I often stood in front of the pawnshop on 125th street and Lenox Avenue. I talked with the owner, Sydney Bernstein, who belonged to the same golf club as me, and with the customers. Sydney was a lousy golfer and a very rich man. We all knew each other. I’d read the sports pages of the newspaper quickly and at noon I met Lenny. This day it struck me as peculiar that Lenny was in a big hurry and very excited when we met on Lenox Avenue. She lived on 92nd and Park Avenue and we usually walked back there to eat. She said she had overslept, but there was something weird about her manner. I stood, as usual, dumbstruck in front of her.
The first time there was something weird about her manner had been in 1984, right after Ronald Reagan was reelected president. Lenny and I were in Colmar, France, that day and she greeted me with the news. I looked into those blue blue eyes and we went back to our room. The room was airy and fragrant with lavender water. . . . such a pleasure to walk into it. And in bed, Lenny, soft as a feather, like a little girl, quiet and gentle and happy- and happy to be happy- was just like she had been at first. But then there was a manner about her that was just a little weird. I couldn’t quite make her out and I wondered what was she was thinking about, lying there, doing nothing but looking at me with those oh so blue eyes. When I asked her she laughed and said she wasn’t thinking about anything at all. A person can’t be thinking about something all day long, she said. True, but a person can never be thinking about nothing, I said.
Who is Lenny? What is she
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair and wise is she;
The heavens such grace did lend her,
That she might admiréd be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And being helped, inhabits there.
Then to Lenny let us sing,
That Lenny is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling;
To her let us garlands bring.