So a few months after the husband moves out, when the fancy couple offers the wife their pied-à-terre in the East Village for a longer stay, she’s down there with the dog and a suitcase the next day. Welcome home, they tell her. It is understood that this place to stay isn’t forever, but it’s also understood now that nothing is.
And then here comes her old buddy who has moved back to New York right at this same time after twenty years away, and he crashes in the East Village apartment with her and ends up staying, and the additional lodger is deemed just fine by the fancy couple. It’s kind of what they do. They live in Jersey, they lend out their place in the city. Their very large two-bedroom in the city, who even knows how many square feet, one thousand, four thousand? The ceilings, with the original crown moldings, are high, maybe twelve feet, maybe twenty-five? The bathroom is a legit spa, from where we’re coming. Anyway, her buddy is from Ohio, this guy is fully in love with New York, and it’s a bit contagious; part of her is like Okay but look at all the trash/it’s so crowded/you don’t understand, it’s where I’m from, think of it as Ohio, and he’s like Nobody stays in Ohio who has any sense, she’s like I’m just saying I had to leave, sometimes you have to leave where you’re from, and he’s like Okay, so, you left, and now you’re back, and she’s like But I can’t afford it, and he’s like But you are affording it. Look at us. We live in the East Village and we have our bagel shop a block away and we have our deli down the block and we have a movie theater down the block, we have a meeting house two blocks away, our friends are here, we have CENTRAL PARK uptown, we have everything we need.
When she was growing up, Central Park was not her favorite place. Central Park was about muggings and drug dealers and preppy killers and guys masturbating under trees. She tended to avoid it. She lived closer to Riverside Park, and it wasn’t like they didn’t have most of those same things over there too, but that’s where she went sledding and played with her friends and ran away to, with nothing but a Partridge Family lunch box, that one afternoon in third grade because she was a lonely latchkey kid and no one understood her (she went home and no one was the wiser and having a roof seemed like a good swap out for being understood). Now her old buddy says Let’s get coffee and walk through Central Park with my kid today, let’s walk through Central Park with our friends today, and they walk through Central Park with the kid or their friends and they stop to watch performers, or they sit by the fountain, or they go down Poet’s Walk, or they complain about the stupid new skinny buildings casting stupid shadows on Sheep Meadow but see that it’s still so beautiful, and she sees it through different eyes, a little. A little. A little.