After five years of taking the Bolt up and down the Northeastern Corridor I have finally mastered doing it with some level of efficiency, an early ticket and an iced coffee from the Dunkin Donuts on 34th Street, a sesame bagel from the guys at the Metro Cafe next door. In the seats directly in front of me, two middle aged men discuss the unnecessary bloating of the Greek government and their plan to read the major newspapers at the cafe in the Boston Public Library once we get there. It is supposed to be one hundred and five degrees.
Before that of course there is the rest of it, a tromp up and down the banks of the Hudson River to visit Marissa in her fairy-princess cottage, the Metro North humming underneath the soles of my feet. We eat lamb sausage and polenta and wait out a thunderstorm in a dive bar where all the beer tastes a little bit like mildew, watching Old School on mute and debating which Wilson is the best Wilson (Sierra says Owen. Marissa says Luke.) I fall asleep on the couch to the noisy hum of the fan by the window, two black cats strolling unconcerned across my back.
There are friends to see and families to check in with; we swim in the pool at Tom’s aunts’ house and have dinner at Tarry Lodge, where I inhale a plate of bolognese that could easily feed three people and accidentally make an enemy of the woman sitting next to me at the bar. I decamp to the porch with my mother, picking at a plastic tub of strawberries that are just slightly overripe. Jackie buys me an Ommegang at Young the Giant in Central Park and we sit on the artificial grass eating organic hot dogs while I tell her the kind of long, convoluted story only your sister really wants to hear, and even then only if you have a certain kind of sister, which I do. They play Strings, which is my favorite and which, in certain contexts, makes me cry like a crazyperson; Jackie sits back down for a minute to rest her ankles, one hand curled around my arm to brace herself.
(“Let’s move back,” Tom says on Monday, and I nod because of course, although behind my sunglasses I am equal parts excited and afraid. It’s coming, of course, the move and the rest of it. All of it is. I never was a patient child.)
“Okay,” the bus driver murmurs in the meantime, shutting the door against the muggy air outside; a woman has run across the street and bought him coffee, cream and a sweet’n'low. A guy in his twenties helps an old lady with her bags. New Yorkers, I think, are nicer than people give them credit for being, unless of course these are not New Yorkers at all. “Time to get out of here.”