Rod and Kate were achingly cool and everything I ever wanted to be when I hit my mid-to-late-thirties.
Rod was wild haired, glassesed and smiling with a firm, dry handshake. His hello melted with his polite “Excuse me” as he sloped into his kitchen. Kate was towering and makeup-free, fond “He’s just so busy with work”s and loose hair over plaid shirt with the sleeves pushed up.
Their apartment was in Brooklyn and had a fire escape that you could climb onto via the window behind the ficus and there was a cardboard moose head on the wall. Their dog didn’t bark and looked like a tiny, shaggy, white bear. He scrabbled around my ankles, stuck his nose in my crotch and slobbered all over my coat. I wanted to put him in my weekender and take him back with me.
“Sorry about my tornado.” (She was referring to the tumble of travel books and underwear surrounding a half-packed suitcase.) “I’m a horrible packer. Would you like a cup of coffee? We got some of this coffee that you just pour it over, in a spiral… it’s the new thing. Have you had it? I’ll make you coffee the trendy Brooklyn way.”
I perched on their convertible sofa bed while Kate bustled in the kitchen and Rod murmured to an important art-related client via Skype about some important art-related matter.
She handed me a saucer with this new, fancy, pour-over coffee and some crystallised ginger on the side, “because it’s good for you.”
They had a jukebox-cum-bar in their living room, and Kate bemoaned the broken needle.
“I’ll show you how to light her up, though. She’s something when she’s lit.”
With the dog snuffling at my feet, sipping this fancy Brooklyn coffee, spicy ginger burning my tongue, I nodded and enthused as Kate scribbled endless restaurants and bars onto tiny pieces of note paper for my personal reference – the best bagels this side of the Park, a blood orange donut which is sinful, Korean tacos (“It sounds weird, right? But trust me”), jerk chicken and Caribbean mac and cheese, the fluffiest morning pancakes you’ll ever have.
She sent me out the door with their family pass to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens tucked into my purse.
“Go exploring! We’ll leave the light on for when you get back.”
When I left two days later, I forgot I had the pass. I had to mail it back to them, profusely apologetic note underscored with a silent plea to fold me into their perfect lives.