Monday, June 13, 2011
The Grand Tour
After an amazing first kiss in Bryant Park, Kit & I continued our walk around midtown Manhattan, holding hands and occasionally stopping to stare into each other's eyes. It was all very dreamlike and completely surreal. I felt so safe in his arms, so trusting of this new man I'd only just met but felt like I'd known forever. It did not even register to me that we'd been trekking through the city for almost eight whole hours because my feet didn't hurt at all. I guess that's what happens when you're walking on clouds.
Seeing as we're both totally nerdy, Kit knew that I would love to hear all about the tour he'd recently taken of Grand Central Terminal. He described the architecture, the intricate stonework, the staircases, the statues and gargoyles, the windows, the constellations on the ceiling, even the history of the building, its renovations, and the wartime dormant years. For those of you non-New Yorkers, when you come visit our fair city, Grand Central is one of the places you simply have to see. Actually, even if you're from here, take the tour. It gives you a great insight into one of those places we all take for granted every day. There is so much history here, so many wonderful little nuances, so many hidden secrets unexplored by the general public.
Kit's favorite part of showing me around both inside and out of the majestic train station was my reaction to every single thing he pointed out. I have a tendency to show my emotions very clearly and if I'm amazed or in awe of something, you will *know*. Likewise, if I'm disgusted, angry, hurt or even bored, it's written all over my face and there is no ignoring it. He had captured my full attention and I soaked up all the ambience of the place. There's a secret window on the second floor that still opens and provides the most surprising breeze. There is an archway where you can stand twenty feet away from someone with your back to them, whisper, and they will hear you clearer than a cell phone signal. There is a gorgeous open hall where you can have a wedding reception in the true style of America's Gilded Age. But best of all, there is The Campbell Apartment, a 1920's throwback lounge, classy and elegant and extremely elite. Kit tells me he's always wanted to sit in one of their upholstered leatherback chairs sipping vintage cocktails reminiscent of the Jazz Age but never felt comfortable enough with the dress code to go in. I promise him right then and there that following his graduation in a few months, we will get "dressed to the nines" and enjoy sidecars and martinis and Prohibition Punch. I am envisioning this man in a suit and me in a dress with drinks in hand and a huge smile takes over my face. Yes, the Beaux-Arts decor, Gatsby grand piano and mahogany barstools are stunning but it's Kit that I want to be next to in this place. I've got the feeling he would make anything more special than it already is. Anything at all.
He takes my hand and leads me outside where the nighttime Spring air has cooled considerably. Kit tells me about Tudor City, another place I've never been that he really wants to show me. We cross town headed East on 42nd Street, leaving the bustling center of the city behind us and head up a set of stairs just before reaching the water. Kit takes off his jacket and hands it to me as I'm noticeably chilly but I refuse his coat. He tries a second time to hand it to me, insisting that he doesn't need it as much as I do. Again, I play the stubborn, independent woman I've had to become since my divorce, denying help from anyone I don't ABSOLUTELY need it from, most of all - a man. He smiles at me a third time, shakes his head and wraps the coat around my shoulders saying that he has something extra special to share with me, but not until I stop being stupid. I instantly feel the warmth of his jacket spread across my skin like a comforting blanket, made even better by the fact that it smells like him. I want to curl up inside it and fall asleep right here on these stairs, I'm so happy, but once my arms are safely inside the coat, Kit takes a minute to button me up for extra measure. His soft gaze meets mine as I tilt my head up at him, stunned by how easily I am falling for this man.
Kit gently asks me to close my eyes and while the skeptic in me is screaming, I'm so heavily under his spell at this point that I would do just about anything he asked me to. He takes both of my hands in his own and leads me a few steps down the sidewalk. I am instantly freezing as a very strong breeze comes over us and even with his jacket on, I shiver a little. Kit turns me away from him, stands directly behind me, and puts my hands on what I can only assume is a railing. He wraps both arms around mine in the most reassuring embrace and whispers in my ear, "Open your eyes." I find myself face to face with a perfectly clear view straight down what is arguably New York City's busiest and most recognizable street. 42nd St is wide open in front of me and I can see clear from the water behind us to the harbor on the other side of the island. We are on a bridge above traffic, above people, above the ant's view of the world I'm so used to. We are looking straight down the middle of Manhattan and I am blown away. Kit squeezes his arms around me a little harder and kisses my neck and it takes my breath away. I whip around to face him again and our lips meet and we are kissing and I swear, I am on top of the world.
We kiss for what feels like an eternity on that bridge although I am certain that it was only a few moments. Time ceases to exist as soon as his arms are around me or his lips meet mine or sometimes, even just when we're in the same room together. He checks the time, in total disbelief of how long we've been out together. Eight hours is by no means conventional for a first date (or any date, really) and I don't advocate it at all unless you are so ridiculously smitten with your partner that you forget about time altogether and are both shocked to discover that the moon is out instead of the sun. Yet it doesn't feel like long enough when you've just met the man you feel like you've been waiting your entire life to meet. I know that it's time to go home but can barely stomach the thought of leaving Kit's side. Thankfully for me, he feels the same way.
We walk back to Grand Central to catch our subways but sit for a few minutes on a bench, just to say proper goodbyes. Kit puts his head in my lap and I run my fingers through his hair, telling him what an amazing day I had. He is the middle of saying something super sweet when he begins trailing off and I realize he's fallen asleep. Of all the dates I went on last year, falling asleep is definitely a first for me to deal with. I'm a little annoyed that he's so tired by 9 pm but at the same time, a little flattered that he's so comfortable with me to just relax. I let him lay there for a while and eventually, he wakes and gives me a look that says "Did that just happen?" I smile at him, take his hand, and we head for the trains. Kit kisses me good night with soft lips and sleepy eyes and I wrap my arms around his neck, memorizing him and the moment.
As I head home, my phone rings and it's my best friend. She's calling back from this afternoon when I was so incredibly nervous on my way to see Kit. It feels like a lifetime ago and now I can't even imagine being nervous around him though I distinctly remember wanting to throw up on the train ride in. She asks the standard best friend question when you know someone has just been on a first date, "How was it?"
How was it? How was it? There are no words to describe how it was. There are no words to describe how completely perfect he is and how happy I am and how suddenly optimistic I am about dating and love and relationships and the whole world which didn't make sense until today. There are no words to describe how my life hadn't really started until just now. There are no words to describe the sheer joy in my heart. So I simply tell her what I'm feeling...
He is my happy ending.