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Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin' . . .

Me and Dan, 1978.
(Notice we have the same haircut.)

Almost every day for the past three weeks, I have been riding the same bus from New York to a hospital just outside the city to be with my brother, Dan. Not since I lived in Coney Island with The Boys have I spent so much time on public transportation.

Then, I spent several hours a day riding the subway from the last stop in Brooklyn to various points in Manhattan. My hour or so morning commute afforded me enough time to create exciting and different looks every day. I could apply a full face of makeup that often included gluing fake jewels around my eyes and a bindi on my forehead. I could twist my hair into tiny bundles and bind them with multi-colored elastic bands. I was 23. I could get away with it.

The long subway ride also gave me the chance to do a variety of luxurious activities. I could read whole chapters at a time. I could eat a full meal in one sitting or listen to an entire mixtape. It was donated time. Free time. I had no choice but to do interesting things to pass that great span of traveling time.

The bus ride I take now takes about a half hour, but it gives me something I haven't since the days of Coney -- designated free time. Sometimes I read a bit or listen to my iPod.

But usually, I just look out the window and think.

Also during this new quiet time, I get to scan a vastly different vista from my normal reality. There is a span of northern New Jersey thrown up from the dark void that snakes from the middle belly of Manhattan -- the Lincoln Tunnel. One of the most exhilirating views of the city is just beyond the first bend out of the tunnel. And every time, I point to a spot between the new Hearst Building and the Worldwide Plaza and gleefully say to myself, "That's where I live!"

The landscape just beyond the tunnel is generally industrial and rundown. A place where T.S. Eliot would be orgasmically inspired. I get to see hints of places that before, were only names on a map: Secaucus, Hoboken, Newark.

The skyline of New York City rests comfortably just out of reach, assuring me of my home. A home that, in the event of severe disaster, I could walk to if need be.

Me and Dan, 1979
(Note: We will have the same haircut for another four years.)

My brother, Dan, is a pilot and one of the bus stops before we get to the hospital is Newark International Airport. The first few days that I rode out to see him, I closed my eyes as we drove through the airport. It hurt too much to consider that I might never again get to sit in a cockpit next to my brother as he confidently negotiates the magic of flight. I thought I would never be able to look at a plane again without wanting to weep.

It is three weeks later and Dan has cleared some seriously scary hurdles. His health has improved enough that he has been put on the list for a heart transplant. We are holding on to the outside hope that his heart will continue to strengthen enough that this won't have to be the route to go. However, even if it is, I have learned to hope for the best because the best is always possible.

We will be having a low sodium, low cholesterol Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital this year and I am thankful for that. I am thankful, in fact, for every moment of donated time.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 4:13 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 4:13 PM   |