From the parking lot of Jacob Riis
park and public beach
we can see the heavy traffic going back into Brooklyn,
over the bridge that eventually becomes Flatbush Avenue.
We are fleeing a familiar foe: thunder, high-winds,
and unrelenting, ever-pervasive sand.
By the time we make it back to the Silverado, though,
it feels downright pleasant. And you suggest we sit
on the tailgate for a little while.
(Perhaps because you can’t tolerate traffic or because
I was grumpy at the early exit without even a dip in the sacred saltwater.)
Our four neighbors (in a Subaru) had a similar idea.
They are drinking beer and playing music
and one of them is doing yoga.
Just Triangle Pose and Warriors I and II,
the ones you can do in a bikini and flip flops,
avoiding the placement of palms on hot pavement.
Meanwhile, you set up a camp chair
and I spread a towel on the tailgate; we crack beers from the cooler
and watch the traffic. I begin to eavesdrop on the neighbors,
but then they start talking to us.
“Our car died. Do you have jumper cables?”
We do, of course. This is your truck, and we could
have given them a first aid kid, or a shovel, or even
your emergency stash of beans (if they were starving.)
We learn our neighbors live in Bushwick.
The only male (who asked for the cables) is in a band.
His girlfriend (the one doing yoga), is an artist
but they have real jobs too (“of course,” they say)
and it’s not a terrible way to live.
They thank us too many times for the jump,
then resign to join the procession homeward.
Afterwards, we go back to the tailgate.
And you examine the place where their car was,
now just a slice of asphalt between two white lines.
“How many parking spaces do you think our apartment would take up?”
“Oh, 4 or 5 for sure. If you include the bathroom.”
“Are you sure? Think about it. How long is the couch?”
I am silent for a while, considering this frame of reference.
“Okay. Three.” I decide.
You quickly agree. You already knew the answer.
“Three parking spaces. We live in three parking spaces.”
But it’s not a terrible way to live.
Caroline (Higgins) Nyczak (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.