It all started with the coca tea from Ecuador. What a fucking zinger. Like a natural shot of espresso. FYI-I’ve never sniffed coke. The night is full of the eccentric; the minority.
I met a scientist at a pregame she hosted in her LES apartment. Super tiny tenement on Stanton that’s been modernized, modified, and gentrified. A scientist. White female, mid thirties? Light brown, long hair. East villagey type–artsy, sciencey, drug induced, new-school LES resident. Cool chick. Met the new age version of my uncle, “Sleep”. NYC native, black kid on a bike. Super chill, no structure- that’s how I imagine him when my parents recount their own LES memories. Not my usual bunch here, but I’m always excited to meet new people. It’s usually a breath of fresh air, but not always. You’ll get the vibes.
After a couple of blunts, some Jameson and Jack, I’m ready to feel air. The pregame is still going strong, so I part ways. New plan: meet up with my roommate, take our asses home.
Too bad my roommate’s chauffeur tonight is from upstate and doesn’t know his way around the city streets. Apparently my roommate’s no good with directions either so it takes them 20 minutes to get from ninth street to first. Hint: go down eight blocks.
In the meantime I decide to wait at the picnic tables outside of a popular lounge on first ave.
There’s a guy sitting at the same table on the phone with whom I’m assuming are his friends. In a mix of conscious and subconscious action, I throw just my left leg over the bench in a straddling position, my tote resting between my legs.
“Where are your friends?” I ask when he hangs up. I guess he wasn’t expecting that because he seemed thrown off. He tells me they’re inside while nervously reaching for his cigarettes. After a lingering moment he asks “you smoke?” holding the box out to me.
“Good”, he chuckles, then proceeds to light his own.
He asked about my friend’s whereabouts and I told him I was waiting on my roommate. I remember him making a comment that implied he could tell where I’m from. So why’d he ask me?
“No, guess. Where do you think I’m from?”
“Give me a hint”
“Well, you obviously thought you knew, so what’d you have in mind?”
He took his time though. I didn’t give him any hints but he was smart. He asked questions. Specifically about the kind of music I liked, and he listened actively to my accent. He guessed I was “definitely from the city somewhere” meaning Manhattan, and we got into the techically’s of that answer. Then I asked if he was from New York. We have SO many transplants, and not that he stood out as a non-native, but there was def something about him that made me unsure. “Upstate, honestly”, he replied, “Westchester”. I learned he just moved here recently so I knew he was loving this city shit. He admitted he was. I’m sure he has a good sense of how I feel about it all, too.
His boys eventually came out, and immediately start giving him shit about how fly his new apartment is, apparently. He’s adorably modest, almost embarrassed about being put on the spot, probably especially right in front of me. They congregate for a bit longer, and he eventually comes back over to bid me farewell.
He takes my hand and wishes for me to get home safe. At that point we finally introduce ourselves by name.
Sam- so sweet, so simple.
Tishely- so beautifully, and intensely, complex.
“So you aren’t gonna take my number?” I ask him. And I think I surprised him again because he looked a little taken aback. I don’t know if that’s good but I wasn’t gonna not offer to stay in touch after we so seamlessly connected.
He quickly collected himself as I waited for his words. “Yes, yeah. I’ll take your number”
“You don’t have to”, I added. I’m not trying to force the issue. For all I know he could have a girlfriend. He probably does.
I put my info into his phone, then he grabbed my hand and kissed it good night. Imagine that? For a few minutes it all made me feel like a smitten kitten as I watched him catch up with his bros and jump on one of their backs, I guess in excitement.
We just met, but so far we’ve got the potential for a beautiful love story. Even if it ends right here.
Update: It ended right there.