(Photos by Bald Punk – Bryant Park)
The other evening I was in Bryant Park listening to my iPod and daydreaming. I had a venti iced-coffee from the Starbucks that’s across the street on 42nd and 6th Ave. I’m not embarrassed to admit that when I chill like that my brain waves are probably close to nil.
If someone I know surprised me, I’d mutter for a few seconds before my thoughts could come together. The reason I’m letting you know this is because it was during that moment that someone “I didn’t know” shocked me.
I was sitting at a table that gave me a view through a dizzying array of tree branches. Beyond the rows of trees was the main branch of the New York Public Library. It’s a marble, Beaux-Arts style building. When I looked aside I saw this guy with an unkempt beard, smiling at me like we were friends. It was probably about a five second gap between noticing-and zeroing-in on him.
Behind him was a horse and carriage, and he was wearing knee-high boots caked with mud. The carriage was well-used, seeming to be made of driftwood. Many of the ones seen in and about Central Park are painted bright white or are a lustrous black.
“I’m the Memory Giver,” the man said excitedly. “I brought you a gift.”
He had such a daft smile, my first thought was that he was going to drop his pants. I’m sorry, but I think wacky stuff like that. Plus it’s NYC, and I was still in a fog.
I rubbed my head and kept blinking. His carriage seemed to be wedged between the trees. The area about him was clouded and hid the trunks. The image didn’t make sense.
“Where the hell did you come from?” I cried.
“The past,” he said with conviction.
I leaned closer. I couldn’t believe what I now saw. Wooden row homes were set in a thin fog behind him and the carriage. They looked like nothing I’d ever seen in NYC. The Memory Giver finally had my full attention.
He made a fist with his right hand and lifted it as if to show me something. His fist sprung open. For a harrowing second or two I was someplace else. There was no longer stone blocks, but dirt beneath my feet. Thick black and gray clouds from a raging fire swept past me.
It took a full moment before I could be certain I was back in Bryant Park.
The Memory Giver was gone, yet in the corner of my mind, I saw soldiers fighting amidst clouds of violent-colored smoke.
Over the next few days, images gathered in my head. Now they’re so real, they terrify me from time to time.
Part of me doesn’t want to commit the vision to words, but I promise that I will in the next day or so.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Seventeen – September 2009