Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What Is in the Air

The client dinner in the Brazailian restaurant across World Plaza was more fun than I expected, the endless offer of various type of meat was filling. I actually enjoyed the company, my co-workers and the blonde client woman who is crazy but we now kinda of bond. Maybe because I am crazy too. The girl I work with a lot whom I love sat across me. J was not far either, which made everything else that much less real and less important.

Former senior client was worse than what I heard he was, he was obvioulsy shamelssly lustful as well--that made him a little more human than just a difficult nastry person that I heard he was. He obviously wanted us to go to another party with him, me and my co-worker. I just met him for the first time this night. But what is up with the piercing look and gaze? We were polite, amiable and like: tomorrow night. Let's plan for tomorrow night.

How do you reject advances of client other than postponing it indefinitely?

I left the client dinner early to meet up with a couple of friends, whom I cancelled on earlier of the night for client. I promised to meet up with them for drinks. One friend came back to New York to visit from Beijing, with his German wife; one girl friend, both are architects.

Drunk from the dinner, I led them the wrong way while searching for a bar. A little embarassed, I said: I need to walk off all those meat I just had. So we walked along 5th avenue toward south. I was thinking of taking them to Simon River, that bar that I did not go back ever since our time.
It is good for talking.

But on 44 street, I glanced right, I saw that sign of M Bar. For no reason, I decided to walk in there. I thought I have been there before. Turn out I have not. A small and quiet lounge with bookshelf and books. Woman of all ages occupied a large table on one side.

I walked toward an empty corner table and casually looked at the guy who was sitting on a nearby table. He was alone and quiet. He was handsome looking, in a geeky way. He looked at me.

Like ice melt into water, like a window being open to a familiar street, like recognizing a face, I said: I know you.

He said: Yes. I know you too.

We hugged. I noticed his shirt, that white shirt with blue patterns which make him instantly melancholy and different.

When did you come back from Scotland, Matt?

That is a former co-worker, whose wife's performance I went to see a year ago in the lower east side, before they sailed to Scotland. The same night, I watched Nora Jones.

I looked away from him, several feet away, his wife was playing the keyboard. I went up and hugged her too.

Then I introduced my friends, this is hao and hao. They have the same first name, although one very tall, one very short. Matt shook hands with them. Then we all sat together and chatted for a while.

How is your study of artificial intelligence in Edingburg? Great. I will be here for two weeks and go back.

How are you? Are you still at that company?

Yes. I am. Same. No, it is not same.

How do you just randomly walk into a place and see someone you know.

Truth is we barely know each other. But some how we bump into each other once a year and everytime we find it pleasant, or surprisingly pleasant like this.

Wife is still pretty in that pink dress of a blues singer. I looked at my boring corporate shirt and pant, and chukled a little.

They seem to be able to live a life of their choice.

After Matt got up and went back to the band of his wife and friends, male hao looked at me with a look, analyzing me.

I touched his unique-looking stripped long-sleeve T shirt and said: this looked like the sailer sweater, what we call The Sea Soul sweater in Chinese. Where did you get that?

This, belonged to my mother in law. She wore it in the 80s. My wife got it from her and almost threw it away, and I recued it and now it is mine. I liked him better for that.

He is the one who told me when I was in Beijing this past winter: Live the life of your dream. Stop looking at yourself in a spring and just do nothing about it. Live. And no more whinning, I don't want to listen to any more of that. Just live.

He does not pretend, his word could be tough to take but they are real. I needed that. I need that still.

We both got Manhattan. Well made. Strong. The other hao got pink lady which was so sticky that she can barely talk and we laugh at her.

What is in the air? Friends visiting, ran into people you know, parallel universes collided. Guy who wore cute shirt, guy who wore old sweater. My drinking with people I was not close to, coworker and clients. My drinking with friends in a bar in mid town. Person missing.

It is random, maybe it is not that random.

Hao said: I brought my roller blade.

From Beijing? Are you crazy?

No, I want to roller blade in Central park, like I used to do.

Did you bring your bike too? Almost.

That is how you miss this city--you want to redo everything you did here before.

It seems to be the season to be with people and almost like with no people. I am with the most imporant person in my life a lot, myself, even when I am with others.

It is time to see the familiar faces, it is the time still missing the face that I am looking for, like in my favoriate song, On Every Street. That song, I listened to so much in Memphis.

On every street, what are we looking for?


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