Across the street were the supporters (or their replacements) that we had heard through the window so long ago. They cheered as each of us staggered outside. I was amazed at the level of caring and professional treatment. There were legal representatives, medics, and people who would feed you. I was still too stunned to be able to eat or focus on much so I just kind of answered questions about my health and took the supplement they gave me. A number of people had broken out in rashes from the conditions at Pier 57. They checked me over and didn't find anything. I was amazed at how much trouble I was having just getting a sentence out.
It was starting to get light out and my ordeal wasn't entirely over. Everyone still had to get their stuff back. And even that procedure was made as complicated as humanly possible by forcing people to walk all the way down to Pearl Street and wait more than two hours outside a trailer. But I was so happy to be outside that it could have been six hours and I probably wouldn't have noticed. I didn't know what was keeping me going, I just knew I had to finish this.
Normally I would have known exactly where I was but I found myself rediscovering the neighborhood and figuring out I was right next to Chinatown. For some reason I decided that more than anything in the world I wanted a couple of egg rolls and a Coke from Wo Hops so I moved in that direction. I realize now that I must have been walking like a total zombie because it seemed like such a long time when it was only a couple of blocks. They must have seen it in my face at Wo Hops too because they insisted I sit down while waiting the two minutes for the takeout order. I felt so out of phase with everything. I seemed to be getting a free preview of what it's like to be old and insane.
So I made my way over to the trailer and met up with some of the people I had just seen on the inside. It was a real joyous occasion at that point tinged with a bit of ominous foreboding as there were no less than ten cops standing guard over the line that we were on. I tried not to make eye contact with any of them. I just wanted to get my stuff back and get out of there forever.
At long last it was my turn and they began searching for my stuff. How they could manage to take so long to track something down that was Right There was something that no longer interested me. It was what I expected and I wasn't complaining. In the end, it was all there and that was all that mattered.
I made my way back to the park where people were still waiting for others to emerge. I left messages for some friends using the phones I had just gotten back and was surprised when one of them immediately returned my call. I guess nobody was really getting much sleep that week. He came by and helped get me on a subway back to my place. It was probably the first time in my life anyone ever helped me find a subway. I don't even remember going to sleep. I only remember waking up twelve hours later.