there’s a burger in your pocket
October 27, 2009 § Leave a comment
When we found each other, I’d venture into the streets of New York, stumbling along after the warm up drinks, fumbling text messages back and forth with him. Until, somehow, I’d end up at one of three bars. Central Bar. Bar None. Finnerty’s. All within walking distance of each other, and maybe, more important to him, all within walking distance of Blue 9 Burger.
An exchange of where’s and who’s and what’s, and I would fall out of a cab at a moment’s notice. Then, I’d strut inside and glance around, focusing more on my peripheral vision — for some reason trying not to look him in the eye until he’d spot me first. And of course he’d be red-faced and smiling. Not hiding his gladness in that gentle, genuinely happy to see you, cannot believe you actually came type of smile as he sat on a bench with another guy, who — once I arrived — became second string to my presence. I’d be drunk, and we’d slur words to each other. I never really remembered anything we talked about, but I knew we were both smiling the entire time.
Then, we’d find ourselves at Blue 9 Burger, smiles and glances over a bun and a greasy beef patty. The genuinely glad you’re here type of smile. The genuinely glad I’m here with you type of smile.
That first time, I’d hardly eaten, and I wrapped the remaining half and put it in my pocket to bring home. He walked me home that night. Might’ve been the first of many nights. Walking me home in the twilight of the East Village.
The day after, I found a burger in my pocket. And a I’m so glad that happened smile washed over my face. Because I found a burger from Blue 9 in my pocket. The hilarity still gets me today. A friend would remind me, “There was a burger in your pocket.”
But that’s where the love story trickled on. And I can show you the many kinds of smiles I’ve learned since then.