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if I can make it there

published: 2012-10-08

White baguette, cheese, chocolate, caramel and a latte. This was my lunch. While in the supermarket a few hours later, my legs went weak, my hands shook and I had to hold on to a rack for fear I would black-out.
This event took me back a few years, to New York. I was 24-years-old and violently in love with a handsome Dutchman. He must have been 30 at the time. He had this air of greedy ambition about him, the convincing confidence of a young man his age. He was going to make it there, in New York. He suggested we meet for coffee. I was in an over-concentrated high for the entire duration of our rendezvous.
During a walk through the East Village he suddenly collapsed. We were outside a Deli. He grabbed on to me, the same way I hung on to that rack in the supermarket this afternoon. But it didn’t stop there, his knees buckled. His legs seemed really thin as they pushed up against his chinos. He looked like a desperate, old man. He was pale. And there was saliva on his chin. His hands shook.
He whispered something along the lines of insulin shots. Acting on intuition, I left him to sit on the sidewalk, ran into the Deli and bought a Coke and a Mars bar. Meanwhile, people were saying, “call 911.” Nobody dared touch him, they seemed scared of him. I got down on my knees and fed the Mars bar to him. He ate the chocolate in a way I’ve seen hungry militaries do in movies. The Coke trickled down his chin. After two minutes he was up on his feet again.
His clothes were a mess, but for the rest it was as if nothing had happened. We walked another block. He said he’d enjoyed himself and it was time to go home. No coffee at my place? Nope, no coffee at your place. But he wouldn’t mind the phone numbers of those UN contacts I had in New York at the time. The contact specifics of people who made things happen. Somehow, I don’t know people like that anymore. I think that’s a good sign. I think.
I gave him everything he wanted, of course I did, and I went home thanking the universe. I was his savior. Surely, he’d love me now. Hadn’t I seen him at his most vulnerable? Hadn’t I loved him still? He needed me, didn’t he see?
He called me the next day. He said, “you handled that very maturely. Thank you.”
I never heard from him again. The contacts I put him in touch with did though.
Today, I stood there in the supermarket thinking about him. Last thing I heard of him was that he married a beautiful woman from South America. They have two kids, boy, girl. And he still lives there, in New York. On the upper West side. He made it.

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