Tales of the City #8: Hawaiian Dinner Party

October 4, 2014

There are some experiences that you can’t quite explain. This night was one of them. I cannot find the right word to describe it at all. Maybe magical? Maybe mesmerising? I think I’d like to settle on the word inconceivable, because as much as it seems like there wasn’t anything extraordinary about that night, I really can’t, for the life of me, conjure up the same feelings and thoughts that I was experiencing in those moments. Sometimes I wonder if that night happened at all, if it was merely a figment of my imagination. I might not be making any sense right now so I’m just going to try my best to paint you a picture.

Alex and I were invited to his mum’s childhood friend’s house in uptown Manhattan for a Hawaiian dinner party. We booked an Uber for the very first time since we didn’t know how to commute there. The fun begins when our Uber driver is mislead by his app and he takes us across the George Washington Bridge towards New Jersey. Alex and I didn’t notice right away because it was dark and we’ve never been to our destination so we trusted our driver. Once he realised his mistake and turned back, we were almost an hour late to the party.

We were welcomed into a beautiful brownstone and led to the kitchen through an amazing living room. We said hi to Alex’s family friend and helped ourselves to some delicious Hawaiian food. Since we didn’t know anyone else there, we grabbed two beers and sought refuge on two wooden deck chairs on their empty patio. We could see their neighbours’ second floor dining room since the windows were floor-to-ceiling and we made up conversations that we thought fancy Manhattanites would have during dinner. We also made estimates on how much a brownstone in that area would cost, some obscene amount we imagined. I’m not sure what else we talked about exactly, but I do know that I was really happy. On our way out, we looked around the living room. There were leather chairs, books everywhere, and huge vintage maps framed on the walls. I knew what we were both thinking: that we’d love to have a room with just as much character in our future home.

We left the party with no set plans for the rest of the night. We just tried our best to walk fast and keep warm while admiring all the beautiful houses in the area. Since we were still hungry, we stopped at a random, tiny, Italian place that I can’t even remember the name of. It was really dark and moody inside with the soft hum of music bouncing off the walls. We were told that there was a jazz lounge in the basement underneath, which was the source of the music we were hearing. We both had pasta (my treat for once) and we regretted finishing our meal before checking out the bar since their set was done. 😦 It all felt so spontaneous and romantic that we left with a strange, almost sad, calm in our hearts, like we were coming to terms with the fact that the night was coming to an end and we would never have it again. As we walked through the yellow cab-lined streets, I guess we realised that it wasn’t a bad thing that we’d never have that day again because we’d have so many more days of unfamiliarity and sentimental discovery to come.

xo Jenny

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