Grand Central Station is part commuter nexus and part wonder; the sheer scale of the arched and painted ceiling of the main terminal, the intentional, architectural symmetries and the symmetrical breaks, the dark, commuter train tunnels and descending, subway staircases, the echoing arrival and departure pronouncements, the exotic aromas from the many restaurants and bakeries.
I could begin, for instance, with the day on which Isobel Burton consigned the manuscript of her late husband’s revised translation of The Scented Garden of Sensual Delight to the bonfire. Or I could begin with my growing interest in Burton himself and his final years in Trieste.
The title of a literary work serves one mandatory function within the literary practice and institution – that of identification. Yet, there is a second function, which might be optional in principle, yet is inescapable in practice.
The first time I became aware of Jeanette was at the Black Sands Art Show, part of Anaconda’s annual Summerfest. Local painters, photographers, ceramicists, craftspeople, and merchants had set up awnings, tables, and booths throughout Washoe Park, with walkways looping and meandering among the stalls and temporary galleries.
No one taught me how to forget. I wanted to remember, each detail: descending from the train, arriving into the station, the porticoes, the distance to the hotel, strands of fog kissing the streets, anointing our heads, our arms locked together, the bag over each of our shoulders.