The New Bohemians
The light creeps into the edges of their night, their night that feels
endless, timeless, like they'd like life to be. Vampire nights flying
between New Orleans' Lower Decatur Street, Frenchman Street, the
Hideout, the Spotted Cat, the Dragon's Den, The Abbey.
They will live forever, young and beautiful and exited and exciting. If
only the dawn wouldn't come.
They are dizzy with decadence, with guitar notes or brush strokes or
poetry, with Cosmos or bourbon or Chartreuse or Burgundy, each to his
or her own. They are dancing and laughing and making plans they are
forgetting to make time for. They are spilling out secrets like liquid
from a top-heavy but beautiful martini glass onto the already sticky
Abbey floor. They spill their secrets into one another's ears, in the
drunken fest of trust and love and temporarily invulnerable
And then the light comes. The staunchest of them deny, hide. The
slotted plastic curtains of the Abby doorway fall. The light inside
doesn't dim for night or brighten for daytime. One of the group, the
one farthest gone, might pull out black-rimmed sunglasses; another
might say, gently, baby, it's not that bright yet. Sweetie, no, we're
And the dawn keeps coming. They ignore it, but still it comes.
City workers wash the streets. Sometimes the drinkers see the big, low,
street-cleaning trucks inching by. More often they don't notice; they
only look outside, marveling at the lightness and the hour, as they
deposit more quarters in the jukebox next to the door. They see that
the street is wet, and each time it tricks them for a moment. Has it
rained? They look at the sky, clear and lavender and growing lighter by
the moment. Soon the sun will shine. They will wend their way home,
helping one another. They may stagger or skip or meander. Sunglasses
are de rigueur, now.
They pass the creamy buildings on Ursalines Street, Antebellum
structures milky in buttercup yellow, rosy brick, white-chocolate mint.
They duck into Croissant d'Or, black-clad and smoky among fresh morning
joggers. The revelers lean against one another sleepily and order hot
cocoa and croissants.
This is living. This is dying, slowly, as we each are from the moment
we are born.
©2004 by Utahna Faith