January 28, 2008

A solitary place

There aren't many places in New York City where one can go and be genuinely alone. I've tried the Brooklyn Promenade, the library, my apartment's bathroom and even a corner of the grocery store by the peas and carrots. Nothing seemed to suit.

But today I found my solitary place in New York. I hesitate to even speak of it for fear of others finding it. You have to do that here--guard your place.

It's a good place -- a quiet place -- where I feel like I'm in the middle of the woods on a hot summer night.

Laugh if you want, but it's the school's sauna.

I went swimming today with a pal from school and she suggested trying it out. When we went in, a woman was sitting naked, reading a book. I think we took her "solitary place", now that I mention it. It's always weird being clothed, by the way, when others are naked...You aren't quite sure what to do. It's always a shock, and before you can hurry up and start talking again, the moment has already come and gone for the person to register that you have seen them in all their nudist glory.

But anyway, aside from that, my pal and I chatted for a while and when the lady left, we lay down on the wooden benches and stared up at the ceiling. I haven't felt that relaxed in quite a while. Everything seemed to empty out of my head and it was quiet. The door was shut and I stared up at the ceiling's planks, imagining leaves and lightening bugs and all the things that are coming, not just the things that are gone that I've dwelt on lately.

And as I laid there in my swimsuit, purging my body of tension and even some grief, I realized I'd found my little piece of home in New York City. It wasn't home, but it reminded me so much of moments I love and memories that cling.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at January 28, 2008 9:40 PM | TrackBack

Wow I can't believe that she was naked in there. All of the times we have went in sauna's we've only stayed in for a few minutes. If we ever get to come to New York you will have to show me your school. I really want to see it! I hope you are doing okay with everything. Love You

Posted by: Katie at January 30, 2008 11:19 PM

When I was an undergrad and shortly after I graduated, I was the drama department's staff photographer, and that job came with keys to a darkroom. I spent a lot of time there, in the dark, thinking, while the film developed. It was like a little retreat. When I walk past the photography rooms near the cafeteria, and I get a whiff of that sharp chemical smell, it really brings me back.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 31, 2008 12:59 AM
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