Short Stories

Sometimes we're all in the mood to escape to somewhere.

Time Travel at Governors Island

Stepping off the boatGovernors Island 1 was like stepping into another world. Leaving behind a metropolis filled with honking taxis and speeding sirens, she touched new ground — with ne’er an automobile in sight. “What is this place?” she thought as she took it in…soaked in the smells, the people, the mysterious intangible that made it markedly different.

An outsider, it was as if she merely observed from afar. Was there some partition? An invisible force? Fellow wanderers milled about the grounds. But they, too, were in a daze — quieted by the intrigue surrounding them.

Once inhabited houses, yards and playthings were left, forgotten. Perhaps their owners vanished into thin air…forgetting to lock doors on the way out. A small stone church still sat on its perch, almost as a warning. Of what, who knows. Inside, the footprints of long-since moved pews were still obvious to the eye.

As she tread along the well-worn path, a fenced-in green materialized up ahead. Music! Dancing! A festival of sorts…at last! Walking on, she was transported to a time when jazz ruled and flappers were scandalous. An attempt at recognition proved she would remain unseen. She must be content to simply witness.

Revelers twisted and twirled — in twos and threes — to a five-piece jazz band on the makeshift parquet floor. One wearing nothing but a cream-colored slip with a dropped waste and black undergarments. Off to the side, children in vintage swim trunks pulled snacks from wicker picnic baskets as their mothers sipped cocktails and laughed the afternoon away…their beaded headbands already slightly askew.

Moving past the dance floor, a gaggle of men laughed, passing cold beers from one to the next while two young innocents twirled their parasols and looked on longingly from the next blanket over.

Distracted by a monkey on a bicycle, she snaps back to reality. Suddenly boat loads of neon and tie dye-covered ravers storm the beat-bouncing, DJ-inhabited beach. Departure nears. Ah yes, the horns and sirens come back into focus. Where was I?

A Silent Subway Ride

With no book, no headphones, and having learned long ago to sleep anywhere, she fades in and out at each stop…checking with one eye to see the latest pair of shoes to hop on. Silently taking it all in as she feigns indifference and displeasure, she inwardly rejoices at this life. Her attention turns to others.

There’s a mother-daughter pair, headed somewhere special…an excitement building between them as the train barrels northward. The mother-son tourists scrutinize a paper map — yes, they’ll get off at Grand Central. Mr. Blue Shoes/White Laces is just happy to be in out of the pouring rain when he sees a friend — have you seen the exhibit? Yes, yes. They were just finishing it up when he left. It’s going to be exciting. And we can’t forget the 20-something, using her phone as a looking glass before punching colorful dots on a screen to pass the time.

It’s no bother without the headphones, really. There’s always someone willing to lend a listen…in this case, from three seats down. So kind of him to share…even if it’s not what he’s after.

The stories I tell in my head as life happens…

Sometimes to amuse myself I live in a story. Growing up in Massachusetts I often read about how fabulous people lived fabulous lives in New York City. And here I am. I get to live those stories now, and it’s all fabulous in its own way. Perhaps to remind myself from whence my dream to live in the Big Apple came, I’ll tell stories in my head as I do the regular mundane things I do. Here’s one now. Stay tuned for more.

The birds, flowers, honking horns and humans all collide on a sweltering Monday morning in New York City. Buzzing like bees, each commuter charts his or her course five steps ahead. The more practiced of speed walkers can weave around, duck, and outpace any tourist stuck in the way. Occasionally two of these experts meet…misjudging the other’s move. They reach a momentary impasse with either frustration or apologies and then carry on.