“Hurry up!” he called to her…
“I’m coming right down! Hang on!”
She crouched to her ankle and tied the brown laces of her thrift store leather boot. As she stood she felt the blood rush from her head and reached for the painted metal door of their tenement apartment on the Lower East Side.
That door. It was always rattling from the persistent hum of the city. At least 3 or 4 times a day either she or he would walk over to it buzzing away and give it a good shove to quiet it. But neither of them had been thinking about the annoying quirks of their 5th floor walk up that evening. Tonight was Date Night. It was Monday night, Dec 30th.
Date night had been every Monday since they’d been married; a little more than a year now, and this Monday would be no exception. It was the one night of the week that neither of them worked their opposing schedules. Every Monday night just before 8pm they would head out to roam the streets of the Lower East Side, arm in arm, talking about their dreams, their worries and joys, the little things about their day; then maybe stop for quiet dinner and a glass of wine at Angelina on Ave A.
She reached the bottom of the steps where he stood waiting for her. He’d positioned himself against the wall by the apartment’s mailboxes and contorted his smaller frame into a C- shaped pose. One that a runway model might use at the end of the catwalk. She laughed. He was always making her laugh, and she loved him for it.
“C’mon lets go”, she said, grabbing his arm.
“Where should we head?”
“Let’s walk over to Allen St. -See who’s playing at Rockwood.”
They headed out the door, turned to their right and walked past the bodega that had been newly taken over and expanded to triple its former size. He commented on it.
“Sure everything’s gotta be bigger and fancier now,” he said. “The way of the world I guess.”
She gave his arm a little squeeze. He’d lived in that same building for 16 years. She knew it bothered him that the neighborhood he once loved was slowly disappearing – less Mom and Pops and more chain stores, big name brands. They’d even put a 7-11 on the Bowery. It bothered her too. They both knew they were slowly saying goodbye to the grungy neighborhood where they fell in love.
He glanced at the Don’t Walk sign, ignored it and crossed the street. She rolled her eyes at his recklessness and followed once the sign changed to Walk. He pulled out a cigarette, then another and handed it to her. Lit his, then hers.
They walked past Katz’ Deli. Neither of them had ever actually eaten there. It was a tourists’ spot. They waded through the endless line of out of town-ers taking pictures, past the new burger place that used to be the old pizza place that used to be a Russian bakery owned by an old man who never talked much but always sat behind the counter with his son. A son who’d decided to not take over after the old man passed away. Now it had turned into a neon lit prefab shop they both knew wouldn’t be there very long, maybe a year or two until another one would come along to take its place. They rounded the corner of Allen St and Houston and the venue they knew so well was upon them.
The Rockwood Music Hall had been their local haunt for years. They’d know the owner, Ken, from day one when he opened the doors of the small listening room with its cozy red brick walls, wood floor, and velvet theater curtains. The fog on the inside of the floor to ceiling windows facing the street told them it was packed, so they headed next door past Kevin the bouncer to Ken’s larger venue, appropriately titled, Rockwood 2.
To be continued….
Jenna will be performing with the band at Rockwood 2 Monday Dec 30th 8pm