We head in the direction of the show. Before anything else, we need to find something more to eat. The Au Bon Pain is not enough. There is over an hour before the curtains rise. The theatre is a few blocks from the Rockefeller Center.
We’re looking for restaurants along the way but neither of us are finding anything. Nothing befitting our time and situation. Nothing popping out. It’s not that we need the best. We are avoiding the best. But we also don’t want the worst, or the common.
“No Subway.” I say.
“And no McDonalds.” She says.
It’s not that we don’t like these restaurants, it’s just that they are not fitting for our anniversary.
We’re looking for the middle ground. Something unique but not extravagant.
Time Square approaches. It is an obvious breach, just like scuba diving. A thickly humid smell permeates the area, probably a combination of tourists and businessmen with their heels clacking and their soles slopping. The light changes. Everything warming under a thick hue, the candlelit essence of a sleepless point, jagged with the silent, sharp edges of advertisements and the steady red and green roll of news feeds and stock tickers.
While the lights, blaring and rapidly shifting above, are pristine, clean, the freshest and most highly defined of the times, there is a filth at ground level which never leaves, existing out of the impossible task of tidiness amongst all of the foot traffic which never ceases.
Musette hates the crowd. It puts her in an instant bad mood. We’re pushing through people. I’m almost taken out by a young man wearing all white who finds his fashion sense high enough to raise him above me. This is starpilot business. Weaving in and out. Life becomes a videogame again. Just don’t lose sight of the girl. She will take you where you need to go even though you are the one with the tickets in your pocket.
She still doesn’t know where we are going.
We turn down 47th. It is lined with jewelry stores. There is not one restaurant on the block. The windows are ablaze with diamonds reflecting the effervescence of the surrounding blaze. There are men standing out front their shops. Most of them are Jewish. They are not the Hassidim. They wear dress shirts, with what I guess are called Kipas on top of their heads. One man, with a blue shirt tucked into black slacks and glasses on his face, catches sight of us and begins to hound me.
“Get a beautiful diamond for your beautiful wife.” he says.
I’m looking down, away from him, avoiding eye contact. Musette is smiling, laughing, out of nervousness, the giddy release of anxiety.
“If I found something which made my wife smile like this, I’d buy it, no hesitation.” The man says.
I keep looking down, pulling Musette along.
“I’ve already got mine.” She says to me as we pass, revolving her engagement ring in front of my face. The stone is a moissanite. We picked it out for her from her father’s jewelry store. One day I would like to evolve it into a diamond, capture the lights of Time Square in her finger, the sacred bond between us. Further unbreakable. A romantic surprise.
Perhaps next year.
We approach dangerously close to our destination.
“It’s okay.” Musette says. “We won’t see it.”
I follow her lead. Just like in a video game. Straight into the demise of my surprise.
The first poster we pass advertising the show, I take the tickets from my pocket.
“Happy anniversary.” I say, presenting them to her.
There is no time to stop. I search desperately for the light in her eyes. I catch it but it is not shining as brightly as I would like. A moissanite intensity. She is hungry. The crowd is pushing at us from all sides.