( Here's the sequel to "What A Friday Night" )
Many more phone calls were made and returned. Each night, the topic would shift from general to a more particular to a rather personal one. At times, it was casual, then contemplative, and so on.
Exactly a week later, Ces and I agreed to take our nightly marathon phone sessions out. She suggested Manhattan.
Barely three weeks now in New York, the farthest point I have managed to reach myself alone was some three blocks away from my rented apartment in Queens, New York. Delighted to see her again, I jumped to my feet in concession. “Sure! Manhattan”, I said.
Down the subway station on 74th and Roosevelt, I hurried to the stairs and figured out how to get to Manhattan. People were frantic to catch their trains for work. Men bound for Wall Street wore black suits despite the soggy weather condition. Girls clad in minis or shorts would assault the train doors.Their nickel-tanned legs exposed to the delight of the feasting perverts. Novelty folk singers braved the heat for some bucks. And because it was summer, our collective body heat and the suffocating enclosures of the subway station made me sweat profusely. Actually, it was more of my dreaded thought of riding the train alone and the fact that I have never been to Manhattan myself was the précised reason.
On board the train, I waited for 42nd Time Square Station to appear outside the train window. Many stops gone by until the train finally came to a halt at Times Square. I was debating myself if I were on the right track. Ces made reference to those familiar streets in passing when she decided to meet me at Barnes and Noble bookstore.
Aroused by the thought of seeing her for the second time since we’ve first met, I avoided protestation over where we should meet. I gallantly accepted Manhattan in spite of it all. Ces has called New York her home for a good reasonable years now and the thought of having an unofficial tour guide was twice the fun.
Inside the bookstore, my mind was racing full throttle. I was rehearsing my “hi’s” and “hello’s”. I grabbed some art books but not necessarily reading them. Haltingly, I would wonder what inspired da Vinci to paint his Mona Lisa and recalled my visit to Musee du Louvre in Paris where the painting hung in despicable power. Rumor has it that Mona Lisa is da Vinci himself disguised as woman. Many believe the master himself is gay. Hell! I could care less.
From Mona Lisa to Marilyn Monroe, Ces was nowhere in sight fifteen minutes later. My fear was building up when my cell phone rang. “Where are you?”, Ces asked me inquisitively. “I’m here at Barnes. Groundfloor…art section.”, I said triumphantly. “How come I don’t see you?”, she said in return. Then she continued, “Are you on 42nd and Broadway”?
I hurried to the door and alas! No. I told her I am in front of this and at the back of that. “You are eight long blocks away”, she said gravely. I knew I was bad at directions - and this one was a testament to that claim.
“Stay right where you are. Wait for me until I get there”, she said. I obliged like a footsoldier to his general. I felt so sorry for her and wanted to bury my face in between Hitler’s and Osama bin Laden’s biographical books. It’s just cruel to even think about these two loathsome characters in the annals of world history, but their appropriateness fit the penalty of my offense of letting Ces walk the distance.
After having to say I’m sorry, I wanted to disappear completely. But she was gracious enough to accept my mile-long apology. She was reassuring. All the more, I was enthralled to her. And with a snap of fingers, she motioned me to hit the door. I followed suit. And all I remembered was the cover page of that voluminous book on John, Paul, George, and Ringo, crossing the pedestrian lane in Liverpool.
Our first stop was Chevy’s - a Mexican bar/restaurant not too far from Barnes. It was half-empty at 3:00 pm. We settled ourselves onto a tall table designed to be narrow enough for two people. It was my choice, of course. I was glad it didn’t matter to her. In half an hour, I drained two glasses of margaritas and dug some tacos and taquitos from my platter. She emptied a bottle of water all at once before she even managed to fork a tiny bit of guacamole. It must be the walking, I thought.
In the next one hour, I annihilated the conversation. She began by asking me to define economics from the point of view of an MBA student. Inspired and thirst for her attention, I began my lecture on how Alexander Hamilton transformed the agricultural America that was ferociously defended by Thomas Jefferson into a manufacturing society. My last topic for that day was the inception of Starbucks from its origin in Seattle, Washington to the Forbidden City of China. When I finally asked for the check, I was already holding her hands in disbelief. PART III IS COMING UP...
- ▼ 2009 (48)
( Here's the sequel to "What A Friday Night" )