On a cloud- clotted Thursday afternoon, I sat alone on a bench outside a coffee shop during my lunch break from the gallery. A book on minimalism was perched on one of my knees while I read the obituaries from the times on my phone. I was reading an especially interesting one about an influential typographer when I received a text message from Martin. "Hello Rachel, I was in the city for the purposes of work today and I was wondering if you would like to get a drink with me tonight," it read, in green luminous helvetica. That evening I was planning on going out to the Meatball Shop on Stanton street for dinner with Meagan and Camille, so I invited Martin to come along.
Hours passed slowly. The glare of computers, whiteness, and cloud- filtered sunlight spurred an ache in my skull. I was manning the desk at the front of the gallery alone today, and answering questions about the video installation we currently had displayed was tiring. Eventually the day ended and I rushed home to change.
When I entered the dark loft I realized I was the first person home. I threw my leather bag on the coffee table, amongst the scattered magazines, crosswords, and charming coffee stains. I shook off my wedges and plugged an ipod that was laying around, possibly Savannah's, playing it on everything shuffle. The music snuck up on me like a rat in the subway. "..... SHUT UP AND LET ME GO," the Ting Tings shouted to me as I massaged my feet in the dark.
"WHAAT. GTFO." I yelled to no one, shuffling in my socks to switch the song. "BAH THIS NEEDS TO LEAVE NOW WHAT IS GOING ON IT WON'T SKIP WHAT THE HAYULL--"
"HELLO WHAT IS GOING ON" Meagan said, announcing her entrance into the house with chiming keys.
"HELLO THE IPOD WON'T SKIP AND THIS SONG IS FREAKING ME OUT," I shook the gadget out of the plug with an unpleasant speaker sound. The amount of effort I used in yanking the ipod away backfired, and I slipped onto my knees.
"What what? are you praying now?" Meagan said, warming up the coffee machine.
"CAN YA JUST SHUT UP AND LET ME HAVE MY MOMENT OK--" It took me a few minutes to rise again and regain the amount of sanity I had before.
"I heard a rumor that Martin is going to dinner with us," Mea plugged in her iPod and turned on Wiz Khalifa.
"WHY ARE YOU KILLING MY EARS WITH ALL THIS SHIZA. and yes."
"FINE I WILL CHANGE IT. and yay Martin," She changed the song to Turtleneck and Chain and then sat on the couch to read a magazine.
Cam returned home soon after our Music Dilemma. We left the house at eight and met Martin at Stanton Street at eight thirty.
"Martin hello!" I said, greeting him as he waited outside in the throng of Hip People.
"Rachel! Quite a place you have chosen for us, I see.." He trailed off.
"This place has amazing balls and also the scene is very entertaining. Too hip to exist." I said.
"Yes, this place doesn't really exist," Mea responded.
"Hush, Mea," I shot her a sarcastic look.
We waited a while and then were seated in a table between a Japanese couple taking pictures of their food with their 35mm cameras and two male models who looked overly familiar. Martin told us a detailed story about the memoir he is editing, from an investigative journalist.
"Anyway, so I met with this guy today," Martin said, sipping his foamy beer. "It would be more appropriate to call him a character, not a guy. His house is in Dumbo, a beautiful apartment looking over the Manhattan bridge. The windows are amazing. He used to be married, but when he got divorced he started building things, like full on, scaled architectural models of houses he remembered from growing up. He's in his fifties now, and he's writing about trying to recall the places he went as a kid."
"Whoa, that's so interesting. So he tries to visualize things he can barely remember?" I asked.
"Yes. Basically he thinks that by building models he can focus on uncovering small details about visual memories, and then larger aspects will fall into place. Then from there he thinks actual memories will come back to him."
"But does it actually work?" Cam said, swallowing a bite.
"Sometimes." Martin laughed. "It's an interesting theory but we're trying to smooth over the problems in it."
The conversation transitioned to talking about summer travel plans, parents, the last Xavier Dolan film. We left and went to Epstein's Bar, the small bar next door that played muted skateboard films and Wavves music.
"When do you leave the city?" I asked Martin, taking the last sip of my second beer.
"Tomorrow in the late afternoon. Probably." He said, smiling widely when he said probably.
"You won't stay a few more days?" I said, practically slurred.
"I've got nowhere to go!"
"You can stay with us!" Camille chimed in.
"We only have five people in our loft already, we can throw in an extra," Meagan said, swallowing a gulp of her drink.
"I wouldn't want to invade... but I would want to stay in the city until the weekend at least.."
"Do it martina!" I said, followed by laughter from the table.
"Why am I Martina? What did I do to deserve this?" Martin laughed.
We walked back home to the Bowery, greeted by a few peeing homeless guys and some people throwing trash around. It was late and some of us had work the next day, but I didn't. Martin came over as well. We sat on the couch talking until three in the morning, and then he said he had to go back to the hotel his company got him a room in, the comically hip Jane Hotel.
"Why don't you stay?" I said, hardly hesitant.
"Stay? But all of my things are at the hotel."
"You could stay, though. Get them tomorrow."
"Where would I sleep?" He asked.
"Why are you asking that? You are making things more awkward." I laughed.