The first day of Spring: new beginnings, fresh starts, out with the old, in with the new. A collection of clichés so banal we’ve heard them a million times and yet they ring true, despite their triteness, perhaps because starting over is the most refreshing idea of them all. Think of second grade, begging to clean the blackboard. The idea of a clean slate—not even yet knowing how dirty life can get—was exciting, so much so that the person doing the wiping-off became classroom royalty.
Today: not exactly a clean slate, but nearly. It is more continuing where things left off in October, when I was asked—and consented—to confine my life to a box of someone else’s choosing. This is apropos for a first day of Spring in March; Kurt Vonnegut calls November and December “Locking” (neither Autumn nor Winter); March and April, “Unlocking” (neither Winter nor Spring). My unlocking? In full swing, simultaneously serene and jubilant.
The first evening of Spring: a lovely night in an art gallery, where my lover helps me choose a charcoal drawing the artist will discount and upon which the gallery will allow me to make payments so “everyone may enjoy the sublime.” I wonder where the sublime will exist on my already crowded walls.
Many men, all of them older, some of them very much older, want to know about my tattoos, if I’ve been to Burning Man, whether I think Harvard should offer PhDs in tattoos; I have no easy answers for these (or any other) questions. I am the youngest person at the gallery, save for children flitting about.
As we’re leaving, a man politely asks if he can read the tattoo on my ankle, a snippet of a Rumi poem. “I didn’t want to be rude,” he said. “At least you’re asking,” I said. “Most don’t.”
We walk to a dimly lit restaurant on Tenth Avenue, where I get Brussels sprouts sans pancetta and he gets steak medium-rare. We make plans for tomorrow; he has moved to the Upper East Side, and I will stay over. He promises me breakfast in bed on Saturday; I have no reason to believe otherwise.