We sat at a narrow two-top. My friend saw something unwater-like in her glass, and she apologized as she asked the server for another. We ate arugula and homemade pasta and drank midday champagne. We discussed the parts of our bodies growing beyond our control and the fear we felt. The fear that comes when in your twenties you hear your doctor say cancer. We discussed friendships. The kind that just are - like ours - those that feel comfortable and supportive even after time and distance have removed regular maintenance, and the kind of friendships that seem to be but moments like "maybe cancer" prove are not. We discussed our love for New York and writing, and how they complement and challenge each other in this place brimming with inspiration, opportunity, and meager savings accounts. And predictably, we arrived where every not-yet-thriving artist's mind wanders: stay, pay, and struggle or flee, prosper, and settle?
A couple of inches separated us from another two-top with two women. They had Italian accents and hair that's texture indicated age and dye. One wore pale glasses. She apologized for eavesdropping as she spoke with urgency, "I just have to share that my biggest regret in life is leaving New York. Please think hard before making that choice." Having abandoned a rent-controlled apartment in Queens, she now lives in Fort Lauderdale.
My friend and I rose from our chairs and zipped our coats. As we left, I heard the woman say, "Goodbye girls, have fun with your lives!"