Monday, August 04, 2008

Love on a Friday in Manhattan

The West Village is crowded with Friday revelers, and we wander the streets hand in hand. There is a man playing a piano in the middle of a square, and we laugh as we imagine him pushing his piano down Sixth Avenue every day so he can play for the crowds. “I’ll bet he lives on the first floor,” you say.

It’s been so long since I’ve been to Bleecker Street. I forgot how much I missed shuffling along the sidewalk and peering into the shop windows. It seems I can smell everything these days; exhaust and coffee and pizza and something sweet, too. I inhale deeply.

Near Thompson Street, a group of men stand outside a closed storefront, singing their hearts out for the passersby. We squeeze past a group of tourists, an old woman wearing a wig, a tall skinny girl covered in tattoos.

Later, we share a plate of fried oysters, a lobster roll. We hold hands across the table and I steal sips of your white wine. As we’re leaving, the waitress’s eyes flick to my swollen belly.

“When’s the baby coming?” she asks.

“Any minute now, according to the doctor,” I say.

Her face lights up. “A Leo baby!” she exclaims, then bids us good luck as we step outside, where dusk is settling over Cornelia Street, and everything is tinged with purple.

A contraction creeps across my belly and we both put our hands on it until it fades away. Is this it? we wonder every time.

On the subway home, the blasting air conditioning is a relief. I sit and you stand, hanging onto the bar and smiling down at me. The subway doors open and close, everyone settles into their seats. I rest my hands on my belly, and the baby gives me a nudge, which never fails to delight me. You reach out and touch my hair and we share a secret smile.

Any moment could be the moment.

Soon, we’ll be a family.