I had missed last month’s Bodega because I was in Minnesota and I was already late to February’s Bodega because I was coming from my cousin’s engagement party. But when I finally got there it was like a big welcome home. Rob and Laura said hugged me outside and essentially told me that I was on next, when I got inside Kelley gave me a big hug, Manny gave me his CD and then my friend, Allison, who I’d met at Ashok’s book launch, had come to Bodega too. She was sitting with Peter Storey and Lecco and I thought she knew them but nope, they just welcomed her into the Bodega family.
Because I was late I missed Clare’s reading (Mike’s sister) and I was disappointed that I missed her. I see a lot of myself in her (she’s a writer who wants to move to London) but I know I definitely didn’t have the balls to go up on stage and read at age 17.
When Peter Storey got on stage he said that he was moving to DC and this was his last reading at Bodega. He later said that Bodega was one of the things he looked forward to every month and one of the few things tethering him to New York. I have to admit, I choked up, or at least I would have had I not been so tired.
The show now begins at 6pm and since it ends earlier it seemed like more people hung around after the readings. I looked around the bar and Prospero was making fun of the Grammy’s and doing his horrible English accent, Lecco was knocking glasses of wine into his friend’s hangbag when he wasn’t crushing people’s hand with his super-human strength, Puppet Bus made my day by saying he was going to read his signature story at Sycamore and Rob and Laura, my favourite couple who are closer to my parents age than my own, were being ridiculously cute as usual. I realized how much I missed these crazy fuckers. I’d only missed one month of Bodega but I knew exactly how Peter Storey felt.
Before I left, Rob began to big up next month’s show, I told him I was definitely down to do it and I didn’t want to steal Peter’s leaving glory but depending on things, it might be my last show. The words didn’t seem real, mainly because I’ve been hanging by a visa thread for over a year now, but I know as the next Bodega month passes, it’ll slowly sink in and I’ll be sad to lose these literary lunatics.