The man behind me asked if I had ever tried a kale muffin. I replied no and he hadn’t either. He offered to split one as he sat down next to me on a bench. I figured why not when he broke it in half and handed me a section. We silently chewed and both gave nods of approval. Honestly, it didn’t taste like anything other than a muffin, but it did have a curious green color.
I still had time to kill before my break was over. I looked up from my watch when he asked me where I was from, if I was visiting. I told him I had only been here two weeks and loved every minute. His eyes became skeptical when he questioned why I moved to New York. Which is a fair inquiry. One I tended to dodge every time it came up. There isn’t really a reason and I just told him because it was time. He followed up if it was result of a boy. A typical reaction question I’ve been running into. I laughed and said no, it was just time.
It was the same conversation I’ve had with almost every stranger I’ve met. And I don’t know if I disappoint them or not. If they wanted some great love story or heartbreak. A story of triumph or failure leaving everything behind to pursue the one passion that can only exist in New York. But, no. It was merely time. I wasn’t trying to reinvent myself or mend shattered glass. I was ready to encounter another landscape. To float under trains, hidden beneath a sea of people with inquisitive hands.
He told me it had to be about a guy. That it’s rare to find someone whose eyes are full and willing to speak candidly to strangers. Only people in love burst at seams to spread their energy to whoever is around. I said, maybe but it doesn’t matter. I am here now and who knows where any of them are. They are minutes, miles, stories away. I don’t think he liked my response because he furrowed his eyebrows.
What the hell did he want me to say? That I’d give anything for him to me next to me? Because that would be a lie. It would be great for him to be here or me for me to be there. But that wasn’t reality. Reality is I left and there are people you meet at strange times. When you’ve stopped caring and let your soul amble by. They restart the fire to show you something. That you aren’t alone. The magnifying glass on stars seeing the burning bits of galaxies in each other. Of course I wanted more and to even at the least bit try. However, there are questions with answers I already know and for once I’d rather stay in the wonder then let the door be bolted in my face.
I realized I was thinking too much when I finally felt his eyes burning into my skull. I said I wasn’t concerned about dating, just about finding a job that is more than a job to me. Fantasizing wants still left me in a park splitting a kale muffin with a stranger. Therapy I guessed.
I looked at my watch and I was already late returning from my break on my first day. I thanked the stranger again. He thanked me for conversation. As I walked away he called after me to keep my feet off the ground. There was something intriguing about people who can’t be weighed down.