Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I was wandering Manhattan looking for something to do. At the same time I remembered days when I’d go alone to a park, maybe Washington Square, and get caught up in a group of people who’d sort of adopt me and let me hang out. I wondered if I was imposing. Then it happened again and now I was upstairs in someone’s apartment for a party. It was a pretty big crowd of hip young people. I sat on the end of a couch drinking a beer. Suddenly I perceived a terrible commotion beside me. I got up reluctantly and looked back to find a man smashing through the dividing wall between the couch and the kitchen with a sledgehammer, inches from where my head had been. I could see now that there were two living spaces here, and the other was occupied by malevolent sadists. They had a deep, doubtless hatred for us in our space. They wanted to mock us, bully us, do us harm. A band began to play. One of the people who lived on my side of the apartment told us to try to ignore them, relax, get into the music. I walked around the space with others from my group. “There’s safety in numbers,” someone said. It was a brave act of defiance to continue the party.  Every time we passed by the other group we were taunted, shoved. One of them came up to me and gave me one of my own credit cards to show how easy it had been to pickpocket me. I felt around for my wallet. I was pretty sure that’s all he took and he’d just wanted to scare me. Finally I couldn’t stand it any more. I went to get my coat. I couldn’t get to the door without passing near the evil ones. I hoped they wouldn’t notice me, wouldn’t keep me from leaving. I managed to slip away. I walked through the streets of Greenwich Village, not knowing where I was going, looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t followed. I felt my phone in the pocket of my coat and was relieved it was still there. Did I have my sunglasses? I pulled them out and they were actually just an old pair of readers, bent and twisted like they’d been partially melted. Then I took out my phone and saw that it was someone else’s phone. The home screen indicated the time in Chicago. I tried to imagine how I’d explain all this to S. And then I woke up, startled and relieved that it had only been a dream.