News flash. In keeping with the karaoke mood, Diana and I were singing, My Eyes Adored You (So Close and Yet So Far), and there, in front of us, another tragedy, the event of which was substantially over, its after-effects reverberating into mere everyday occurrence, UNLESS YOU TELL ME OTHERWISE. WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
We were experiencing the transitory stillness of 5PM Saturday becoming sunny and warmer, walking along Irving Place to the car to go to Connecticut again, this time to Greenwich to attend a piano concert of children, ages 8-10, the students of one particular piano teacher, one particular student being Diana’s nephew.
The last time, last summer, (June 6, 2002) we were going to Liam’s wedding, a similarly radical separation from our day-to-day existence. Driving along route 54 we came upon a doe, its side smashed by the front of a car zipping round the bend. At first stunned, it popped into life to run wild, frothing, bleeding, red innards escaping from it rump, bashing walls and fences, finding its way down the valley to the shade and the water, Diana ready to take in the entirety of the deer’s internal disruptions. We prolonged our experience of the agony, basically until the deer disappeared down the hill never to be seen again. The other car drivers assured us they would call the ambulance. We were late for the wedding. With much difficulty, we I extricated ourselves.
Diana entered the mind of the deer.
Why aren’t people more careful? It’s a hot afternoon. The deer are coming from the forest, crossing the street to gain access to the lake. The poor deer become so thirsty then, pow, (This reminds me now of the fantastic moment in “my cousin vinny,” when Marisa Tomei relates to the deer encountering the deer hunter.)
In the months that followed, Diana and I acquired and developed various ailments from the physical and emotional strain we assumed from the event. It looked as if we had finally recovered when…
This time, Saturday, May 17th, 2003, eleven and a half months later, as we were walking to the car, we came upon a pretty girl who had just smashed a glass menu frame, a table, some flowerpots, having bent the wrought iron fence enclosing the outdoor dining of the cursedly stupefying Sal Anthony’s. Yes, it’s 55 Irving Place and the unknown girl dropped herself off the fourth floor window ledge of a colonial historic building with floor to ceiling bay windows enclosed by more of that historic wrought iron fencing.
The New York Times reported the very next day about the Street of Irving Place and its history. It’s Samuel Ruggles Place, but he felt like naming it after Washington Irving while he was, in 1830, developing Gramercy Park into the delightful enclave that it remains to this day.
It’s as if her gesture of dropping in on siesta time, as an obscene heap, without a care for her blue underwear, was a non-issue after the fact, and before the fact she was apparently dangling her legs over the ledge, not thereby garnering the dramatic attention associated with people trying to stop her, but to some lucky recipient, perhaps a 75 year old smoker suddenly obscenely rejuvenated with his 24 year old girl heart, she was a harvest.
Bellevue can bring her back to life, and they did, pow, to keep those organs alive, awaiting transplant permission from her parents. Just her brain was dead.
The real monster falls crashing to the floor, gets up and walks away, and is he or she ever mad!
After the piano recital, we went to Cabrini, then to Bellevue in search of her (Saturday evenings at the Emergency Rooms tend to be quiet.).
That night I dreamt that rather than stopping us at the door, the nurse let us in. Ms. Unknown was brain dead, all right, smiling and chatting away, saying hello and, I am NOT a baby, as she slithered off the bed to the floor, her reddened membranes exposed as she shrunk smaller and smaller. The nurse came in, to reattach life support, reminding us again, her brain is dead.
Diana entered the mind of the girl. She was so alone sitting indecisively on the ledge, her legs dangling over, and then, after smashing the table, the plant pots and the wrought iron fence, people came from everywhere to surround her.
The police and ambulance quietly arrived within 10 minutes of our arriving there, blocking traffic and dispersed. A street-fair along Third Avenue was winding down. We rushed through the traditional traffic of I95 to get to Greenwich. The Sal Anthony maitre ‘d suggested we send condolences care of the super at 55 Irving Place, apt 1A.