We walked through the crowded city streets. Water floated in the air, neither falling nor climbing, merely hanging. I imagined this suspended rain to be the home decor of one whose head lived in the clouds. It would certainly be a dreary way to experience life, constantly running into droplets of water.
As we made our way through the East Village my head swayed on its swivel. 695 was the magic number. We’d been searching for this Japanese place for only a few minutes, but it was unimaginably difficult paying attention to addresses. All we wanted to do was laugh. But alas, we were stuck searching for numbers in a sea of words. Or at least it would seem accordingly so, despite the widespread lack of numerals found on the storefronts and frontdoors of the buildings on 5th Street.
720. Damn. We turned around and laughed some more. We agreed we’d have to pay attention now because we were both beginning to crave supper. We counted down like a dyslexic couple on New Year’s, celebrating loudly at 695. I opened the door for the lady and we took our coats off. The place was small, but obviously upscale. The decor was modern and the lines along the walls stretched symmetrically, further than the eye cared to see. Immediately, the comforting aroma of homemade miso made its way to my nose. I smiled and looked for the waiter.
A taught, strict, and ponytailed Japanese man seated us in our recently assembled “custom” table. No more than a wedge behind the cash register, our seat was a semi-obtrusive, lane-blocking last minute addition to an already skinny restaurant. We didn’t care. In fact, we laughed.
The meal came and it went. Descriptions were unnecessary because really we weren’t paying attention. All we wanted was a plane ticket to anywhere, a trip for an evening, maybe a few days. Just some respite from the city. The lonely city filled with millions. We could relax. Joke. Even banter. We gawked and criticized, poked and profiled. We took in all the sights. By the time our check came we were one foot out the door, money tossed on the table.
I held out my arm and she threaded it like a needled. We swayed up and down the avenue. Hideout to hideout.
It wasn’t ever about the destination. It was always about the ride.