The World’s Best

You texted me late last night and I didn’t respond for a whole six hours.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see you.
But in usual form, I responded. The exchange that followed went on as if nothing was wrong.
I can’t resist you no matter how hard I try. 
We do this. 
We fight and we move on. 
Like it never happened. 
Maybe there’s something to be said for that.

I haven’t told people I’ve been seeing you again. It’s my secret. My secret source of joy and sadness all wrapped up in one. I derive pleasure out of being tortured and it’s all the more sweeter because it’s not supposed to be.
Everybody says don’t. 
But I’m not listening. 
I’m not listening to them. 
I’m listening to me.

I’m in rehearsal all day. I am focused. I am present. But somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder what you’re planning.
You love having a plan.
I love trying to figure out the plan. 
If I ask enough questions or catch you off guard, you’ll cave. 
You can’t resist me either.
At least the lack of resistance goes both ways.

A few hours and I’ve worn you down. You tell me we’re going to the fried chicken place down the street from my apartment.
Come again?
This was our first “date night” in a while. I knew you had plans later on in the night so it made sense that we weren’t doing anything crazy but I was hoping we’d at least go somewhere that I don’t order delivery from on a regular basis. Alas, I love fried chicken so I try to get on board with it.
We decide to meet there. I time my arrival so I’ll be the second one there but you still haven’t figured out which trains stop where so you’re a little behind. At this point, I’m ravenous. I take myself for a walk around the block and buy Reese’s peanut butter cups at the closest Duane Reade. Because that makes sense.
You catch me crossing the street eating said peanut butter cup. You smile and starting laughing. You look at me and say, “What are you doing? You’re ridiculous. I love you.”
And just like that, you melted my heart. 
The one that I have been steeling against you. 
You put your arm around my waist. 
You hold the door. 
I didn’t stand a chance.

You order a bottle of rosé and give back the food menus. The rosé is confusing. It’s dark and fruity but light. An unexpected combination. Like us. The lack of food happening is also confusing.
I thought we were having dinner? 
I’m fucking starving.

We finish half the bottle and you’re pulling out your phone to call for a car to take us somewhere else.
So now it’s around 4:45pm and I haven’t had a proper meal all day. That rosé hits me fast and now I’m chatting idly about nothing important. You just listen.
I can feel you smiling. 
You sit close to me. 
You put your arm around me. 
You pull me closer. 
You press your nose to the side of my face. 
It feels right.
It feels so damn good.
And now I care less about what’s coming next. I stop trying to figure it out. I just want to live in this moment of us. I don’t want to think about what’s best for me or what the future looks like or what everyone else says.
We get out of the car and start walking. You tell me we’re going to Shake Shack. Cute! I love burgers and I love fries and I love you. But you steer me past the start of the line. We walk across the park and stop in front of a building I don’t recognize.
I look up and we’re standing in front of the best restaurant in the world.
It’s Eleven Madison Park.
“We’re having dinner here??”
I look at your face. You are very pleased with my reaction. You got me good.
I’m so surprised. 
I can’t believe it.
I’m not confused anymore.
I’m so happy I could cry.
This is exactly where I want to be.
There is a small group of people waiting outside the restaurant. We are all waiting for the doors to open. Bar seats are limited and a hot commodity. It’s also the last week of service before they close for the summer.
The doors open. We walk in and grab two seats at the end of the bar. I spend the next five minutes turned around in my barstool trying to take it all in. The dining room is stunning. The massive windows look out on the park and the tall ceilings make the whole space feel grand as hell. The army of a staff is circled in the back of the dining room. They’re doing their pre-shift meeting. A manager walks into the circle, says something, and the entire staff calls back, “Good evening.”

Holy shit.
The meal is a dream. It’s a retrospective tasting menu of the most iconic dishes of years past. Each course is a knockout. Every plate, every bite, every sip is perfect.
Before dessert, I decide I want bubbles. I opt for the cheapest sparkling option. The bartender pours me a taste and before the glass touches my lips you ask him if I can also taste the one of the champagnes.
A few seconds later, I’m sipping a very fine, very expensive glass of champagne.
Like all good things, the meal eventually ends. You don’t even let me see the check, which is probably for the best because I might have gone into a state of shock. On the way out, perhaps to soften the blow from how much money you just spent, each guest is thanked profusely and given a small gift- a jar of granola for breakfast the next day.
I love fine dining.
We get to the train and you go your own way.
My heart sinks a little when you leave.
Is that silly?
I never want this night to end.
I want to do it all over again.

It’s a beautiful evening so I decide to walk home.
Somewhere between the Flatiron building and my apartment I make a decision.
Everybody says don’t. 
But I’m not listening.
I’m not listening to them.
I’m listening to me.
I will surrender to love.

I ate that granola for breakfast every morning for the next few days.
Never have I loved a jar of granola more.

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