The Weeklies: April 14 - 20
On Sunday I turned over in bed, the sound of my phone buzzing and light coming through the second floor spare room balcony door. I was still in Washington D.C. at Philippa and Benjamin's townhouse. Miraculously, I didn't have a hangover. My hands smelled like wood and smoke -- a reminder of the nice dinner we had in their backyard.
Philippa's husband made us Turkish coffee (I made a faux pas in asking for cream). We sat round the table talking for hours, and at noon, Kennedy and I took a car to a brunch reservation at The Salt Line. We got a table on the back porch with views of the Potomac. There was just enough sun, but it wasn't as warm as the day before.
We ate our lobster rolls and downed our day-drinks in time to make our three o'clock bus. We said our goodbyes to Kennedy from the window of the cab, but of course, I wished I had more time.
It was a six hour ride to New York. Somewhere in Jersey the air condition on the bus disappeared. We made a stop and the driver announced that the coolant ran out. The other passengers, mostly Quebecois, waited on the curb, smoking cigarettes.
In New York the bus made a stop in midtown and most of the passengers emptied out besides Kennedy and I. The bus was going downtown, and it was so high up from the ground that the view was spectacular. All the streets rolled by and I thought "I should take a photo" but instead I just enjoyed it.
At 8-something in the evening I took a car from the bus station home. My Lyft driver smiled when I got in.
"You just got off the bus?" he asked.
"Yeah, it was so long and horrible," I said.
He laughed. "They always are. I had a friend who drove one of those buses. It's crazy, man."
"No wifi and the outlets didn't work," I said. The driver threw back is head and laughed even louder.
We started talking about driving for a car company verses driving for a bus. "Sometimes its tough," he said. "Sometimes girls get drunk and pass out and you don't want to be the person helping them out because they'll wake up and think you did something. I had a girl last week, luckily she had a doorman, he tried to get her out of the cab and her dress went up over her head! She didn't have underwear on! I saw everything."
"No wonder my mom is always telling me to wear underwear!" I said.
"Are you from the south?" he laughed.
"Oh yeah, all the parents lecture you in the south about 'wearing the proper foundations,'" I said, explaining that by "foundations" they meant bras, panties, slips, and other fat-sucking, skin-tight doohickeys.
He asked what I did for a living. He'd picked up a lot of people who also work in magazines and newspapers and dished out all the gossip he had. In the middle of some really juicy gossip the car rolled to a stop at my house, and I never got to hear the rest of his stories.
On Monday when I heard the news about the fire at Notre Dame I immediately texted Henri. The first time I went to Paris I stayed in an apartment not far from Notre Dame (just a few steps away, close enough to hear the bells ringing). One morning we took a photo outside.
"Do you remember all the time we spent there?" I wrote to him.
"Yes, I was just thinking about it," he wrote back.
Saturday morning I zig-zagged through midtown. It was raining, not a polite drizzle, but a downpour. My insides were anxious, my stomach jumped. I sat in my doctor's waiting room and couldn't even look at my phone and I hadn't been sleeping soundly. I saw the doctor then I had a quick, somewhat painful biopsy. Alistair met me afterward on the corner of 42nd and Madison. It was still raining.
We walked south down Fifth Avenue. It was comforting to see crowds of tourists waiting for the main branch of the public library to open. We stopped in Muji then we walked to Times Square to get pastries and a loaf of my favorite bread at Paris Baguette. I had a few pains and a little discomfort for the rest of the day so Alistair spoiled me with pizza from Emily and I binged watched "Collateral." We had cocktails in the evening since it was allowed.
I called my mother to tell her how it went. "You needed your mother there," she said mournfully.
As I write this on Sunday, the pain has gone but I'm still nervous and anxious. Even if it was a common, unserious (at this stage) biopsy; I'm fearful and distracted and it might turn out to be nothing at all.