I swear, the lassi was a touch sour. Although I was the saddest, loneliest person eating Indian food, I also believe the food was mediocre. They brought me free tomato soup, and I was still like, whatever.
That morning at church, I had listened to the story of Nahum. Nahum is trying to get healed, and Elisha asks him to do some dumb thing to heal himself, and Nahum is like, no way. But wait, Nahum’s servant suggests, if you were asked to do something complicated, mystical, you would do it, no? Sure. Then why won’t you give the simple thing a try?
The last time I was in New York, in this church, my heart didn’t hurt like this. I now have this broken, sore spot that only occasionally and intermittently feels like it’s getting better instead of worse. So I was trying to think about what the simple thing was– what is the simple way to heal? And the dean of the cathedral was seriously sweating in his heavy robes, looking us each in the eye as he spoke, next to the pale Joan of Arc statue.
I took the subway out to Brooklyn. I had been invited to this dinner party. I bought a bottle of wine that said “Heartland” on the label. I was excited to ask the hostess about her communist parents. Nothing could make a simple Midwestern girl more excited than learning about New York City communists. I called up, I rang the bell, and no one answered and no one answered, and I left a message.
I hauled around the neighborhood for a while. The wine felt heavy. I guessed they couldn’t hear the buzzer. I guessed T Mobil had sent my message out into space and it got stuck there. (It did.) I was missing, I did miss, the party.
Maybe the simple thing is not to anticipate pain you don’t feel, and breathe when you feel it and let it be. The other simple thing is when a store in Grand Central reminds you of your ex, to sit up at the bar and have a glass of wine. At the overpriced bar there, you can see the people watching the World Cup’s final game on the television in the middle of the station. You can look up and see the turquoise ceiling, where the legends of constellations recline. There also might be a regular who chats with the bartender about how he was rooting for Germany.
Awful Indian food is sad. Missing a party is sad. Being alone is sometimes lonely, even for the happily introverted. The next night I was holding hands with thirty people and dancing and chatting my head off about the fun I’d had before my sad dinner: the gallery of glass viruses, the bendy Frank Gehry building, the giddy blazing through dresses at H & M. The simple thing is to be lonely when you are lonely, and happy while dancing. Like many simple things, though, it’s hard to believe in.