A Purple Reign (final part)...

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The Harley-Davidson lived up to its model name of Wide Glide FXWG as the sound of the engine upgrade surged through the steady stream of traffic in the March night. She had supervised the upgrade herself and was determined to maintain the longevity of its 13-year existence. The gaudy 'flame' of orange, yellow and red laced the custom black fuel tank which ignited the road ahead along with the main headlight. Guiding the Harley along the stretch of the Hudson which ran parallel to the sprinkling of lights known as Jersey City, reminded her of the Port Authority's dedication last month to the victims of the World Trade Center bombings of '93. She was glad to have made a note in her diary reminding her to arrange some time to view the fountain at the Austin J. Tobin Plaza; the thought soon dissolved into the night's journey.

Approaching 10th Avenue, she was still conscious about handing her door keys in at reception for safekeeping. It was an act she'd never contemplated throughout the entire 4 years of her residency - until tonight. Suddenly, the intermittent flash of the 'blue steeple' of the Empire State Building moved closer. It took her mind off the circulating hollowness in her stomach. The commercialism of the whole spectacle: Mars had paid $5,000 for the building to honor a brand new colored sweet in their packets of M & M's. She shook her head: 'Only in Corporate America' - her late husband used to exclaim. On approach to Hell's Kitchen, with the Museum of Modern Art and the Rockefeller Center close by, Gil's presence began to take on many forms: he had always instilled in her the importance of appreciating art and creativity, therefore the area had always been a frequent highlight on their things-to-do lists. These days she mainly visits the area to deposit her "life's journals" into the safe at Bank of America. That's still a creative venture, her thoughts insisted, trying to connect and justify the purpose of her visits.

Upon passing Lincoln Square she was aware of the location of "Strawberry Fields" just off Central Park West: a special place in which she and Gil had attended the inauguration ceremony 10 years ago. A warmth generated from her smile inside the cushioning of the motorcycle helmet. But the moistening tension inside her gloves began to spread; her thoughts turned to the gold band on the third finger of her left hand. She rarely wore her actual wedding ring: a 15 carat diamond that highlighted her birthstone of Aries. Gil had placed it on her finger on her 18th birthday back in 1986. He'd advised her not to wear it while she was undertaking her training at the Auto Center, therefore he purchased an alternative ring for her to wear during the working day. It was this particular gold band that had gone missing five years ago. The one currently on her finger was a replacement.

The Harley's journey along Amsterdam Avenue into Washington Heights was more like the road to 'infinity', during which time the warm swell of her left breast against the Beretta was in direct contrast to its 'cold' warrant of destiny. Whoever heard of a gun vying for the attention of your heart?! Her mind racing. The illuminated sign belonging to the club known as 'Silks' was now in view. The clock face attached to the sign offered her a greeting with the reassurance of its hands: 9:47 - her mind registered. She had taken the decision not to wear her watch - the less apparel the better. Steering the machine off the road toward the cordoned off parking zone, she was met by one of the bouncers who discreetly acknowledged her as he untied the ribbon allowing her to maneuver into the space. Looking over at the main front doors she noticed several people being greeted by the other bouncers as she eased into the dimly lit passage that led to the fire exit in the alley. The assurance had already been given that the main exit gate would be accessible. Turning off the Harley's engine, she connected with the thudding music from inside the club: the dance beat of Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night". It was probably one of the few modern day dance tracks she'd ever appreciated.

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