Monday, July 28, 2014

Wuthering Heights and the NYC Beat down I never saw coming...

This is one of those CRAZY but true New York stories, I doubted I would even tell a soul.  Like a New York minute, it was over in a flash.  Well almost!!!!

So I was minding my own business, on a balmy Sunday heading to friend Danielle's’ bridal shower in Brooklyn.  I’d been running around all morning and thought I’d  catch (take) the train to make up time.  Beyond arriving hot and sweaty from one of New York's famous ‘triple H days (Hazy, Hot and Humid).  What could go wrong?

After fifteen minutes or so, the train pulled into the station at 86th Street and Central Park West.  One of my favorite stations for its tree lines beauty alongside the park. Easy breezy.  Found a seat amongst thirty teens, just completing their trip to Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History.  I quickly settled into my seat, exhilarated at the blasting air conditioning hitting the back of my neck.  Pulled my book out, prepared to be lost in words.

By the time we reached West 4th Street at Washington Park, one of the boys had fallen asleep on my arm.  No big deal, I’m usually sandwiched between someone with ten shopping bags or the five guys who suddenly break out in song. Glee lives loud and large on the NYC subways!

On occasion, I noticed a woman seated across from me, sneaking looks at my book cover. Beautiful deep brown skin, sunken eyes, sinewy long legs stretched out beneath apricot colored linen shorts.  She just had to be a runner. She appeared calm, tall, slightly mysterious. Our eyes met.

Before I could turn the page she stood above me, eyes bright without saying a word.  I thought she was reading the subway map directly at the back of my head.  Suddenly she screams “What are you doing reading Withering Heights?  Black people aren’t supposed to read Withering Heights”!  At this point, I looked to my left and right just knowing there were video cameras recording this craziness.  I was being punked right? Wrong!

Other riders froze.  Some laughed REALLY hard.  When she screamed again “What are you doing reading Wuthering Heights”? Everything and everyone STOPPED.  I said “it’s a book and I’m reading it”!   She yelled “Stop reading it”!  I started laughing at this point myself.  But oh, her face and her eyes and those legs said she was serious.  Then she said “I’ll fight you for it”! Then my mind went blank.

I imagined the NYPD arriving on scene asking what started the melee, only to find the entire catalyst was a Classical book by Emily Bronte

I feared I would be seen by friends, family and colleagues being carried away in handcuffs, tossed into a police car “Book em Danno” after assaulting someone, defending myself with a reprint many times over of ‘Wuthering Heights’ that was paperback not even a hardcover.

Surely Heathcliff would have saved me.

Stranger things have happened! Welcome to New York!

A note of THANKS! to Hautezone readers: To say I’ve been gone awhile is an understatement!  BIG Thank You to those who consistently checked in to see what Hautezone has been doing.  With a mother who was ailing and projects, I just didn't have the steam to write.  But THANK YOU again for thinking of me!