On Saturday, I went to a dinner thing, hosted by my friend Doug and his lovely girlfriend Meina.
They had recently moved into a beautiful new apartment in Bushwick.
It’s always fun watching your friends grow and evolve.
I’ve known Doug for over ten years now.
And given his reputation for good taste, I was very excited to check out the new digs.
“Please bring lots of wine ;)” he texted that day.
“Maybe one more :)” he responded when I told him my crew was bringing three.
It just so happened that my friend Vahakn was also in town from San Francisco. And so he came, too, and brought his talented 13-year old sister, Sanahin, who was visiting from Armenia for the weekend and who I was very happy to meet.
She is really kewl.
It was pouring rain when our car dropped us off on Greene Ave.
“Oh, it’s the kewl building,” Vahakn noted upon surveying the street.
Meina’s fam was also in town visiting from Chicago, it being Mother’s Day weekend and all.
Also in attendance was Dahahm, our friend visiting from Berlin, who is a photographer, along with Ben and his wife Alicia.
Ben is a doctor who specializes in addiction, which is really neat given what’s going on in the country these days. And he’s at both the bleeding heart and bleeding edge of it.
Meina’s mom is Japanese and her dad, who has a passion for cooking, is Iranian, so we had this really incredible Persian feast with yummy meats and stews. (And as you can imagine, given that parental combo, Meina and her brother Mitch are strikingly attractive human beings.)
Meina’s dad is just one of those guys, whose presence exudes comfort yet strength, the type of person you would want to confide in. I mean, he is basically the man, soft spoken but speaks with warmth and conviction and a smile, his wispy gray hair tied into a miniature ponytail. Between explaining to us the nuanced intricacies of the two kinds of rice on display, he selected just the right music on Doug’s record player.
Later, this dude who immigrated from Tehran would chat excitedly about how he was taking his family to Rome this autumn to meet the Pope.
“No big deal,” I chimed.
It was just one of those nights, where, amid the chaos of the crazy world, we were engulfed in a moment that was just perfect, sheltered from the cold and wind and rain, warmed by the glow of burgeoning friendship and more than enough wine.
“You’ll have to come visit us in Chicago,” Meina’s dad offered as we said our goodbyes.
It’s the kind of night that sort of reminds you of what we are all searching for and working for, the kind of night that still exists only in moments.
With everything that’s going on these days, it also feels like exactly the kind of thing that has come under attack, the kind of thing that needs protecting.
Because it’s also the kind of thing that is easy to take for granted. And yet, we are only lucky enough to have it because so many have fought for exactly that.
I shared a car with Vahakn and Sanahin back to Grand Central, during which Sanahin and I discussed various potential future paths for Vahakn’s curly hair.
We also shared book recs.
Sanahin’s recent favorite book is The Collector, a psychological thriller by John Fowles about a guy who kidnaps the girl that he loves.
I recommended Norwegian Wood by Murakami, which is also sort of about the pain of love just beyond reach.
After a couple of long hugs goodbye and then a quick drink at the bar, I met my sister at terminal 34.
“My Uber driver was from West Africa,” Nina started telling me as we walked to our train.
“She’s lived here for like over twenty years.”
“She’s got five kids all born and raised in New York City.”
“But she said she’s ready for a change.
“She said she is thinking about moving upstate so she was asking me a bunch of questions about it!”
“And she’s Muslim, too.”
“Aren’t there a lot of Trump supporters up there,” the Senegalese mother had asked my sister.
“I told her it wasn’t like that!”
“That it’s more economic than, you know, anything else,” my sister explained, beaming proudly, as we took our seats.
“That we are nice people.”
(Top photo: Mother’s Day in Millbrook with my girls.)