I went to meet Vincent at a little bar in the Lower East Side. I really liked his way. Always making quips, keeping it light, full of confidence. I wouldn’t exactly say he was sweet, just substantial.

We had a few bevvies then he told me his friends wanted to catch up with him and meet us wherever we were. No worries there.
He kept talking about his friend, Aaron and their long history.
Turns out he meant Erin.

While Erin was on her way he remarked that strangely, Erin and I were very similar looking and there had been some sexual tension between them for some time. Well… on his side anyway.

As Erin walked in the bar Vincent planted one on me. It was an utterly unremarkable kiss, completely dispassionate.

I wanted to get outta there. The next half hour was so awkward it made me itchy. I offered everyone a cigarette and stole my chance: I paid the tab and legged it. As I was going, Vincent road blocked me and stuffed some cash in my breast pocket. He went in for another kiss. I would have felt more sizzle kissing a subway poster. I’m not saying it was all his fault, it takes two after all.

I checked my pocket a few minutes later and found $100.

Well. I thought, I sure earned that money.

I sent him a reassuring text: the chemistry was not just on his side, I say go for it! Sometimes people just need a little push.

On my way home I stopped in at my favorite bar. JnoK, his wife and A were there. Boy, were we all happy to see each other. It was excellent being around people I loved and who loved me. I told them about Vincent and we all laughed until our eyeballs hurt. Outside, I told JnoK about my shoes and Marvin and like all my good friends, he gave me a serve. Apparently “sorry” only gets a gal so far where men were concerned. What a nice man he was, not just caring for me but also caring that I am kind to others. These people had seen me at my worst and they still loved me to death. My loyalty had no limit where they were concerned.

We sat at our usual spot at the bar. JnoK’s wife had a drink which came with a maraschino cherry. I told them about A and his knots. Before long the whole gang of us including the bar staff had cherry stems in our mouths. It’s much harder than you’d think! I finally got it though and proudly displayed my handiwork. We all touched each other and smiled, I loved these moments. I was committing it to memory, conscious of the fact that this was the happiest I’d been in weeks. J was dancing and acting crazy behind the bar.

“That’s what I call peacocking……. stiletto heel.”

JnoK wasn’t going to let anything slide tonight.

I left at around 2 and completely satisfied, walked home with a stupid smile on my face. I loved them. I could be myself around them. They were beautiful.

The next day, I had to finish a paper I’d been working on. That week I had been working until 1 am every night with my laptop on my knee, books and research papers spread across the bed and my little boy nestled in bed next to me. There simply hadn’t been room for anything or anyone else.

Saturday night, H had been in contact. Could I please come out and see her? I had planned on spending at least another 3 hours writing but by some miracle I knocked the whole thing off at around 10. She was alone out there in the Big Smoke (although H is never alone, really) nursing a glass of wine, and well who was I to let her down? She’d be gone in 2 weeks and time with her was precious.

I met her at Marvin’s room. She was glowy as usual. H is definitely my type of woman, she’s got her own thing going on, I loved the way she flicked her hair to the side. She was strong and vulnerable at the same time which to me is just pure human. When H and I hit the town it seems we can get anything we want, she’s that enigmatic. Marvin introduced us to a group of Austrian siblings having a family holiday in NYC. H was already great chums with all of them. Without asking, the big brother helped me remove my coat. I was amazed and charmed by this small gesture. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used to doing things on my own; even when someone holds the subway doors open for me I feel so incredibly grateful, always touched. So taking my coat was a penultimate act of generosity to me.

Plus, he was dressed beautifully. Understated, simple, clean. We all socialized together and enjoyed each other’s company. They were friendly. I liked them. I stroked the older sisters’ hair. I couldn’t help myself and I really mean that. I felt compelled by a little force within to do it as inappropriately intimate as it was. It was soft and lovely. I saw the big brother doing it too, brushing it off her shoulder, running his hand down the length of it. Again I found something in this that moved me. Small, considerate, caring gestures, intimacy outside a sexual origin. I was transfixed.

We left Marvin’s room and went downstairs to the big room to dance. Somehow big brother and I were separated from the women. We seized the moment and kissed. It was very nice, he felt nice, he was nice. We all danced a little, he touched my body, firm and gentle. We all agreed to go back up to Marvin’s room and at that moment H and I lost all three of the Austrians. H and I didn’t mind at all.

We stayed there for a little while even after it closed then we went back downstairs this time with Marvin. H and I were standing on the landing and I felt some arms around me from behind. The brother had returned. Lovely! I had a little moment where I felt crowded in. I wanted him to get off me. I hate being held from behind, it makes me feel like I’m being restrained. I turned around to say something and he beamed so I laughed. I was deliriously tired and he made me smile.

That room shut down too. H and I made our way to the front doors. It was a bit busy and chaotic. I saw the brother at the door. He wanted me to go home with him. But there was H and Marvin. Marvin gave me a smile which, is his way.

More on that later.

We poured H into a cab and Marvin took the train with me. Poor bastard could have gotten to my place or even his 3 times faster on his bike. He told me if he didn’t physically get on the train with me I’d get lost or fall down the steps or well, whatever typical thing. He let me put my head on his shoulder. He’d do the thinking for me and it would be ok. This was another kindness that took me aback. The idea of someone taking a share of even the smallest of my responsibilities (getting home) was extraordinary. I moved from a state of rock to sand.

More on that later.

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