Who is HE Really
t is an extremely humid night at a bar/restaurant located in New York City's East Village in late June of 2012. It is a Friday night and the bar/restaurant was filled with a combination of young professionals looking to network and meet with each other, blue collar workers looking for a different scene from the usual bar experience, bored suburban housewives wanting to escape from their homogeneously monotonous beige existence, college students being off for the summer, goths just observing the East Village scene, and some Upper East Side rich young people who want to go slumming.
The bar/restaurant was happening with conversation being at a crescendo and Rod Stewart and Bob Seeger songs with some Marky Mark and Vanilla Ice rap music playing on a renovated jukebox. This bar/restaurant was an amalgamation between the old fashioned neighborhood bar and an upscale restaurant. It had what everyone wanted and more, serving draft brewed beer and Peruvian/Japanese fusion cuisine. This bar/restaurant is so well known that famous habitues are know to make more than the occasional visit as the food is beyond awesome.
Mary Joyce Anderson, a schoolteacher at a private high school, had the summer off. She went on a foray to the city from her Westchester home that she shared with her parents. She spent the day in the city, going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then going shopping for bargains at Saks Fifth Avenue. The trip to the city was a welcome relief from the overintrusiveness of her Barbadian parents.
Although Mary was born in America,, her parents were born in Barbados. As expected, Mary was raised very, very strictly. To say that her parents had high expectations of her would be a severe understatement. Her parents immigrated to America for a better life than they had in Barbados. Her parents' dreams came to fruition, both were lower upper income professionals. They made sure that their only child, Mary, would have all the accoutrements of life such as music lessons and overseas travel.
However, Mary led a cloistered and sheltered life-to the extreme. She attended all girls private schools until university. Her parents kept her under lock and key in the West Indian tradition. While her friends were given freedom as they had liberal, progressive parents. Mary's parents were the exact opposite. She had to go on the straight and narrow, never veering. Her parents seemed to be from another era. They believed that children existed to obey their parents without question. After all, they were the adults and she was the child.
Mary was not the compliant child. She could be aptly described as quite willful. She rebelled at every opportunity. Her parents just did not know what to do with her. Her father even remarked that she was so unlike them. She found her parents to be totally insufferably boring and conventional. To her, her parents belonged in the 19th, not the 21st century.
Although Mary rebelled against her parents, she played their game. She figured that she would be the nice, little girl when she was around them; however, when her parents were not present, she was quite the wild child. When she was a teenager, she told her parents that she was going to visit a girl friend in Upper Westchester but unbeknownst to them, she met a secret boyfriend with none the wiser. In college, she was not as rebellious as she was as a child and teenager, she was acquiescent to most of her parents' wishes and desires. She even studied to become a teacher instead of being an actress, something she wanted to do since who knows when.
Mary's parents discouraged her acting ambition, believing that it was totally frivolous and impractical. They strongly inculcated her to have a profession that is secure and profitable. They contended that for a Black woman acting was simply not a profitable business in the least. She attended New York University, obtaining both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Economics.
On this Friday in late June 2012, Mary was seriously thinking where her life was going. Yes, it was going....going, going, going. She was in a deep psychic quagmire, sinking fast. She was almost 29 years old and still living with her parents. Most of her friends were living on their own. She felt like an anomaly regarding her situation. Whenever she brought up this subject to her parents, they adamantly told her that no decent young woman lives on her own.
Mary's father warned her how dangerous the city was especially for young women. He further stated that women who lived alone were more susceptible to all types of temptations. Of course, her mother agreed, being a good Bajan wife. Mary was becoming increasingly unhappy living under her parents' roof. Her friends wondered what was wrong with her. They felt that she should be living it up, instead of living a half life.
Mary agreed. Although she was 28 years old, her parents treat her as if she was a very young teenager. She still had curfews. Totally unbelievable. Well, not according to her parents. Her parents are of the school that young women were to be home by a respectable hour. What? Yes, respectable. Her parents are beyond old fashioned. Her friends find this to be extremely strange to say the least. One of her friends told her to tell her parents to go @#$%@ themselves and to just leave period.
Mary was under lock and key. This was no way for a 28 year old woman to live. Mary decided to spend a day in the city. Now it was nighttime and she decided to make a sojourn to the East Village, the neighborhood her parents warned her about. She went into the bar/restaurant and probably take in a movie afterwards. She sat at a corner table alone. She did not seem to mind the loud talking and music. She was totally oblivious to it.
A buffed, tanned blond waitsfaff came over to Mary's table, presenting her the menu and temporarily leaving while she was deciding what to order. She simply could not decide from the varied delicious foods on the menu. She ultimately decided to order some black bean soup with cilantro and pepper and 6 pieces of uni sushi with a glass of ale.
