It threatened rain so I brought my umbrella. But I usually carried my umbrella with me anyway; a city habit, I called it. By subscribing to this behavior, I saved myself the indignity of getting surprise-soaked, or losing five bucks to the “street umbrellas” which looked about as cheap and lasted about as long as their price tag implied.
That evening it had already rained somewhere else, hours before or slightly earlier and minutes away from the first glass of wine. I waited, curious, because I believed I still smelled like the rosemary lamb that I cooked for the week, or later that evening, or before I had left the house. I figured one drink, after all. A cardigan hung over my chair for if it became chilly, an umbrella, because the rain was forecast. I really wanted a Manhattan.
I wore my Dr. Martens because I had recently purchased them. They were comfortable,they were the hard exterior that I could not project; a hurdle, an understanding and a part of an identity that had quietly grown in the silent subway rides home. Like the ubiquitous purse umbrella, they became a city habit.
You came in and I recognized you immediately from online photographs and yjourneys and heated discussions, both impassioned and thunderous. As we sat and adjusted ourselves in that moment, tour conversational orb of light illuminated the bar space (that didn’t serve food) and I felt warm. Shy in the glow, I hoped I didn’t show it. But you knew and I knew that we’d been here before. There was the déjà vu and a round of Manhattans. Straight up. Your hair fell right, your hands moved and animated your words. I’d read some of these words on the page and in awe, I talked about mutually understood topics. About life and others and how nothing is simple, but everything really is. Of philosophy and music and time and death and religion.
And so I grabbed your hand when it felt right. We’d already been holding hands in some other atmosphere, on a beach, on a plane, across a table lit with candles and small laughing voices. We didn’t know it yet.
Later, your hand held my umbrella, earlier, as we walked home,your hand was still in mine. Across the swirls of existence, we touched, and those forever moments grounded us in shared experience.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”