Sunday, July 21, 2013

A wedding. A shabbat brucha. A mitzvah.


Fred and Stephen  have waited 13 years for today

What’s supposed to be an easy morning begins to turn anxious. Can’t find my keys. And a couple is coming to the church to be married. I call Marc. Luckily he can come and let me in.

But when I get to the church the steps are filled with the gang, several of whom are in a state of well, deshabille, as the French would say. I tell them I’ve got to open the doors, they need to move out. 

Meet Marc at the 86th street door. Can’t get into my office. Will have to wing the wedding. Then I remember I need witnesses. I ask Marc to stay. Need one more. The couple arrive.

I ask them to take a seat in the sanctuary. Marc and I hit the street. He sees a runner stop for the light. Marc approaches him. He looks at me, smiles, comes over. You may not remember. I’m Bruce. I taught your kids in Hebrew School at BJ. You asked me to do some legal work one time, but it was too close. I was here for the gala with Mim and Ted and Asya and Katherine...
Oh man, Bruce, thanks...

So we’re ready. Stephen and Fred have been married in the eyes of God for 13 years. Had a big church wedding, over 100 guests, all that. But it wasn’t legal. So today they’ve come in from North Carolina to make it official.

I tell them the story of West-Park. It’s history. More Light, God’s Love, all. Turns out they used to live on the Upper West Side before their odyssey led them to Michigan, Chicago and finally Charlotte where it’s a quality of life issue with enough New York exiles to make it comfortable. Very new south. But still....

Since they’ve been married, my job is easier. It’s reaffirming what already is. But the words they really want to hear, the authority vested in me by the State of New York I now pronounce you....are met with long awaited tears.

Marc and Bruce sign the witness lines. Bruce says, I’m going to services later but I’ve already had a shabbat brucha. And I say and already done a mitzvah...

Hand shakes and hugs all around. And they’re off to enjoy the city.

Out on the steps, George says, Hey Bob, let me ask you something. Where do you find these people? Referring to the gang.
I don’t find them, George, they find me. 
He laughs. Let me ask you something else. You ever hear of a 14 year old bein drafted?
That boy says he was. No way. That’d be child cruelty.
He says he’s from Puerto Rico and they do it different there. 
No way. That's a constitutional issue. Child cruelty. Yeah, what’s that group? Yeah, Amnesty International. They against child soldiers. We’re on that damn list, you know? Cause we coerce poor black kids. They get their ass busted. Judge say, you want jail or join the service? That’s how that go. Poor dumb nigger kids. We on that list for sure. No way that kid drafted. Knuckleheads, man. Knuckleheads.

Go with Marc to get an extra key made. Just in case.

When I come back, I look outside. George gathers up his stuff, gets on the 11bus heading north. Back to his apartment. His visit over. What it means to him, spending the night here, I have no idea.

RL and David have been wrestling with the internet. And waiting for Max. He shows just after RL leaves to see Harvey. They did talk and make plans for Monday.
We chat about the Pirates. And Yankees. And tattoos. 

Time to take a walk in the Park. And wait for the cool of the evening.

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