Left the Grand sometime after noon yesterday and wandered toward Central Square. By myself walking, with men behaving like men can, and Nate and Jen yelling to me as they drive by.
Hoped to find Suzy at the Phoenix Landing, then anybody I knew at the Field. Realizing after a while with my Murphy's that yes, I was alone. Irish boys playing pool in the back room, me half expecting a recognizable face to plod into the room. No, my nearest friend would be the silent man several stools down who finished three pints in the time I had my one. Even the boys at the corner talking about writing seemed more distant.
Tried to get something to eat but everything looked too big. Took the T to Harvard Square. Walked into the Greenhouse, walked out. To Woolcott's, where too many new knitters were pawing single skeins of extravagant yarns, asking the inevitable "how many skeins will I need for a scarf?"
Next door, the Red Line, nearly empty at the bar and with the football game on. I stop in for a bowl of soup and another pint. Wasting time, it going too slowly... order desert and scotch, move down the bar away from the business man and toward the English Premier League match the bartender has turned on. The match ends in a draw. I finish what is before me and although this bar makes me feel a little less vulnerable in my loneliness I can find no other reason to stay.
Pack myself up, out the door and who is there but Joel Sloman! Back in for coffee for me and a martini for him. Talk talk and I lay myself out more than I meant to but it is so nice to see Joel after being so alone for those hours. Happy it was Joel I ran into. Happy Joel is Joel.
To Wordsworth for the reading, met back up with James and the crowd. Xtina read wonderfully, I would like to read what she read again, or hear it again. Joel was as expected, shattering, nearly, his stuff is so good. Wanda Phipps was lovely as well but I have to admit to being particularly affected by Joel and Xtina since they both mean so much to me.
At the end dinner with Ben and Zac loud, at John Harvard's, with a somewhat surly server and mediocre food. Good company, though. Happy to see them.
Overwhelmed by the day and it welling up inside me. On the way to the car I feel nearly like falling apart. So much on the line and impossible to notice, anticipation unseen. A city can make me vulnerable if I am not ready for it.