So, I was sitting in My Favorite Downtown Bistro (MFDB) last night, writing in my notebook, when a four-top sat down at the table next to mine. Two men, two women, all of them lively and a little tipsy. One of the women immediately looked at me and asked, “What are you writing?”
To which I replied, “A short story.” This happens frequently at MFDB: I sit quietly in a corner, or at the secluded end of the bar, scribbling with determined purpose into my cheap spiral notebook. Someone always wants to know what I’m writing. I have no idea why, aside from the fact that most people seem to be pleasantly surprised to see someone writing the old-fashioned way – i.e. with pen and paper – instead of with a laptop.
“What’s it about?” she continued. The woman was quickly forgetting about the rest of her party.
“Um, well…it’s about two people having an affair,” I said. True enough. I mean, I just started writing this thing, so I don’t really know what it’s about yet. But, that’s what was happening in the part I was writing last night.
The woman’s eyes lit up. “Really? Can I write part of your story?”
I’d never heard that one before, so I said, “Sure.” I handed the woman my pen and notebook, and she went to work in earnest.
After about ten minutes or so – ten minutes in which she had completely ignored her friends and dropped out of their conversation, mind you – she handed back my notebook. Double-spaced across two pages, she had written the following:
“On a night in January 2008 you meet 4 people who in your heart of hearts you could never tell who was having the affair! What defines love or an affair? An affair starts because people need an outlet to vent. They look for what they don’t have in their marriage. Many think they can find it in someone else! But the truth is people are exactly who they are. The world defines who people become – not marriage – not an affair – not a child. We live for our children – they are that matters – people live and stay together to try to make the world a better place – what defines better – if you live your life and you wake up happy in life and you touch someone everybody – whether within your own world or someone else – you win! If you have lived – you have smiled and touched a soul – you are complete – most people will never touch a soul because they care too much about others.
In other words – every day – smile or say hi someone will pass it on that defines happiness and if it takes having an affair then so be it!
And if that weren’t enough, about two minutes later one of the two men looked at me and asked, “You mind if I take a look at that?”
I certainly didn’t, but I wondered if the lady did. So I asked her: “You mind if he looks at this?”
She smiled. “Aw, that’s nice of you. No, go ahead.”
So I handed him the pages she wrote. He looked them over, then gave them back to me without so much as a “Thank you” or a glance in my direction. He sat quietly for the rest of the time – he had previously been quite talkative – and did not speak to the lady in question again.
Um, can you say, “Draw your own conclusions”?
Only in New York, people. Only in New York.