Every Wednesday night, my wife goes to a knitting class, so I’m free to eat on my own. The new rice roll place I wanted to try was closed, so I went to another new place on Eldridge Street, although it’s a completely different kind of “rice roll.” It’s like a burrito made with purple sweet rice. I bought two of them and went to the nearby park where old Chinese people are usually dancing and gambling. Today, young men and women were playing soccer.
At one point, the ball rolled over to an old Chinese man standing and watching the game. He had a mischievous expression on his face and looked like he was about to kick the ball even though one of the players had already caught up to it. The girl told him to step aside, and the man reluctantly did.
The first time my wife attended the knitting class, I went by there to pick her up after the class because the weather was nice and I felt like taking a walk. I said hello to everyone, and apparently, all the ladies thought I was the sweetest man escorting her back home. We giggled on the way home because that is so antithetical to who I am. The following week, I decided to maintain that fictitious persona among these ladies. Now, I pick her up every week. One does not need to believe in what one is doing in order to reap the benefit of it.
Tonight, I was early. I decided to kill time by going to Tompkins Square Park and sat on the same bench I used to spend hours on by myself after my first wife left me. That was like 25 years ago. The view from that bench hasn’t changed much. I felt scared a bit that I might slip back in time.
Outside of the park, the scene is entirely different. Avenue A is now owned by the current 20-somethings. I remember the days when my generation owned the same avenue, although I didn’t realize then that we owned it. One of the few establishments still standing from my days was Side Walk Cafe but I was shocked to find it now shuttered.
I peeked into the knitting store from the sidewalk to make sure that the ladies saw my face. It’s one of the few retail businesses in the East Village that cater to people of all ages. We walked home to meet our daughter and dog half way.
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