Whan Zephyrus eek with his sweete breath
The weather is approaching something that one might call spring, if one was feeling generous. And given the gruesome toll this winter has taken on us all, it is perhaps not surprising to find that even in New York, we have been taken over by something like giddiness.
On my way home from work, walking across 35th street to the subway, I passed a woman in a white tulle dress holding hands with a man in a dark blue suit, ducking under the scaffolding, just the two of them, fielding congratulations on their wedding from total strangers all the way up the block. As I pass, I watch them beaming at each other and hear them chorus “thank yous” all the way up the street.
On the subway, people were smiling at a small and exuberant child. At rush hour. ON THE SUBWAY. No one ever smiles on the subway.
I stopped at the corner store we call Food Panther (it is actually called Food Train. It’s kind of a long story) for the third day in a row to buy juice for the sick people who live in my apartment. (Today at work I confessed to my boss that I was considering sleeping under my desk to avoid the plague). It is usually fairly quiet at that time of day but today I counted six people wandering through the bouquets of flowers outside the shop, looking for the perfect thing.
In front of the fancy restaurant that’s supposed to be the best in the neighborhood (although by whose standards I am not certain), I spy a middle-aged man holding a paper-wrapped bouquet. He is trying not to pace, checking his phone nervously and every now and then, stopping to smell whatever is inside his paper cone. It is a first date or a proposal. I’m not sure which. I hope she doesn’t stand him up.
From my apartment window, I watch the pink clouds curling toward the spires of Manhattan deepen and darken until there is nothing left but the lights to remind us of the city, a glittering crown over the brownstone landscape. And even then, after dark, I still hear the squeak of a swing in the playground at the end of the block, an invitation that will go unanswered tonight.