About a 2 months ago I wandered blurred eyed, cramped pains, ruffled hair and dragon breath into Malaparte in the West Village. Periods can be an awful beast! My eyes locked with one of the workers and my mood instantly changed. And with a quick trip to the bathroom…. so did I. Hair smoothed, mouth washed out, makeup under the eyes… removed. Start again!
It was crowded and threatening rain so a seat at the bar was the obvious choice. When I emerged from the bathroom after “fixing” myself the open seat had been filled. I was handsomely escorted outside to brave the weather since this was my first request anyway. There was only 1 umbrella covered table and it was occupied. There were no indivual lights on the tables as previuosly described to me and the air was thick on this early August evening.
I had revisited this restaurant after walking by a few weeks before and speaking with this lovely hostess for a some time. She was the reason I came back. Her spirit and humor put me in a friendly space. I may have found a new reason… or 2. The vegetarian lasagna being one of them… yum!! YUM!! holy crap yum! And one of the owners… super YUM!!!
Long locks pulled in low pony, sparking eyes and a cool, calm demeanor. I was hanging out for sure! I had nowhere else to go. I had napped too long to want to spend my night indoors, the beautiful garden at my apartment was dark and soon to be drenched so… I stayed. And stayed. And stayed. I was basicall alone in dark but I didn’t mind because I had an envelope and a pen.
I wrote out my thoughts, frustrations, desires. And when I ran out of space, I was brought some paper by the waiter. Drips of warm water dropped upon my white table cloth, missing the ink from my thoughts. A few others braved the weather though under the umbrella. Every once in a while… HE would take a breath from the chaos inside.
It took a while, maybe an hour or two. I was a sort of respite it seemed. He would step closer with each break, inquiring of my writings, commenting on my next step of drawing comparing it to an artist he knew of; making sure I was well taken care of. At one point one of the bussers were sent out to hold my umbrella while it rained on my meal. He shared bits from his life each time my pen was placed on the table. A brother who’s successful and sister who’s not as happy with her decisions and him in the middle, grown up in Italy and the mid-west. A bond was forming of some sort; a trust. I felt this with each person that shared with me in various capacities in the almost 6 hours spent dining.
When I left, most of the employees gave me hugs but he stood at the register counting the days’ profits. I was sure that he would follow me out and ask for my number or race after the pink umbrella like in the movies. I got all the way home. Alone.
A couple days later after a long search, weeks, for this particular west Village coffee shop that seemed to disappear when walking west to east, it happened. I was grimy and disheveled from a yoga class and a summer walk… I found it! Jack’s on 10th! And as I walked in… there he was staring at me. My crush! What are the odds? The one day I actually find the joint and he’s sitting right there. Not at place down the street from his resturaunt or close to his home but the one place I’ve been in search of… amazing! One may even call… fate!
He walked me out and we talked all the way to the corner where we split ways… again with no number exchange. He seemed interested still. Why does he not ask me for my number? Maybe he’s shy.
A few days go by and I am a few hours from heading to JFK to go back to LA. My time was up and I was going home. I felt it necessary to write a Thank You note to the restaurant for taking such great care of me the night I was there. Well, that and to show them all how wonderful kind and thoughtful I was. I know this not even too deep down. I was grateful, though for the warmth and family like acceptance I felt so every one I was in contact with, got a personalized note of gratitude. HE was no exception and not an obsession though he was dreamy! I let them know I’d be back in a few weeks and thanks for the times spent so far! I was regretting that there was no contact info left for me, in case he DID want to reach me for some reason; no last name… ok… could be a bit creepy as I think about it now.. my thoughts not gesture.
When I get back to NYC a couple weeks later and wait another week or so… of course I stop by the place thinking there would be this wonderful reunion and everyone would thank me for the kind note and he’s have missed me and thought of what a fool he was for not making a move…ok, sometimes I live in fantasy because not only was the reception cold… no one remembered me at all. At least not what I looked like. I was told by the bartender that the note was sitting on the register and no one was too sure who wrote it. I knew the guy who held my umbrella, the hostess and HIM… knew who I was. Of course, the hostess was let go and the busser was back in Italy.
Now I feel a bit foolish as I had brought a friend, whom I told about the place and who had visited while I was away so they know her but not me. Great impression I made, huh? I didn’t even get a “hello” from him or as much as a glance. I did get a “oh, you look a bit different, you’re back”. Not the warm reception I was hoping for; that I had built up in my head!
I went back one more time a month or so later and was greeted with the same vacant excitement.
I saw him a couple days ago while I was crossing town and he was on his bike. I almost called out to him but what was the point? so instead, I went to the restaurant later that night to ask him some stupid question and I could feel the “you’re creepy” vibe coming from him as he couldn’t get away from me fast enough, barely making eye contact, short choppy answers and I was out of there! What’s the point? Crush? Crushed! OR Reality in check! Next!!