Monday morning in New York, two and a half weeks after saying goodbye, I waited in the hotel lobby for the group. He was the first to come down. Big grins and kisses on the cheek. For the most part, the day passed like any other, and yet we had our moments. Walking up Fifth Avenue, he told me how he went to an experimental concert in Chinatown the night before, and I pointed out the Paris Theatre where I'd seen A Very Long Engagement twice. At a bar that night, he and I played foosball against my colleague and his fellow Hungarian. We may have won two of three games, though I can't be sure. Another coworker, aware of my crush and now slightly inebriated, sing-songed at me. One of his groupmates asked if I thought he, the Hungarian, was cute. I'd like to think we were more subtle than that, but perhaps we were just that obvious.
After our tour of the O'Keeffe exhibit the next day, he asked me to lunch. We ended up eating with the larger group but no matter. I was then off to an old standby cafe to do some work, and he tagged along, despite his reluctance to hop on the subway downtown. On that rainy afternoon, over two cups, we talked and talked for hours until he asked me to dinner. We made the 40 block trek back to the hotel arm in arm, stopping for a compost cookie along the way. Changed and refreshed, we made our way back downtown (let's be real, I don't know of anything above 14th). And at the counter of a trendy cafe, about to order, he kissed me. We shared our meals in couple fashion and then got a drink on Ludlow before calling it a night close to midnight. Though I've never been one for public displays of affection, I admit, I was completely swept up in us. There are worse sights.
He hadn't been to New York in almost 15 years, and we still spent all of Wednesday together. Me, writing down math formulas, him, answering emails in a different language on my laptop. Beside each other on a bench, splitting a grilled cheese and tomato soup, I played with his hair, and he stroked my knee. Hours later, it was time to meet Lauren E., but he still had work to do. Without thinking, I offered to let him use my computer while he stayed with a friend that night. He protested, but I countered with: "why rely on that person when you can rely on this person?" Suffice it to say, my dear friend was startled to see me walk into Le Pain (late) hand in hand with him.
"I didn't know you were bringing someone."So he did. Call me presumptuous, but I think she found him charming. And he is. After all, I did spend 36 hours with him.
"He's just leaving; he's borrowing my computer."
"I could stay for a coffee..."
Thursday night, he and his friend joined me and mine for a reading/anniversary celebration of a friend's wonderful literary culture blog. We kissed hello, locked eyes often, reached out for each other whenever that happened (also often), and kissed goodbye. Waiting for the subway, an old high school friend, whom I hadn't seen in years until that night, asked about him.
"Is that K guy your boyfriend?"
"No, I met him three weeks ago."