Town and Country and I head down the stairs and back into the dining room. Between the dining table and patio doors to the garden is a couch FILLED with sport coats, blazers, and jackets. Town and Country studies the collection, selects one, pulls it on and escorts me out of the house. By the time we are on the sidewalk, I have pulled my grey hoodie sweatshirt on and think we look so mismatched. He looks like a businessman and I look like some struggling artist.
We walk a few blocks, the night air is cool, but not cold. Summer tumbling into fall is my favorite time of the year. Town and Country pulls open the door to a French restaurant and it smells delicious in here.
“Table for two,” he tells the host who immediately seats us. I presume since this in walking distance to his house he comes here often. Just like the steakhouse we went to the first day we met.
We get seated, the waiter comes and Town and Country orders two glasses of red wine, one for him, one for me. I open the menu and survey the salads. “What will you have?” he asks. “Garden salad,” I reply and set the menu aside. “That’s it?” he asks. “Yes,” I reply. I already ate, but I am not going to tell him that. “You must have something else,” he insists. Hhhmm, he is not someone who likes to be challenged. “Okay – escargot,” I reply.
“Good. I was beginning to think you were no longer eating. You look thin,” he replies. Okay. I am not skinny. I am not fat, but I would never describe myself as slim or thin. When the waiter returns Town and Country orders the salad, escargot and cassoulet. And a second round of wine to come with dinner.
“How is packing coming along?” he asks. “Fine,” I reply. “Need any help?” he asks. “I think I am okay – just need an apartment,” I reply. “Can I take a rain check should I think of something?” “Sure,” he replies. “And you still want to stay in New York?” he asks. “Yes. I am definitely not going back to Minnesota,” I reply. “What about someplace else?” he asks. “Like London that I cannot afford?” I ask. “I was thinking California,” he replies. “No thanks. The West Coast is not for me. Too laid back,” I reply.
“I don’t like living here,” he replies. “Then why do you stay here?” I ask. “My company needs to be NYC based to be legitimate. But someday I am going to leave. The people here are inconsiderate. The City is dirty and noisy and stressful. It is not much of a life to live here,” he says. Interesting. While I agree the City is noisy, dirty and stressful, I don’t dislike the people or the life. “I like it here. I fit in,” I say.
“Why do you think you fit in?” he asks curiously. “Nobody here asks why I am not married. Nobody judges me for being single. You don’t have to apologize for being successful here because New York is about money. No one is judged for being a cocktail waitress or CEO. You can be honest here in way you cannot in places like Minneapolis or New Delhi.” “This is important to you? Fitting in?” he asks. “No, feeling like this is home, that this is where I belong – that is important to me,” I reply.
The escargot, bread and salad come and we eat for a few silent moments. “And you want to get married?” he asks. “Yes, eventually,” I reply and dip bread into the garlicky butter sauce. “Why?” he asks. “I want a companion,” I reply. “You can have that without getting married,” he replies.
He is right. Except I want the real deal.
To be cont.