Living in New York I’m blessed to be able to go to some of the greatest repositories of art and natural science in the world. There’s something ethereal when it comes to going to the Met at night. The museum usually closes at 5pm, so you’re never really able to take a peek at what magnificence comes out once the sun sets. I always feel like if there’s a chance to look behind the curtains, you should take it. So when you get an invitation to go to a party at the Met after hours, you take the invitation.
I always feel like when there’s a party at one of these sorts of places, it should be black-tie. If you’re not worried that the Joker is going to rob the joint, you’re not doing it right. However, the attire for this party was ‘summer chic’ (which is not a thing) so that was a bit of a let down, but still summer chic it was. I interpreted that as dressing up like some twat who rents a house in the Hamptons and lives his entire summer for White Parties. Challenge accepted.
It’s an incredible thing, walking into the atrium of the Met, even on a normal day. When the sun is slowly setting with Central Park in the background, and the fountains are gently lit the air takes a different feel, almost a fantastical one. As you ascend the stairs, you see other people dressed well, huddled in their own conversations, sitting on top of the famous steps, it’s as if you’re stepping into a movie. When you step into the threshold of the museum and the high vaulted ceilings come into view you realize that you can’t take the night for granted.
Sophia and I dated in high school, and it’s amazing to think that over ten years later I’d be bringing her to a party at the Met. I’ve been lucky enough that of the women I’ve dated, none of the breakups having been because of something done out of malice by one side or the other. Sometimes things fall apart, and that’s awful, but that’s also a fact of life. It hurts, but you get over it eventually and like the saying goes, time heals all wounds. For me, whenever you let someone in like that, no matter how insignificant it may seem, I think you never really shake that connection. I’m not saying that you’ll always be romantically bound to them, but I think there’s always going to be a bit of nostalgia.
After high school Sophia and I took very different paths. As such, we ended up in very different places. Seeing her after so long was definitely a shock. She looked exactly the same, I…certainly hoped that I looked a little different from high school. I’m not going to lie, the setting definitely added something to the reunion, how could it not?
As we wandered through a labyrinth of antiquities, we caught up. It’s funny how you try to boil down a decade’s worth of stories and life experiences and yet somehow you mostly just talk about ‘what ifs’ and memories from way back when. Her mom is still slightly peeved that I promised to teach her how to use chopsticks and never followed through. She asked me about dating in New York, I asked her about being in a long-term relationship. We joked about having immense pride on our Jersey licenses, and also being thankful to all the powers that be that we weren’t from Pennsylvania. The evening started off a little awkward, because when you haven’t laid eyes on someone in that long, I think that’s human nature. But the minutes and hours went by and laughs were shared over the ridiculous (there was some sort of naked CGI Jesus breakdancing that was projected on the walls) as well as snide comments shared over the liberal application of the dress code (there was a dude there in jean cutoffs). Years melted away and you remember the reason why you wanted to spend time with them in the first place. I’ll stop you here and tell you that there was no grand re-ignition of hidden feelings, nothing sweepingly romantic that happened. Rather though, it was akin to finding an old friend, and that in itself is a triumph.
As the flow of drinks ebbed and the music died down, Sophia and I slipped out and grabbed a cab. She had to be at work the next morning and you never want to be the last one left at those things anyways. I’m not going to lie, there were definitely some stares as we got out of the taxi at 11pm at Penn Station dressed the way we were and even more as I helped her down the stairs to make her train. As she got on her train back home and I started my walk across 34th Street back to my apartment I wondered how long was this going to last? People fade away, and who knows when would be the next time I talked to her, or even see her. Another month? Another year? Another decade? But that’s how things go, for better or worse I can’t say that I have a plan, but it’s good to know that friends, no matter how old, stay just that, friends. If nothing else, we’ll both always remember naked CGI Jesus, I’m pretty sure that’s seared into our memories.
Oh and Sophia, tell your mom that I’m sorry I never taught her to master chopsticks but if she still wants to learn, I owe her a lesson. It’s the least I can do.