A Blemish in My Love Affair with New York City

Litbreak Review 2021

Me and Lenny took the train from the Bridgeport projects to New York and after we tried to bargain a new camera down to half price at 42nd St. Photo

and got tossed

We wandered the city heading towards Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree

While I carried my ancient 35mm Voigtlander stopping frequently to take pictures

When I spotted my only wealthy relatives across the street

My great Aunt Rhea, her rich husband, the unfriendly Uncle Joe, and their rotten son a year my junior

And while I hated him for always pointing out the hand-me-downs I was wearing were his from the year before I told Lenny I was crossing to see my aunt and uncle and would be back shortly

Smiling, I walked up to them and said hello and they said they didn’t know who I was

And

I told my Aunt Rhea her brother Isaac was my grandfather and told them the names of my mother and her sisters

And

They insisted they were going to Radio City Music Hall and didn’t have time to talk with someone they didn’t know

And my Uncle took out a $2 bill and tried to hand it to me and I wouldn’t take it and

Again, told them who I was

And finally, we parted

And

When I got home I told my mother what happened and as always, she believed I made stories up

And that night

She told her sister, Libby, in their nightly phone call

Who asked to talk to me and I told her the story

And she said she’d call my Aunt Rhea and get to the bottom of this

And that was a long-distance call so it was meaningful

Aunt Rhea said she and her husband and son were right where I saw them at the same time

But

No boy came over to talk to them or of course she would have been friendly and I must be mistaken

So

I’ve told the family and friends this story so many times over the years and I can see the three of them in their finery across the street in my mind’s eye

But now I don’t know if I crossed over and talked to them or not

And

I don’t know if I imagined their reaction or it really happened

so, it’s one of those things I’ll never know the answer to.

*****

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