This is for this weeks 3WW Totally forgot to put it in! Me bad
I always start the story of Jeffrey and me with the day we met. That sounds normal until I remember I never start at the beginning. But that was one of the ten most incredible days of my life–and 50% of it happened before we met.
The allure of May 20, 1979 is simple. It was an incredibly beautiful day in the city everybody loved to hate. New York was supposed to be dangerous . I was out at all hours everywhere and my wallet was stolen once. I had just cashed my paycheck and everybody in my office pitched in to replace it. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else though I dreamed of a beach house.
I walked from my apartment at 5 East 63rd Street, one of the best addresses in New York though the building itself had and would see better days to Folk City, the club that Marilyn, Robbie and Joe were soon to buy. Folk City was on 3rd Street near 6th Avenue then. It was dark and tobacco stained. With a bar filled with talking people. Peggy the lesbian bartender who married a man gave certain friends of the house triples, though Robbie refuses to believe that. I could hold my liquor. But never there. The Roches didn’t write “Face down at Folk City“(read the lyrics. First time I heard the song I cried from joy) because girls were sober.*
It’s easy to say Marilyn, Robbie, Joe and I are old friends. Truth, the unvarnished truth is always simpler or more complicated. When we were very young Robbie and I had been briefly married. We weren’t meant to be spouses. I had run to Europe to start my life over in 1971. I came home not because I missed him though I suppose I did but because I had a premonition a healthy friend would die. Together we couldn’t figure out how to warn him and JohnnyB died as I became engaged against my better judgement and married a few months later.
By 1979 we were long divorced and had become friends. I wanted Robbie to marry Marilyn; and I wanted to fall in love. It’s hard for many people to understand that I wished them every happiness. I liked, and like, them. Marilyn was perfect for Robbie in ways that I’m not. The once overbearing love I had felt for him had long ago turned to love for a friend. I’m human; I wanted what I saw they had. And I saw it before many other people. If I’m devoting too much time to this, I want it out of the way. It’s only important to the story because it took place in Folk City and Robbie played a part in Jeffrey and I meeting. It’s not even absurdest or ironic humor but truly funny.
Be careful what you wish for had been my motto since I began college eleven years earlier. I should have remembered it as I walked through the various districts Manhattan had then. The sky was a vivid blue; a perfect blue. It was hot but not humid. I was wearing new jeans and stopped at Macy’s to buy some Willie Smith clothes. I didn’t yet know why I went out of my way to buy clothes but they would play a part in the story also.
Then I walked through the flower district so gay in every sense. From his perch on a human’s shoulder, a parrot asked if I was happy and did I desire sex. Yes, I thought, but not with you. I was happy though had you asked me I would have analyzed the thought to death. I tended to over-analyze every facet of my life.
Was it Lucinda William’s debut at Folk City? I’m not sure though I have post upon post, unpublished article upon article about that day; the last truly uncomplicated day of my life.
*In the 90’s I saw the Roches perform at Steven Talkhouse in South Beach. They asked how many people in the audience had been in Folk City’s basement–kind of infamous. I didn’t raise my hand but almost everybody else in the audience did. The people I was with looked at me as if I were crazy, but I didn’t want to be part of a pretend party.