I think it might be the best lamb shawarma I’ve had. I realize this three bites in and look closer at the man behind the counter.
Mohamed carefully shaves off the meat, bundles up my pita, and chats about how the neighborhood has changed. He slices me off a hunk of chicken, just to taste, and talks about the way it used to me.
And I decide to listen.
I sit on the stoop with him, maybe a little drunk, maybe waiting for my friend to call me back, and let him talk about the East Village. I indulge in my kebab, the juice running down my hand, the sauce on my chin, lettuce clinging to my scarf. Mohamed laughs and goes on, and I think about how Tompkins Square Park used to be littered with heroin addicts, and here I am, a veritable middle class kid, drinking overpriced imported beer and maybe planning on smoking a joint later.
It is easily the best lamb I’ve had all year. And so I extend a hand to Mohamed and carry on my way up Avenue B, letting all the greasy napkins and memories trail behind me.