We had seven or nine drinks, something odd by then, and I had eaten next to nothing. He went to outside for a cigarette. I sat at the table alone, a tight black dress working its way up my thighs, the humidity doubling my hair, the liquor doubling my vision.
People say New York doesn’t sleep, but it does in the East Village.
It was only after two but there were just a few handfuls left from someone’s birthday party. They had brought out an ice cream cake that had melted through. I had declined my piece.
The bartender announced last call, so I went up for one more round.
“I think you’re beautiful,” said the boy next to me. “I need to tell you that.”
I leaned over the vodkas. “I think you’re beautiful, too.”
“I think you have a boyfriend.”
I smiled. “I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Then I want to dance with you.”
So we did. We danced like two slippery fish, the tight black dress creeping back up my thighs, his hands wrapped around my waist and sliding down my hips. I tugged it down, slithered my fingers through his and walked him back to the table. In the light he looked even younger than I thought.
So I carded him.
The boy looked surprised, but was too drunk to contest, and handed me his wallet.
“It says November, 1987,” I laughed.
“You’re only 21.”
He took my finger and held it against his lips, closing his eyes, boyish and desperate. His wallet sat in my lap. The drinks sat on the bar. My dress had crawled back up my crossed legs.
My friend walked back in and looked at the scene I had made.
The boy was still, eyes closed, patient.
I kissed him once—soft—on his bottom lip. He looked longingly at me, but I gathered my bag and walked out with my friend, leaving the drinks at the bar, the boy at the table, the wanting in the air.
The city was going to sleep, and I was going with it.