I woke up Tuesday morning and imagined myself wearing a suit of armor. Whatever was to come: snide remarks from commuters, fall wind -- I'd be immune to it. I'd push it aside. I'd be protected. For some reason, this worked. I was able to carry myself through the week deflecting. In this way, I was free.
This did not, however, prevent the usual ailments: feeling like my self-esteem was low, for example. On Tuesday afternoon I realized a suit of armor couldn't protect me from the harmful feelings I have about myself. The normal, you're too dumb and stupid and ugly.
Wednesday after work I slipped into Goods for the Study, a McNally Jackson owned stationary store and pen shop. I picked up two cartridges for my fountain pen and went to the register.
"Did you need anything else?" the shopkeeper asked.
"I want something new," I said. I was kind of pleading. She walked me to the shelf and picked up a ball point.
"Have you tried the Monami?" she asked, and handed me a Monami 153 ID in midnight blue. I loved the way it felt in my hand, the weight of it. I tested it on a piece of paper and realized the ink flowed out like butter.
"Nah," I said. Then I shook my head. "I'll take it."
I'm a sucker for fancy pens.
I walked a block down to the McNally Jackson bookstore for a reading. Alistair and I's friend had written his fourth novel so we attended the reading and Q&A and lined up to get our book signed. We had dinner at The Dutch, curled up together at the bar.
Thursday night I met with Alistair again for after-work drinks. I couldn't stop talking about Friday night. One of my closest friends, Suni, was in New York for the week and would be accompany us to the US Premiere of Nico Muhly's opera "Marnie" at the Met. In keeping with my tradition, I try to see as many premieres at the Met as possible. It would be Suni's first time at the opera ever. I kept telling Alistair, "I wish I would have known! I should have taken her to a standard first, like Don Giovannior Carmen."
I could barely contain myself by the time Friday arrived. I met Suni for dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant and walked to the Lincoln Center afterwards. There is nothing like the plaza before a show! Everyone taking selfies, being giddy. Alistair met us and we had champagne before curtain. I'd splurged and got us three seats on the orchestra level.
I told them about the first time I came to the Met for a premiere when I was 23. I thought it was so magical, even if I was all alone and a little nervous about the New York protocol. We laughed when I told them about attending the premiere of Nico Muhly's opera "Two Boys" and how my friend met me during intermission with blood-shot eyes. As the story goes, I asked him: "What's wrong with you?" And he laughed and bobbled his head around and said: "Someone gave me ecstasy."
Believe me, It gets really rowdy sometimes in the Family Circle during Met premieres.
I took everyone to PJ Clarke's after the show, to indulge in another tradition of mine. I ordered a half-dozen oysters, Alistair had salmon and we all drank smoky Negroni's. I was beaming. I was happy. I knew I might wake up with a hangover.
The waiter brought the table next to us a cake with a candle. Everyone assumed it was a birthday but then the waiter announced, "This girl beat cancer!" and everyone applauded. I don't think a moment can be more celebratory than that.