I woke up with a mild hangover and the clock on the wall showed 11:42. A regular Sunday I thought. I didn’t have any more coffee left, so I threw on my leather jacket and went downstairs to the closest coffee shop, picking the New York Times from the doorway. I read the titles elusively while I was walking and I took a longer route on the way back because the weather was perfect. I didn’t have my sunglasses on me and even though I was blinded by the warm sun, I saw that people were smiling cheerfully. Of course, they were happy about the weather too. I went back in and while I was taking a shower I thought it was a ‘Williamsburg day’ and I should wear my white pants and have brunch at Juliette’s maybe and then walk around aimlessly until dusk. I was sure my friends are going to love the idea.
Then my friend Adrian called me and invited me over for his famous waffles and told me we were gonna go on a road trip to celebrate my other friend Mike’s birthday. He told me to hurry and kept on saying it’s the last weekend before the leaves all fall down from the trees. How he knew that, I can’t tell, but it would’ve been of no use to question it any further. Checking my phone I realized it was actually one hour earlier than I thought because of the daylight savings and I became even more excited.
On my way to Chelsea I bumped into Mike and we went to get fruits for the waffles and dry sparkling wine to make Mimosas. We were in a good mood and we cheered and laughed and Adrian reminded us every other minute that we should go. ‘The days are now shorter’ he said. His wife and her girl friend were also impatient to get going.
Soon enough the five of us were riding in Adrian’s beautiful old green Silver Shadow through New Jersey, listening to Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles and Van Morrison. We sang and we made jokes and then we stopped to take photos of a horse and a couple of llamas at a farm along the way. Then we were on the road again. Adrian and his wife had precise directions from a previous romantic trip they took. I came to realize it wasn’t really a road trip, but more of a beautiful drive. We had a couple of more pit stops at a charming blue-orange abandoned house and at a store which sold apples and we bought a few cups of hot apple cider and it was delicious. It was getting cold and we went back to the car. Unfortunately, Adrian was right and soon it got dark and we admired the landscape at twilight while we kept on going, now in Pennsylvania and back to New Jersey in a loop. We were hungry and we stopped at Hot Dog Johnny, a remote restaurant where we had, well, hot dogs, but not enough to feel satiated because we wanted to have dinner at another place. We followed the directions to get there but the restaurant was closed so we decided to eat when we get back to the city.
I was a little sad because I love eating at diners and small restaurants that no one really knows about. But we got lucky and after a few minutes of driving we passed by Luigi’s Ranch-O so Adrian made a U-turn and we went to check out the menu and decided to stay there and eat. Me and Mike drank Blue Moons in small glasses with an orange twist in them and we all got burgers and talked and made plans to leave the city more often. The place was very big and so were the plates and we were full before finishing. Then Adrian arranged a little red velvet cake for Michael while he was at the bathroom and when they brought it we sang ‘Happy birthday’ and we were happy and thought of nothing else than how great it was to be together on a Sunday evening.
On the way back we fell asleep and before I knew it I saw Empire State Building to the left and the WTC to the right, the opposite from what I was used to seeing them coming back to the city from Brooklyn or Queens. Adrian dropped me home and it was late and dark and quiet and the neighborhood was sleeping. I took the book out of my backpack and tried to read but I couldn’t and I plunged into a deep sleep myself with a feeling of accomplishment.