She noticed him in the line first. Probably because he was alone like her.
Drowsy on all the airtime, a meander through Central Park led her to a warmer, darker place in an attempt to rejuvenate.
She had been watching the locals play baseball, and the families biking by together. Their easy banter reminded her to stand up tall in her solitude, get used to not having somebody to bounce off.
The following days were for finding comfort and control in that solitude, but now, sitting in the theatre, he was sitting beside her.
Maybe he was even more crushed than she was, because – looking at the igneous rocks, learning about the deep depths of the ocean – she was aware of him in every room and she didn’t think he noticed her, and because she was beginning to accept the idea that she would be alright after everything that happened in January. Still, ending up at the same point wasn’t intentional, and him cracking a joke was unexpected.
Jon. Jon Galt. It sounded familiar. Jon bought her coffee. She didn’t expect that they would walk until nightfall through Central Park. Especially because she was uncomfortable, feeling as though she couldn’t keep up. He was very Ayn, very Rand. She was spacey, less than twenty four hours off of the plane.
She wasn’t even really aware of some of the places they strolled to that night, giddy on the serendipity of engagement. They wandered by darkened windows hiding glamorous faces, there was Times Square, a tiny bar that promised music and did not deliver – and which had a tragically wonky bathroom, there was a park bench, halal food, buildings aglow with office light.
They ended up sinking beer at what was to her a typical American bar – scratchy wooden benches, more dodgy bathrooms, Blue Moon; while he waited for his turn to take to the stage. There was nowhere else she would have preferred to be.
Nobody knew her here, and so lulling along to the joy of another drink, and another, she was exactly, unabashedly the dreamer she generally was in her head. Who was this man from up North, with such a yearning to labour in the glitzy grime of New York City for a week, exposing his heart through a microphone before heading home to a structured suit?
He was last for the evening, following an act in which the artist’s lips smothered most of his noises purposefully as he jaunted around in the dim light, earning our respect.
Strumming loosely, his voice did waiver a little in the first too-long note. But then it was sweetly rustic, his words coming out decidedly more gritty. Any sudden discomfort disappeared from her.
Proud of this new friend, she was thankful that he was willing to expose his hurt for the both of them. Too much alcohol did not help when her eyes began to prick with tears.
It made sense to her and she did not want it to end.