pretty girls

Just before sunset, when a squint can’t find its way onto the streets of Manhattan, is my favorite time of day to photograph people and neon.  Last night, while I was in it, noticing glowing signs and traffic lights, best coffee, and NY Lottery, I saw a young woman crying on the street.  Her hair was twisted into a pile of wisps off her face, and the tears were falling casually, like a sun shower.  I heard her coax her dog across the intersection using a sweet voice one reserves for infants, the kind I hadn’t expected to hear from someone marred with tears.  I surveyed her face for tears after hearing her happy voice; they were still falling.  Sometimes she wiped them off; mostly she left them there. She looked beautiful.

I stopped walking and watched as she crossed the street, checking to see if perhaps she’d cry more, reveal a heave in her body.  Had someone died, not called, broken her heart?  Was it loss or rejection?  She noticed I’d stopped, must have seen my watching her, and she decided to watch me back.  Walking my dog, watching her walk hers, I wondered if she would wave.  Instead she stood still, a reflection.  I found a squint and stood in awe. 

I felt loss and rejection at an intersection at my favorite time of day.  I stood at the crossroad unsure of my next move, or hers.  I worried for my future. 



  1. I don't know what it is about that time of day when the sun sets behind the horizon. The sunlight becomes softer, colors seem more luminous, lines become more defined. It could be a simple as watching sun rays shoot out from behind a towering, dark storm cloud or as complex as critiquing a piece of art. Sunsets are a days' grand finale.

  2. Dude, that was nice. There is a novel written by Blanchot, a French post-structuralist, that when transalated is over 800 or more pages. The entire thing is about a guy in a building looking down at someone wondering if he waved or saw him, the same type of stuff in your blog entry. I had to offer this bizarre comment, since it sort of says to me that my reading of that Blanchot book was not in vein. Perhaps you are a sort of Blanchot, Kant, Freud, Derrida, Lacon, Foucault type thinker and had no idea? Please advise…

  3. We are actually in the two-week period in New York when we have the most fantastic sunsets (in my opinion, at least). Something about the rotation of the earth, but the sun sets for about two weeks directly down the cross-town streets. Check it out for yourself — you can walk block to block (or as I like it, running around the Resevoir in the Park), and the sun is setting directly (and identically) down each cross-town street.

  4. i spent some time this weekend watching her sleep- solemn, content. sunday, very early in the am i left for a spell and upon my return she was not only awake but gone. i became anxious and concerned. i felt loss and rejection at an intersection of my favorite part of the day.

  5. I could never cry in public like that. And if I saw someone watching me I would probably run away all spastically like Phoebe on Friends.

  6. It's important you write about this. I've felt that before. You see, most of the time, we walk around only being half-honest with ourselves. But in those teary times, when you're actually reconciling yourself, there's strength there. As though the person crying has more power becasue they are getting over something or getting past something. They are advancing past the rest of us. And when you saw this girl, and she stopped to look back at you. I think you felt that. It's hard not to look inward, when you wittness someone else crying. As for your future, that's in the doing and it's OK to worry.

  7. In 1998 I was on the streets of London for some reason or another, and looking across the street I noticed a guy and a girl, about my age (I was 18), and they were both tearsoaked. They would embrace, he would whisper into her ear — quickly, feverishly, as if he couldn't get the words out quickly enough. They held each other for the longest time as tears streamed down both their faces. They finally released, he made to go toward a bus, and they fell into each other's arms again. Over and over.

    I stopped watching because I'd been staring for so long, but I still wonder about them. I wonder where he had to go that was so important that he would leave her. I wonder if he ever actually made it onto the bus. I hope he didn't.

  8. Simply beautiful. I don't know why I find crying people to be so tragically beautiful, but they are.

  9. why didn't you approach her ?
    maybe you could've helped her … who knows, maybe she'd've helped you.

  10. One of the results of experiencing all the heartbreak I've gone through the last couple of years is that my emotions come out, including many, many tears. I can't stop them, and I don't want to. Having a good cry clears me like a cloudburst in summer.

    Sometimes I'll be walking down the street towards a group of people when things well up inside me and I wonder what these people will think when they hear me sobbing and see the tears running down my cheeks. From now on, I'll think of you, Stephanie, and your empathy for your fellow feeling beings.

  11. Didn't you say that next time you see someone crying, you would stop and get involved? You should've given her a hug!

  12. while i was reading i just think of myself….
    think about whast i sufferd before …many and many tears..
    but from now on …no..more..tears..!!

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