brian/bryan

I finished the last week at my job, and over the next month, I will be leaving my home, my friends, and my city, and these posts will be infrequent as I turn my attention to this transition, but I will keep noticing, as I did last week at a coffee shop in Greenpoint, all of the people who mark me as we touch, and I will keep wanting to share those meetings with you.

 

The coffee shop sits in front of a barbershop in front of a garden where Manhattan Avenue meets McCarren Park, and as I look west up the street, I notice the steeple running parallel with the skyscrapers across the river, and I know how much I'll miss these sights.

"How about an iced mocha?  It's best with almond milk," he offers inside, where I admire the wooden ceiling beams and every other detail from the glass honeycomb jar, to the pale teal barber chairs, and the whimsical "fuck it" mugs.

His name is Brian - maybe with a y - and like the space, he, too, is thoughtful, remembering every detail of what I share - from my name, which matches my home state's, to the reason I am there to the name of my friend, Jenn, who is delayed on a bus from Fort Greene.

In the garden, I sip the mocha through a plastic straw and read a story about a cellist named Emma.   It was published by a small Singaporean press, and I bought it from a store on St. Marks Avenue because I loved how its page numbers were printed vertically, how the paper felt in my hands, and how it fit in my purse.

As I lean back, the trees at opposite ends of the garden appear to be reaching out for one another and touching and touching the sun, which gently burns my skin through the leaves' shade.

"I'm almost there!" Jenn says.  I tell her where to find me - in a garden facing an open cellar and an ivy covered wall - and that Brian will hook her up when she arrives.

She finds me there, sitting on a grey stone ledge, under a tree, my right hand wet with condensation, and she wears a golden skirt that flows to her feet and matches the sun through the trees, and she carries an iced mocha, which she sips through a plastic straw.

She tells me how she walked into the coffee shop, how Brian knew her name and why she was there and just what to make her.  "I told you he'd hook you up," and I knew he would because I have found that that is what this city does.

I continue leaning back on the edge, eyes closed, facing the leaves above me.