Walking Home

Barefoot
Saturday Morning, East Village

Bare feet….icy sidewalks
Snowy evening a few hours back…..
Saturday morning.

When I saw her yesterday morning I jumped out of my skin…..an amazing future photo, tantalizing, hanging over me…..snow, ice, barefoot, perfectly unblemished white legs….she must be a little bit over the edge. I didn’t see her face. She walked fast, and I didn’t get it initially. Not the image….the story. I thought: wow, she’s high, she’s in some sort of fugue state…..she’s out of it. She carried her shoes, flat flat sandals, nothing special. She was fast, not quite loopy but with just enough of a peculiar abandon to give the impression of gentle lunacy. The kind that hurts no one but the sufferer, and allows for an occasional predatory encounter that can be very damaging to an ethereal feminine energy.

I followed. And I hoped to grab a moment that fit her. I thought I needed her face. I thought to display her fully in the photograph, to show her without holding back. I didn’t know if she was beautiful, or ordinary….she didn’t feel commonplace. No matter her facial contours, there was nothing ordinary about her.

Nothing ordinary because she was doing what she wanted to do, without thoughts of observational judgement, the temperature, the wisdom of being barefoot on a New York City street on a cold cold snowy morning. She was being observed surreptitiously by others in the neighborhood, young couples out for brunch, together in their ordinariness. She was looked over and noticed and smiled at, strange smiles, abstractions. She walked and walked and walked with me behind her, and she was like a white rabbit on a wooded trail it knows well, weaving through thickets, between leafy obstructions, over bramble and under vine.

We walked very fast, I wanted very much to see her face. I wanted to know…..was she an East Coast, New York City version of a Skid Row beauty, a tragedy unfolding before a spectacular disintegration of some kind…. I thought this as I tried to keep up.

She stopped very suddenly on 13th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. My street….and the ordinary crept a bit closer to us. She turned to a glass door, a renovated building like many that have changed the face of much of the East Village. I saw her….and I suddenly understood completely. A chunky jeweled, big stoned necklace, quality false gemstones, Barney’s or Bergdorf’s or Saks hung precariously and crookedly from her neck. Her black strapless dress was hanging too low on one side, and her white skin shone healthy and well cared for. I asked her for a portrait, and she laughed and smiled and said No! Not now….:)) And I understood….she was on her way home, and didn’t want to soil her shoes in the snow, and was in a pretty daze from the night before, the haze of whoever she had been with and just departed from left over to warm and numb her feet to the cold, icy and wet sidewalks, and to render the looks and smirks she received as she made her way back to her burrow meaningless.

She was on her way home from Somewhere Else, a little like Alice In Wonderland, and a little like the white rabbit of my first impression…..and now it was time for home, a hot shower, and brunch with a friend.

So nice to see that some things haven’t changed in the East Village.

Author: suzannesteinphoto

Photographer

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