As Mary was eating, lost in thought, a stranger entered the bar/restaurant. He was demoniacally handsome with jet black hair and piercing black eyes. He stood about 6'6" tall. Besides that he was extremely muscular with a cobra tattoo on his left bicep. His skin was deeply tanned. He appeared to be about 27 years of age; however, he was somewhere between his middle to late 30s. He had a swag about him that made women look twice as he walked around the bar/restaurant.
He icily sized up the customers. He had a dark aura about him. He was beyond self-confident. He was a law to himself. Societal conventions and proprieties concerned him in the least. He was what one would call raw. He was instinctual to the multillionth degree. To him, societal niceties were utterly hypocritical. As a New York City detective working in various units, he had see the murky underside of upstanding people. They appeared to be so upstanding and moral in the public eye; however, behind closed doors, they are depraved and totally debauched as denizens in the lowest pit of hell.
The one thing the stranger vehemently detested was hypocrisy or better put, mindless g$%^&m b$%^&*(@!t. He was the quintessential introvert but with an edge. He believed that action speaks much louder than words, talk being so so cheap. All his life, he was misunderstood because of his extreme introversion but he could not care less what other people think. Social approval was the last thing on his mind. In fact, he acted in ways which often incurred social disapproval.
Disapproval was a way of life to this stranger. He was born in Greenpoint, a working class Brooklyn neighborhood. He was the fith of nine children to first generation Slovak Americans, respectively a longshoreman and a part-time sales clerk in a department store. To say that the family's socioeconomic situation was extremely precarious would be putting it quite mildly. There was hardly enough for the rudiments of food and clothing, let alone anything else.
The stranger attended a public school nearby until he was in the fifth grade. The quality of education at that particular school was considered average. He was an A+ student although there were very few books in the home. In first grade, he was reading at a seventh grade level. Some teachers would give him books as he was such a voracious reader. The principal of the school told his parents that he had potential and promise.
Although the stranger was a prodigious student, he had a reputation of being a neighborhood and school bully. His idea was that to establish dominance meant getting respect. This behavior is quite commonplace in poor and working class neighborhoods. This is the law of the streets, eat or be eaten, beat or be beaten. Weak boys were simply not respected in such neighborhoods. They were considered to be pansies and he definitely wasn't one. He, as an introvert, had to be more than tough to be respected. He sometimes felt anonymous as a middle child so being tough was a way to establish his selfhood.
Many of the teachers contended that this boy was no good. One of the teachers even remarked that he would either end up dead or in jail. She further elaborated that he was a thug and should be in juvenile detention instead of school. This teacher apparently dislike teaching in this neighborhood, preferring to teach in suburban Long Island, where she lived. She developed an animus towards the boy, even going as far as to denigrate and mock him and his family in her class. The stranger was definitely not this teacher's favorite student. One could say that he was considered to be an untouchable in her class.
The stranger's parents wanted a better life for him and his eight siblings. His four older siblings were enrolled in parochial and privates schools respectively on scholarships. They were hoping that the same would happen for him. In the second semester of fifth grade, he took a nationwide aptitude test, scoring in the upper percentile of his class. Recruiters from private schools around the New York metropolitan area were looking for poor gifted children to be in their schools.
The stranger was enrolled in an exclusive private on the Upper East Side. To say that he experienced a culture shock was mild. The rich boys looked upon him as if he was a leper. He was the outsider. He had to prove himself but to no avail. Many of the rich boys never accepted him to their circles nor social groups. He could care less. He showed them-he earned all As during seventh and eighth grades, graduating the second at the school. There were further scholarships at a college preparatory school and then to Fordham University where he have Bachelors, Master's and Doctoral Degrees in Sociology, concentrating in criminology.
The stranger was no one's fool. He was exposed to both the seamy and posh sides of life. He possess smarts and street savvy. He can survive anything. He was on the fast track in the New York City Police Department, progressing rapidly through the ranks. He was somewhat of a free agent so to speak. He was smiling to himself, while continuing to survey the room and customers. He saw many beautiful women to his liking. He was not on the prowl tonight but he could change his mind.
He continued to study the customers. One of the suburban housewives was obviously bored. She was a short brunette of about 29. She was griping about her mother-in-law. She complained how the latter disliked her because she did not have the "right" image. The second housewife listened empathetically, interjecting that the mother-in-law was a snobby, self-righteous c*&^%t. He listened to the conversation, quite bemused. He thought to himself, why should she care what that condescending, frustrated bluestocking thought of her. He further demised that the mother-in-law probably was secretly jealous of the brunette beauty.
The first housewife then burst into tears. She knew that when she married, she would never be accepted into her husband's family. They were old rich Bostonian WASPs with pedigrees whereas she was an Italian-American from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. To say, that they did not like her was the understatement of the millennium. If one was truthful, it can be said that they HATED and DETESTED her, wanting her to be.......GONE. No, not dead but completely out of their lives, especially their son and relative respectively. They considered her to be an upstart and much much worse.
