If you compress the events of last week into one sentence it looks like a joke: they fixed the ceiling, we threw a dinner party, I cracked a tooth over breakfast and spit out an off-white chunk into my hand (revealing that it was a vertical crack, split down the middle of my molar), I helped some tourists find their way to Amy Ruth's, I met a memoirist I like and made a fool of myself.
But the punchline is more illusive than the set up. If the essay doesn’t have a conclusion, why write it at all except to convey an atomsophere? And that’s all I’ve got for this week. A bunch of stories with nothing decided at the end.
Sunday morning I waited around on the sofa for the super to come and finish the ceiling. They finally arrived at one o'clock and worked till 3. The result: a puffy cloud like pattern of fresh drywall on the ceiling.
“Next week we paint,” he said.
I headed directly from home to the boyfriend's house to prep for our dinner party. We were having my sister and her boyfriend over and needed at least 10 hours minimum to cook and marinate the Cabernet Sauvignon Short Ribs. It was a patchy day -- a little cooking, a bit of television, and sushi lunch. By seven o'clock the smell of roast meat wafted through the living room and kitchen and my sister and her boyfriend both were enjoying wine and salad. In the middle of dinner my boyfriend received an invitation for us both to visit and stay with his friends in Orient, N.Y. Considering how much I love the area, I was thrilled.
There was nothing of note Monday besides my weekly writing group.
As I wrote before, Tuesday was a surprise. Like every nightmare I've ever had, one of my teeth fell out of my mouth during breakfast. It was a vertical split down the middle and sharp enough that it hurt my tongue. I suffered through meals all week until Thursday, when finally I purchased a piece of temporary filling. With hands that shook, I plunged a piece of the putty substance into my broken tooth while praying Dear God, let this work.
Thursday night I went shopping and on my way home, two women stopped me in the train station.
"Does this train go to Harlem?" one of them asked.
"Where do you want to go?" I asked.
"Amy Ruth's," she said. Oh of course, I thought, and directed them to take the 3 train with me. We ended up sitting together, and told me that they were visiting for an Urban League conference, only in town for a few days, from Kansas City and Ft. Lauderdale. Both were in their fifties, dressed in the standard tourist attire (read: comfort). One of them worked as a counselor to students from low income families, which I found very admirable.
They asked me about my life and I asked what they had gotten to do in the city so far (just Times Square). I tried my best not to push any conversation, as I have a habit of filling silences with chatter but lately, as I get into my "give no f#@$! days" I just sit in silence when I have nothing else to say. Then suddenly one of them said:
"Well, I suppose living here is a fun exciting thing to do for awhile...it's good you have this experience, temporarily...do you have any kids? Are there any smooth talking men? I hope you stay away from them....that magazine you work for, is it a good, clean, magazine? Nothing too gossipy and immoral, right? Do you have a car? Well, I suppose you don't need one..."
I got off at 96 and instructed them to get off in a few more stops. Then I wished them well.
"God keeps sending us angels," one of them said as I exited. I stepped out onto the platform and laughed.
Friday night my boyfriend and I rented a car for our weekend trip. We took the West Side Highway south at sunset. In the morning we set off East, making stops along the North Fork for lunch and dinner supplies. Every little town reminded me of the last time I was in the North Fork: the infamous trip to Shelter Island with Harry.
Late that night, I climbed into bed and told the boyfriend: "I have to do some writing." I fell asleep without doing it.