I took an individually wrapped toothpick from the stack as we walked out of the restaurant onto Hudson Street. I knew you would want it.
“How did you know I’d want this?”
“Well, don’t you?”
“A toothpick, you kidding me?”
I knew you would want it, because I’ve known you for so long.
I know I can wash my feet at your apartment without having to explain myself. On separate occasions, I have sent you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, a scene from Black Swan as written by Nora Ephron, and a pair of red adult-sized footy pajamas. I didn’t worry you’d think it was weird. I never worry you will think I’m weird, because I’ve known you for so long.
I know you will fall asleep with a book on your chest every night. I know you need to put on your glasses to hear me better. I know the scar by your eye is from when an older kid broke a bottle and jabbed you with it, because it just wasn’t difficult enough to grow up poor in the Bronx. I know you worry about me a lot and you probably always will, because I’ve known you for so long.
I know you’ll always bring one extra earplug to every concert we go to together. I know that when you moved out of our apartment, after I had moved out almost a year earlier, the place was completely empty except for cleaning supplies and a box of tissues, because you knew I would cry, and I did. I know you used to get drunk and call your sister halfway around the world. I know you would tell her not to steal your dog’s spots because you had counted them all and you’d know if one was missing. I know you’ll always know what’s missing, because I’ve known you for so long.
I know you love the sound of a pumpkin being carved. I know you have an enormous fear of repeating yourself. I know that when you were little you played a game that you and your brother innocently called “Jews in the attic”, before your horrified parents explained to you why you could never, ever call it that again. I know you know how to make grog and you don’t know that grog is disgusting. I know all of this, because I’ve known you for so long.
I know your favorite snack is pretzels and orange juice. I know that you hate being hot. I know what you looked like as a baby. I know we were walking across west 79th street from Central Park when I told you my first girlfriend was my girlfriend not my girl, friend. You said, “Oh I know.” I knew you would know. I knew you would know, because I’ve known you for so long.
I know the first words I ever said to you. I know you think you like only milk in your coffee, but you also like sugar. You think you don’t like sugar in your coffee, but I know you actually do like it, because I’ve been secretly putting it into your coffee for years. I just want the world to be a spoonful sweeter for you.
I know you won’t be mad about the sugar thing. I know you will never, ever remember to wipe down the sink when you’re done. I know you like to kiss me with your lips slightly parted. I know you always want to do the right thing. I know you will always love me, even when you’re no longer IN love with me.
This is the best part about getting older. This is the best part about still being here. I’ve known you all for so long. I’ve loved you all for so long.