Today marks my first two years living in New York City. But that anniversary is secondary. Five years ago today. And the 3rd has fallen on a Sunday again. At this exact moment five years ago, that darkness did not yet exist for me. In another 12-13 more hours, his father would be calling to tell me that he was dead.
I'm still creating coincidences and searching for that connection, which logic tells me does not exist. But as August 3, 2008, drew closer, I was helping plan a baby shower for Mayra, and Natasha invited me to attend a Yankees game - a first for both of us - made even more special by the location of our seats.
Natasha and I spent the three days before Friday's game, bouncing around our apartment, giddy about the idea of sitting in the first row behind home plate for our first-ever Yankees game - and one of the last to ever be played in The House that Ruth Built. We giggled continuously and said corny things sporadically, like "Home plate, baby!" while passing each other in the kitchen. One evening, I walked in the apartment and called out, "Is there a home plate ticket holder in the house?"
And as Mayra's baby shower approached, I became increasingly busier with last minute preparations and shopping for gifts on her registry. Ra and I met at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square after work one evening and wandered aimlessly in the babies section. Sifting through the endless options of bottles, diapers, teethers and care kits was overwhelming, to say the least. I highly recommend it as an effective form of birth control. As we were exiting the store with our purchases (including a large, boxed high chair), Ra - slightly frustrated by the complicated shopping spree - mentioned that we should probably catch a taxi to my apartment. I replied that we probably wouldn't be able to catch a cab in Midtown at that hour, to which she exclaimed in horror, "Oh no! What are we going to do?"
I looked back at the genuine expression of repulsion on her face, her body hunched by the weight of Toys "R" Us shopping bags, and we both died laughing. Unable to catch an available taxi from 44th and Broadway, we ended up taking our first pedicab ride.
Mayra and Melvin's baby shower was a traditional Dominican shower, which included a lot of friends, food, music, dancing and alcohol. I ran around Midtown on Saturday morning, trying to find some of the last things I had forgotten to purchase for her shower games. And then there was the commute from Midtown to 111th Street in Queens, the set-up for the party, and Melvin's reassurance that we had plenty of time because Dominicans are never punctual. But what about all of the invited Americans, Ecuadorians, Puerto Ricans, and those who bubble in "other", I wondered? So many things to keep my mind occupied. And of course, I found more moments to add to my memory montage when Mayra was in the middle of opening her gifts and suddenly began to cry. We all knew it was partially her eighth-month hormones, but we also knew how overpowering it can be to feel so incredibly loved. As Melvin laughed and began to console her, his own eyes welled up and a few tears spilled over.
And this evening, Natasha and I are painting our living room and kitchen. Spiced Butternut and Autumn Orange while we order Thai take-out and sip Pinot Noir. It's the combination of the big and little things, after all, that make life go on.
A Year Ago Today: One Year At A Time
Two Years Ago Today: Temperaturely Speaking ...