We walked out of the building and into the light summer rain. I stayed slightly behind him, letting him lead the way – I was still getting used to being downtown. He was wearing his signatures, as always: a plaid shirt – today’s blue and green – and his photochromic(more) glasses, which darkened with every springy step. The place we were headed to wasn’t far from where we worked and we arrived in a matter of minutes, glad to get out of the mostly bothersome drizzle the sky relentlessly continued to spew. We both ordered sandwiches – his with roast beef, mine with turkey – and took a seat at a mint green booth by the window. He stared straight at me, his usual cheery demeanor suddenly gone. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” he said with unwavering eye contact. There was a beat as my eyes roamed the space, then came back to his. I wondered how I could take him seriously. “At the deli?” I smirked.(less)
At the deli I contemplate my order. It seems of utmost importance that I get it just right, that my decision is inclusive and satisfying and it seems that whether I choose turkey or ham, mustard or mayo, tomato or lettuce will determine how well I know myself, how(more) good my day will be.
And so I get consumed with pointless minutiae. Little decisions amass to larger ones and I agonize over them. I ruminate over which of two identical shirts to purchase, picking up one and accessing it. I try to see how it feels, if it feels any different then the other. Then I hold the other, weight in my hands shifting, fingers running along it, my mind trying to solve some strange equation of 'rightness' that clearly does not exist.
I have become too aware of my senses. I feel the greatest emotion at such tiny things. I am so very conscious of the sensation of how light hits my eyes, creating gradations of color the zoom in and out. The smoothness of a glass table evokes in me a feeling of quiet calm, as if connecting my flesh to something solid changes me in some small way.
Even my analyzation of this strange focus on details is itself petty, a meta-thought that folds in on itself with abandon. My words are hollow and my language is plain...but at least I am writing. At least my fingers are connecting with keys and eking out some thought from my mind. At least I am thinking. At least I am expressing. At least some repetitive thought has been momentarily excised from my brain and placed onto a screen, words that exist outside myself, my emotions, my thoughts that fade like wind. At least that, for it is a relief. (less)
"What will you have?" The man asked behind the counter. He rubbed his hands against an old, ragged white towel that had seen better days. His brown, tired eyes shifted to me before addressing the customer ahead of me.
(more) "I'll have half a pound of the sliced chicken breast and that,"--he pointed over to the selection of cheeses, "--provolone, if you have it, please."
He went about his business as I watched the man in front of me shuffle through his iPhone, bored. He wore that iconic hipster hat and khaki shorts, his legs, displaying sufficient hair to note that he was definitely of the male persuasion.
He had his headphones in, lost in the music and was too occupied to appreciate the old-feel to the deli shop, circa 1960's. Unlike most delis, Marty's was unique and was favored among the locals in the busy Brooklyn area. I occasionally chanced across it when I was on my way to Central Park.
The tall male silently glanced my way before shifting his eyes to his iPhone. What could be so fascinating that he couldn't even take the time to appreciate the relaxed nature of the deli shop? A smirk graced his face as something appeared on the screen of his sleek phone, before smoothing his fingers across the keypad in response. I had the distinct impression that it was more for show on my part than anything else.
He glanced at me again and then up at the deli man, as he handed him his purchases, before leaving. As he passed by me, he gave me a cocky smile that had me bristling at the very nature of it. The deli man, bald and short in stature, witnessing it all, shook his head and smiled, as he walked away. (less)