So my friend and I were supposed to watch “What If”, a movie that’s been out for weeks already, but somehow, after dinner, at the last showing, the movie was sold out. It has been, a long time since I’ve ever gone to a showing that was sold out, especially with me being on the outside of it. To say the least, I was annoyed, 90% because I really wanted to see the movie (I love me a good indie rom-com), 10% because we had gone to Duane Reade and bought enough candy to last us the movie. Walking away with a bag of Starburst tucked under my shirt was not my plan, but that’s what ended up happening. After stepping out, she decided that since the night was pretty amazing, we should walk down to the Freedom Tower, because neither of us have seen it yet, and when it’s a nice summer night out in New York City, there is a strange compulsion to wander aimlessly.
I don’t remember how long it took us to walk down there, but I do remember us talking about the nature of science, my repeated rebuttals of anything calling psychology a science, but most importantly, it was almost like a guided tour of her time in the city, where she lived, where she went out, her favorite spots, it was her own history, writ onto the city. Then, we ended up down in the Financial District. What they don’t tell you is how quiet it is. For the city that doesn’t sleep, FiDi on a Friday night sure seems like it. We ended up at a fountain, where we saw a homeless man lying down staring up at the sky. This was obviously the move to follow, so we found a spot and laid down on the marble fountain and just looked up to admire the view. Sadly, the only things we could see were airplanes, and the North Star. The light given off by the oh so picturesque skyline washes out most, if not all of the starlight. While we were lying there gazing up through the buildings I told her how much I missed home, where I could actually see the stars, amongst the fireflies dotting my yard. It was a really surreal experience, being alone downtown with a random tourist, a hobo, and a friend talking about whether we could see the stars, were they possibly moving, or if we were actually witnessing UFOs (the answer was no). At this point you probably think that I’m in love with this girl, and I am a bit, but not in that way.
If I was in this position even two or three years ago, I guarantee you that I would’ve been in actual romantic love with this girl. I think a big difference from the growth between being a boy and being a man is knowing how to be friends with the opposite sex. I think when I was younger, everything would blur together, mistaking the desire to spend time with each other for actual desire. As I got older, I realized that attraction isn’t about what’s there, and what’s easy in front of you, but it’s what you actually want. When you start seeing women as people, instead of being defined by their sex, you realize a whole new breadth of understanding for the frustration they go through. Some guys never go through that transition, and I feel bad for them, and even worse, I feel bad for the women in their lives.
And so, after emulating the homeless guy at a random fountain, we started our way back some 40 blocks back to our respective apartments. I don’t think the term ‘stargazing’ has ever been more accurate. We saw a single, solitary star, that for sure we thought was an airplane, because we thought it was moving, or that it was some comet, because, sadly neither of us are astronomers. As we meandered off-balance on the way back, half from the blood still being in our heads from lying inverted, half from the three bags of candy we consumed, it was comforting, knowing that for all of the emptiness that exists in FiDi on a Friday night, you could still hear a pair of idiots laughing and talking about how wonderful it was to be alive in New York City at that one exact moment.