When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This Used To Be My Playground

For the last I dunno how long...probably back when I lived in Harlem and took my first walkabout to the old neighborhood, I've been dreaming about what it would be like to go back into the building that I was born to. On Riverside Drive. Recently the dreams have been falling consecutively. They were driving me quite mad. In the dreams things were always in horrible shape, as if they were telling me not to pursuit this dream in reality. The dreams showed horrible stairs, rickety elevators, pollution and filth everywhere. But in the dreams, I never quite made it to my apartment door. Only a few times, but not everytime.

Well today, after I blogged my entry while at work, my head was still aswim with turmoil. Grizz, your comment was greatly appreciated and I am going to email you. I do want to hear your voice. You'd be the second person who knows this much about me that I will actually "speak" to. I look forward to this experience. If I cry any time during our convo, you'll forgive me, yah?

But I hadn't seen the Grizz-comment when I was driving back home from work. I had my since-morning headache (still have it, in fact) and I thought "maybe it's a tumor. Maybe this is my last day on earth." and I wasn't afraid. Not even sad for the lost opportunities. I was just resigned to it. It's like, whatever. Goodbye struggle. Like I dodged a bullet, actually. The bullet of sexuality.

anyway, since I was not quite dead yet, I decided that today, I'm going back to that building. I'm going back to Riverside Drive. I'm getting past the security doors and I'm going IN.


I will say something here that I am not saying there in the photo collection.

EDIT: I creeped myself out by posting the name of the molester. So I removed it. I guess some truths are a little too stark, even forty years later. Anyway, that's the door behind which everything changed.


GrizzBabe said...

What a lovely building! It has such character. And so does the neighborhood. I'm sorry that it also carries such horrible memories, because it seems like a great place.

Trixie said...

Good on ya for visiting it again!

Alan said...

That's the rub, Grizz. The memories of the molestation aren't horrible, and I don't think that's uncommon. It was sexual, and we all know sex feels good. It's my thinking brain that has to tell me what happened behind that door was wrong. That 6 years old is too young to be exposed to sexual experiences. And that the guy who did it to me was a criminal.

But I do love that building. I love it. And if there was a way to live there again, I would.

It was a joy to go back in, and take the elevator again, and go down the steps again, and walk the hallway again--to look at the original tile mosaics under my feet--with all the original ironwork of the staircase rails and the stone steps, and to discover the garbage elevator again with that ancient floor indicator!

It was wonderful. It was magical and I loved it.

Childhood Bud asked me the following;
What do you think has been the trigger for these dreams you've been having about your old home.
I think it's just this continual craving to be comforted and held by something or someone familiar and loving. My babysitter was the only person in my past who I remember as loving. Not Dad or Mom. And that apartment is where my babysitter took care of me day in, day out, from when I was old enough to have memories until my mother took me out of the city. She'd be an overnighter more times than not while my father ran the streets and my mother worked and lived at her job at Rockland Pyschiatric Hospitial. That apartment is where my best memories exist. Those hallways. That staircase. That lobby. That playground. That city.

Why do you think you were drawn to find the door of the man who molested you?

A reality test, I think. Did it really happen? I wanted to see my old apartment more than find his, but I knew one came with the other and I wasn't going to avoid it. I thought of you guys in fact. When I knew I was going to post the pictures, I wanted to show you everything.

Would knocking on that door give you a chance to find closure?

Doubtful. The guy was older than me by at least 10 years.

Yipes. He could still be alive, couldn't he? He'd be in his fifties or sixties. I swear I hadn't thought of it before I started typing this answer. Maybe he was twenty years older than me at the time. But the chances that he still lives there are phenomal, aren't they? I never once thought to knock on that door.

I did think to knock on my own door though. I clearly heard Spanish people speaking inside. If they didn't speak English, I'd have been out of luck. But I'd pay money to go inside my old apartment, I swear I would.

Scott said...

Not much to say, just, ouch. That's a lot to deal with.

Cyber D said...

There are real monsters in this world. It takes a type of courage that has never been tested in me to confront such demons. I commend you.