge relief. She’d been caught with some weed and agreed to become an informer with a wire. Everything had gone as planned. For once the cops got their man – or their men, as it turned out in this case. They hadn’t given her much of a choice about it, but because the dealers knew who she was she’d agreed to testify on condition she was put on the program. We’d been dating for a couple of years but we still lived apart. I’d stuck by her the whole time, but I wasn’t willing to move to the Midwest, far from my family and friends, without a job, just for the sake of keeping the relationship going. Frankly I didn’t see how it would survive those kinds of conditions. I needed to stay in New York – I told her that and she took it a little too well, I thought, which made me glad I’d decided in favor of not going. The night before she left we had a going-away party for her. Holly wanted to invite as many people as possible, really make it a big night, but not that many people made it to the bar on the Lower East Side she’d chosen. She wanted to walk home across the bridge, so we walked across the bridge. We were tired and drained and curt with each other, mostly, but halfway across the bridge she threw her arms around mine and kissed me on the mouth. It was something she hadn’t done in a long time. We kissed like that like two teenagers for an hour or more, suspended on an iron cloud above the dark river between the distant galaxies of Brooklyn and Manhattan, egged on by the horns of the occasional passing car, and by the time we’d finished kissing she said, what are our chances of finding a cab out here at this hour? And sure enough in under a minute we were being driven back to her sublet, where everything was packed into boxes and the only light was a porcelain white light spilling in from the street, and we fucked on a big bright beach towel, and in the morning when she opened her eyes she looked into mine and said, You’re making it very hard to go. We stayed sprawled on that beach towel til nightfall, and when I left I said, How will I find you? Just wait, she said, I'll make a sign, and here I am, still waiting.