Now You're in New York
He was leaning against the railing in baggage claim, all bent elbows and casually cocked knees. He had a full head of very thick dark hair and tortoise-rimmed glasses like Clark Kent; his shirt was untucked but ironed, in shoes reserved for people who summer in places like Nantucket or “The Cape”. His stubble was only four or five days old, and it made the rest of him look more relaxed. On our wedding day, I requested not a fresh-shaved face but five-day stubble. In my opinion, five-day stubble is the perfect amount of facial hair on a man.
The guy was holding a simple bouquet of purple flowers and I became extremely invested in seeing him reunite with whomever he’d brought them for. Picking up someone at the airport is always thoughtful, but in New York City, where few people drive and cabs are plentiful, the gesture is especially loving because it’s completely unnecessary. The only reason you pick someone up from the airport is because you want to make his or her life easier and more pleasant. In New York City, you only meet someone at the airpot when you simply can’t wait another minute to see them.
We’d received a text message that our baggage was delayed and wouldn’t hit the carousel until the next plane had landed, which actually worked out great because I got to stick around longer and wait for the reunion. The guy was starting to look a little anxious, but he refused to take out his cell phone and fiddle around with texting or twitter to kill time. He was fully present for this person’s arrival and didn’t want to distract himself from it. I liked this about him.
And then…there she was. Long and lean in simple but chic black clothes, with sleek dark hair and a wide-brimmed hat that tipped over her eye like a wink.
He walked up slowly and admired her for a minute before reaching to hold her, and then they made out in the middle of baggage claim like she had just come back from war, even though her outfit indicated something more like Rome or Paris….Vienna maybe?
They kissed for a good three minutes while her suitcase went round and round, blissfully unaware of the crowds rushing past them in a dizzy blur. Outside the glass doors, the roar of honking taxis and buses made my ears burn, but inside La Guardia, on an average Sunday night, two people who looked way too beautiful for the real world turned baggage claim into a movie set and I knew I was back in New York City.