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This is a perfect beautiful night between you and me, babe, no one else. There are no ghosts riding us right now, no phantoms of past lovers or future heartbreaks. Just you, and me, and the snow coming down as we leave the theatre. A few days into the new year, and we’re both still dressed to the nines and my head is so full of the chants and exultations and pure unadulterated joy of la vie boheme and we have to leave Times Square because the snow is falling. It’s only the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen snow since I was a little girl and we’ve never, neither of us, been here before, and the lights from the signs wash over us, and the flakes catch and refract the light off a thousand glowing tubes of neon, and we’re both so busy looking up with our mouths open that we’re almost hit by a car, and we agree that there’s only one place to go when you’re out on the town and snow is falling. Central Park, baybee.

Trying to decipher the map, plan our route, and I’m secretly fearing that when we come up out of the underground the snow will have stopped and this perfect crystalline moment will be over before it even got started. Getting warm and toasty on the train with just enough time to appreciate it before we sally forth into the cold again, winter coats pulled tight. A playground made all of one unit of poured concrete, all strange art deco angles and shapes, and I’m trying to get you to sing the McGowan part of that old Pogues song, and you only halfway remember it, so our version is a little bit shaky. One huge piece of granite, jutting up out of the frozen ground, slick with ice, me trying to climb down it to get to the path and falling on my ass despite the sensible shoes and you making so much fun of me. The Tavern on the Green still has its 2003 piece on the patio, each number carved out of ice, leftover from the revels a couple of days ago, and we stand in front of it and try to calculate the logistics of stealing a zero or a two to take back to the compound before we realize that this would require Work, and that we can’t be having any of that. Coming up on the Imagine plaque in Strawberry Fields, covered ever so slightly in a dusting of snow, with roses scattered on it, and that is the moment when everything transcends, transforms from merely fun and great to become singular, perfect, magical. This is a night to treasure, to put up on a shelf and take down from time to time and polish and use to light up my self whenever I can feel it getting dingy and tarnished and grey.

Drunken twins or cousins or something terribly precious on the subway platform, from somewhere out of town and so just as lost as us, and you’ve had a few more adventures with the rails than I, and so know how to tell them how to get where they’re going, even though they’ve been drunk for 3 days. You ask me where I want to go next and the simple answer is Someplace Warm. So it’s off to Grand Central, so you can show me the Vault of the Heavens, all the zodiac picked out in little light bulbs 50 feet up. Although I never realized before that the Heavens would be such an interesting shade of turquoise. And down 42nd, there’s this little all-night deli with more delights than I’ve ever seen all in one place before. Cocoa and a chocolate in my belly and black coffee and cigarettes in your hand to brace us against the increasingly bitter night outside, with the talltall buildings forming wind tunnels, crosshatching the currents to strike you just so on a street corner and blow right through you. It has stopped snowing by this point, and on the train back out to Brooklyn I put my head on your shoulder and close my eyes and try to fix it all in my memory.

It couldn’t all possibly be real. This is the sort of thing that only happens in stories.

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