Then there was another conversation. This time an Upper East Side rich kid is complaining to his friends because his life was prescribed for him by his father. The stranger thought to himself endless yada yada. What else is new. Well, the rich kid stated that he may not return to university this fall, perhaps to drop out all together just to get a rise out of his a$#%hole father and his thoroughly uptight mother. This kid relayed that he did not want to attend college anyway but was forced to by his parents because of family tradition.
The stranger was in utter disbelief, this smar%^$ss was going to throwing away an opportunity that many kids were busting their humps for. He remembered at Fordham University, poor and working class kids were working part or all of their way through college, earning high grades. His facial expression could be described at utter disgust for this unappreciative pompous p$%^&k who probably had it TOO good. A beautiful caramel skinned African American woman with dark brown eyes and black twisted braids came by, presenting him a menu. He smiled at the waitstaff, ordering ceviche with seaweed salad and 8 pieces of sushi. While he was waiting for his order, he got up from the table, went to the jukebox, putting on a Barry White cd.
As the stranger was returning to his seat, one of the suburban housewives, a saucy redhead, approached him, whispering at and touching him quite seductively. She hinted that she was staying the night at a subletted apartment in Tribeca and he could join her if he liked. She further explained to him that her marriage was so stale and her husband inattentive. He coldly stared at her, stating that he definitely was NOT interested. The housewife looked quite nonplussed, returning to her other housewife friends.
Finally, the stranger's order arrived. He thanked the waitstaff and proceeded to eat. The redheaded housewife again stopped by his table, becoming even more forward regarding her request. She acted more boldly this time. He thought to himself what is the problem with this woman. She forwardly whispered in his ear. She smiled and placed her French manicured hand on his right shoulder. She started to sample food from his plate, even placing the food in his mouth. He just relaxed, playing along with her. She was exuberantly elated.
The stranger smiled at her but the smile was the type of smile that unnerved her. Then the tables turned. He became very, very aggressive. The redheaded housewife's face paled. She was now in over her head. She became quite apprehensive at the stranger's suggestions. She excused herself and abruptly left the table. The stranger smiled satanically, musing to himself that if a person plays with a snake, expect to be bitten, ouch!
Peace at last! The stranger was enjoyed his sumptuous meal while listening to Barry White. He was chilling after a very long day's work. After this he is going to walk around the neighborhood and then go home to his spacious apartment in New York's Nolita neighborhood. As the night progressed in the bar/restaurant, he zoned everything out, being in his own nirvana for the moment. He was now oblivious to everything and everyone.
It was now thirty minutes. People were gradually leaving the bar/restaurant, going their way. The brunette housewife stopped at the stranger's table, throwing a glass of wine in his face. He looked quizzically at her, wonder what the f*&$k. She angrily got in his face, loudly proclaiming that NO ONE treats her friend, referring to the redheaded housewife that way. She attempted to slap him but he held her back. She wrenched her arm away. As she left the bar/restaurant, she cursed at him in Italian. He just looked at her and continued eating his meal.
Within minutes, there were only two people left, he and Mary. Mary was silent the entire time she was at the bar/restaurant. She sat quietly observing the goings on around her while reading a book. She looked at the time, knowing that she had to get home at a timely hour. A Peruvian waitstaff went to both tables, reminding Mary and the stranger that they will be closing very shortly. Both replied thank you graciously.
Mary's cell phone rang and at the other end was her mother, loudly inquiring where has she been and did not she know what time it was. Her mother went into another tirade with her Bajan accent becoming more and more pronounced. Mary angrily shut off the phone, putting it in her bag. Mary appeared quite nonchalant at this moment.
Mary finished her meal, paid the bill, and was about to leave the restaurant. However, a masculine hand stopped her. She replied to the stranger that she had to leave and get home. The stranger smiled at her, asking why. She explained to him that her parents expected her to be home by a certain hour. He was quite perplexed at this, asking if she was serious. She stated that she was very serious.
The stranger then asked her age, she replied that she was in her late 20s. He told her that she, as an adult, should be able to come home when she wanted to. She agreed but stated that as long as she lived with her parents, she had to comply by their rules. He indicated that was very ludicrous. She stated that she had to go. He asked her name. She quickly replied Mary. They left the bar/restaurant together.
They continued the conversation while walking. Mary told her that she wanted to take in a movie. He asked her why not as there were various movie houses playing midnight movies. She declined, stating that she must get home. The stranger indicated that he was going to catch a documentary at one of the movie houses. She replied that was nice. He asked her to come along. She repeatedly declined. So he hailed a cab for her in the middle of St. Mark's Place, she got into the cab. As she looked around to thank him and wave goodbye, he was gone. Gone like a phantom in the night. She never got his name......
© 2013 Grace Marguerite Williams
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