“As Time Goes By”

It wasn’t that we had planned on traipsing around all evening. That wasn’t the case at all. But the weather was nice and somehow hours had gone by since we left Hells Kitchen, walked down the High Line, and ate burgers in the West Village.

So we had walked east to Union Square.

“The architect dumped me here,” I told Peter. “Remember him?”

“Yes.”

“Well not in the spot, I mean, but on the other side, outside of the Barnes and Noble.” We we were walking that direction. I don’t know why.

Peter looked amused. “I got dumped here once, too. Not by this girlfriend, obviously, but the last.”

“No kidding!”

“She was an idiot.”

I laughed. People are always their worst during a breakup. “Well,” I continued, “I met the architect here and he said we needed to talk. But I already knew—I mean, how stupid do I look—what was happening. It wasn’t working out. I get it. So anyway, he said we needed to talk, and I interupted him and asked if he had brought me my glasses. Because, you know, we were dating, and I left a pair at his apartment. On his shelf”

“Oh wow. It’s good you cut him off. ”

“Not really. It was a classic it’s not you it’s me. I saw it coming a mile away. And he forgot my glasses anyway. Took him months to mail them back.” I expected to feel a flash of that insecure bitterness creeping back, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. The architect had been right, after all. It wasn’t working out.

Peter nodded. “That’s lame.”

“It’s funny, but I never think about him. Of all the guys I’ve dated or even just slept with… I don’t know.” My voice drifted off as a homeless man danced by with a pile of jeans of his shoulders and a plastic bag in his hand. “I forget we ever dated. He was so negligable.”

“Guess he didn’t bring enough to your table.”

“Well, either way, it happened right there. Where did yours dump you?”

He pointed toward Fifth Ave. “Right over there. And she dumped me the worst way ever.”

“Worse than it’s not you it’s me? Worse that making sure this park and that Barnes and Noble always leave a bad taste in my mouth?” I challenged.

“Yes. Worse! She quoted a movie. She said: Where I’m going, you can’t follow.

“Ah, Casablanca…”

“And she was a dancer,” said Peter. “Not an academic. Not particularly smart. But come on! Who quotes a movie for a break up?”

“God, that’s bad.”

“Beats yours.”

“Hey, I’m no a dancer,” I smiled the way I smile when I hatch a plan, “but maybe we should reenact our breakups. Like, to gain control over them and reclaim Union Square.”

The homeless man walked back toward us, dancing along with dirty jeans and dirty words, swerving and stumbling and smelling ripe with alcoholic sweat.

I shifted uncomfortably. “On second thought…”

“On second thought,” laughed Peter, “Here’s looking at us.”

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