A Thousand Steps, Part IV

Sometimes last minute plans are the best kind.

I got an email from a buddy of mine around four o’clock Friday afternoon. Kevin was catching a late train and wondered if I wanted to grab a beer in the neighborhood.


I met Kevin in Spanish class on the first or second day of my freshman year. We formed a study group with a black kid from Queens, and a Jewish kid from Long Island. Our study sessions were comprised of flash cards, pizza, and cheap vodka cut with generic fruit punch.

“I can’t drink hard alcohol to this day,” he told me Friday night.

“Me neither,” I said.

We’ve kept up pretty well over the years. He’s been a great supporter of my music, buying records and catching shows. The two of us were groomsmen in a mutual pal’s wedding. (That mutual pal, it ends up, has a pretty decent political appointment in the Corzine administration.) We’ve seen some shows together too: REM, Pearl Jam. Dude’s got good taste.

Anyway, somewhere around the tail end of my second Harp, just prior to wading back into the tourist-clogged Times Square, Kev said something told me a story that made a lot of worries and woes worthwhile.

“Remember that attic you guys used to play behind Lawrenson?”

“Standart Street,” I said. “I remember that place.”

“I’ll never forget seeing you guys there. My girlfriend had dumped me a week or a month before, so I was depressed — deee-pressed! But I remember watching you guys that night and thinking, ‘I’m going to be allright.’ Yunno’? People were dancing so hard…”

“The floor wash shaking,” I said. “I remember holding onto the rafters in case the floor collapsed.”

“Yeah! There were, like 200 people dancing so the floor was shaking and to this day I remember thinking, ‘Either I’m gonna’ die, or I’m going to be allright.'”

Thanks, Kev.

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