3 days. 3 magical days without my children. Without my husband. Without my responsibilities.
With my best friend in the world, whom I’ve barely seen in the last decade.
It. Was. Glorious.
“What do you want to do?,” she asked, from her groovy Brooklyn apartment. “Do you want to see a Broadway show? Or the Statue of Liberty?”
“I want… I want… to sleep. I want to sit down, and drink coffee, with no one asking me to do anything.”
She laughed, and it was settled. Her Mom had told her in advance she mustn’t ask me to make any decisions during my visit– that motherhood called for endless decision-making, and I deserved a break.
That was the best advice ever.
Of course, we didn’t do nothing. We sat on the couch and drank buckets of wine and looked at her amazing photos of India and Bhutan- and who knew that people in Bhutan paint enormous pictures of penises above their doors to ward off bad spirits? How practical! And how delicious to drink our wine and eat our enormous wedges of Trader Joe’s cheese on crackers, and be 13 again.
And in the morning we drank coffee in a laid back Brooklyn cafe, where the adorable server wore thick black-rimmed glasses and sang loudly to the radio, danced, and tickled up our pan au chocolates with lots of extra nuts.
And the days went by this way, walking all over the city- watching kids ice skate for the first time at Rockefeller Center, their little limbs flailing, their parents laughing. Watching scores of runners whiz by us in Central Park while we strolled at a leisurely pace. Having peachy cocktails in a tiny, swanky bar in the West Village, then big plates of steamers, calamari, and fish tacos at Mary’s Fish Camp (with perfectly paired wine) before hitting the Magnolia Bakery for very yummy, very purple, cupcakes.
Out and about with not a care in the world. Pointing at the window displays in all the fancy stores, dying at the skimpiest, sparkliest garments. Walking through the secret neighborhoods, by the gorgeous red Brownstones, ducking into courtyards, side streets, gardens. Around the block, over the bridge, through Chinatown and back.
And everyone we met was friendly, everyone gave directions, smiled. There was an optimism in New York City– everywhere I went in New York City– I didn’t expect, and really loved.
And when we were exhausted from all that walking, we headed to Hell’s Kitchen, ducked into an Ethiopian restaurant, and ate a meal that blew my mind. And at the end of the meal, a little boy toddled over, and looked up at me with his huge brown eyes and talked my ear off in Ethiopian, and I wanted to scoop him up and take him home with me, along with all of NYC.
And then we were done with the city, back on the couch, talking and talking and telling stories we hadn’t told, and when my friend left for bed in the wee hours, I laid on the couch, and tired as I was, I still stayed awake, laughing and laughing until I couldn’t breathe, remembering the stories she’d told me– nobody makes me laugh like that girl makes me laugh.
And now I’m home, with a graveyard cough I should really get checked out, piles of laundry, and manifold things I won’t get to today. But I don’t care. I had a marvelous time.
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