I am not usually walking near Union Square on a Friday night, but my hair had just been platinumed, and my arms were full of baguette and brioche from a favorite bakery, and the city sidewalks, busy sidewalks were dressed in holiday style, and I looked up and saw a sign for oysters. Just then, a friend and her husband back from traveling in Southeast Asia walked by - in a city of 8 million, New York is often the biggest small town in the world - and I called her name. They were off to pick up one hundred oysters from a rooftop, she explained. Could I join them? I could. But her new white Vespa would only fit two of us.
He looked from her to me to her, recognizing the smiles we were tucking in the corners of our mouths to hide. He knows by now we cannot check our glee and made his goodbyes. We unlocked the bike and rode the outside of cobblestones and stone pavers until we found the address. When the right elevator opened (only one goes to the roof), country was playing, beer chests were open, and there was the soft scrape of the oyster knife shucking.
The farmer from Providence held one out for each of us, briny and strong. I slurped and looked out beyond the orange crates at the Manhattan skyline. She collected her hundred that will hold until Christmas, and we were back at street level, moving the motorcycle jacket from the helmet case to under the seat, nestling the oysters into the case and zipping the baguette into my bag. There are more direct paths, but we went through the Lower East Side and the light garlands of Chinatown, over the Manhattan Bridge as the Statue of Liberty receded, through quiet Boerum Hill and Park Slope and into my Prospect Heights neighborhood.
She thought we should open a dozen and expertly pulled on my mesh glove, arranging them on a large plate. I popped a bottle of champagne and watched as the foam disappeared in the thin Japanese tumblers etched with vines. Pouring a little into a shallow dish, I added vinegar, salt, minced shallot and stirred. We spooned the mignonette on the oysters, toasted to the new year, broke the baguette and spread pieces thickly with butter, not bothering with plates. We made predictions. We discussed how I route my desire into cities, her new work about warmth, whether I should visit an old lover in Uruguay. We decided that either way we would meet up in Buenos Aires. We decided another dozen would be lovely. When all the shells were flipped and the baguette in crumbs, we went out on the stoop and listened as a group harmonized from an open window a few doors down.
She messaged me later to say I might consider buying a helmet. And that, as I sit at the breakfast table eating pink praline brioche and swirling the last of the champagne, seems to me a very good idea.
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."