Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Night in New Orleans

The Big Easy... a place of mystery and secrets. A place where one can turn over the glitter exposing the dark to turn over the dark to expose the glitter- spinning like a coin- each a necessary side filling in the city's character. If I had to choose, I would argue strongly and definitively that city is definitely a lady.

She has all the seduction of the most alluring courtesan and the strength of the strongest of matriarchs. She holds her own, bringing the culled to her breast to hug and kiss away hurts, while drawing others in with her oil lighted lamps and promises of warm caresses for those willing to promenade her deserted streets. At night, lights reflect off her black ink river like flashes of lust from a restless lover’s eyes.

As one finds oneself uncertain of being awake after waking from a nightmare, I recently found myself in New Orleans (or N'Awlins or New Ooorleeaans) with the hope of freeing myself from the everyday boredom... and to volunteer time with Habitat for Humanity. Each reason gave its own lift to my soul, in different ways, but both necessary and long sought after. The evening I arrived (and after a strange exchange with the valet), I dropped my bags and headed out into the night with the vague notion of finding dinner- leaving Bourbon for another time.

Walking along her fairly deserted streets, I wanted her to fill me, consuming my disjointed thoughts and even more disjointed feelings. I hoped she would reveal some of her secrets in exchange for my homage. Quickly I fell under her spell soaking up her offerings in the shadow of barely lighted streets and creole homes wearing their history and familial ghosts seen through dark shuttered doors and windows as badges of honor.

At night after the crowds have dwindled the city breathes deep sighs of relief. Walking alone, a tinge jealous, I could hear the slight sound of restful life behind closed doors and open windows. I knew what that life was like, once. I remember the comfort of curling up in another’s arms and snuggling into the crux of his neck. With the fresh rawness of uncertain freedom, I hurried back onto more traveled streets, away from the slumber and damaged memories.