We arrange to meet on E 9th Street.
My phone unexpectedly dies before I can figure out the cross-street.
I get in a cab and give the driver half of my location.
"Do you want me to take you to E 9th Street?" he asks.
"Do you know where this restaurant is exactly?" I ask.
"Do you want me to take you to E 9th Street?" he asks again.
As our conversation circles and the driver navigates across town, I realize I no longer know whether or not he is trying to be funny or is genuinely frustrated with me. I consider getting out of the cab and asking someone at a café or retail store to please, can you help me find-
"Do you want me to take you to E 9th Street?"
We arrive at exactly where I want to be. I get out of the cab still unsure as to whether or not we had fun or frustration on the ride.
I am early, I am tired, I feel sick.
My phone is still dead.
Inside the tiny restaurant that barely seats six people, I ask if I can plug in to charge please, I'm meeting someone-
A cook happily obliges and sets me up next to the register.
What goes wrong gets righted with help.
When we leave the restaurant, we are both tired and it is getting chilly so we head to a bar below the street. A red velvet rope blocks off the main room in the back from the entryway with the bathrooms. We don't wait long before being shown to two seats at the end of the low bar inside, spotlit by warm lights. The room is full but not stuffy, and smells like toasted rice. Sake is their specialty, and I suggest choosing which English description best profiles each of us: creamy & delicate; aged & rich; with the aftertaste of strawberries.
Sharpie and other ink permanence is written on all the surfaces. I cannot find the marker I think I have in my bag, so instead I carve my name into the bar.
On the way to the subway I take his arm. I mention suitors. I say I enjoy seeing him but that I am not seeing him. He asks me if I am asking questions or making statements. He says he isn't sure what to say to what I am saying. I am not sure what I want to say, I say.
I did not have any sake at the bar.
He says I am welcome to come over.
I still feel sick.
Or I can come over tomorrow.
We are both still tired.
I want to go back and find my name carved in the bar.