It is raining outside. The last five days have spoiled me and I am accepting the clouds and the cold begrudgingly. I almost forget my brown umbrella but I go back inside the apartment where my roommate is still asleep and grab it. I don’t want to ruin my leather coat. Leather gets damaged in water, doesn’t it? I walk down the street with my laptop in hand. Before I left I thought that maybe I should backup my hard drive just in case but I don’t. I am not wearing socks with my Converse and I hope that I do not step in a puddle.
Walking down Crosby Street I look up just in time to catch a little blonde boy with wavy hair playing in a giant, black lacquered window of an apartment easily eight times the size of my own. In front of him is an expensive looking rocking horse – black with white markings and a fake cotton bit. The windows are framed with red dupont silk curtains and there are indoor plants in art gallery worthy pots. He keeps playing in the window of his multi-million dollar SoHo loft, not knowing how lucky he is, probably being watched by a Nanny I can’t see.
I walk into Saturdays for some clarity and a soy latte. I like it here when it’s sunny and I like it here when it’s raining. I like sitting in the windowsill and contemplating my future life that will come if I work hard enough for it. I wonder when I will move back to LA. I like it here so much it makes it hard to think about leaving.
I walk in and Joe is manning the coffee bar and he makes me my drink. He is talking with this guy named Tyler about a crazy woman who lives in Woodstock who is the daughter of the man who started an airline no longer in business. She is ridiculous and has twelve people assisting her at all moments. She never had to grow up. This is what happens to people with a ton of money: people cater you so much you are debilitated; you are removed from the world of the real people. Sometimes I think that this would be a nice thing, but then I hear stories like this and I am assured it is not.
Customers come in and Joe does his job. Tyler and I debate the merits of living in Los Angeles and living in New York. Josh joins us and we start talking about a birthday part Tyler went to at Neverland Ranch for OJ Simpson’s daughter of all people.
I’m still sitting in the windowsill not getting any work done when a man comes in with his son who looks about two. Joe talks to the dad about old money beach culture. Tracksuits. That type of thing. I watch the kid and get nervous when he opens the brass doorknob and stares longingly outside. “Hey buddy,” I say, as if letting him know that someone is watching him is going to make him want to run out in front of a car less.
The little boy has thick brown hair that covers his eyes. Underneath that is a small nose and big, rose lips. He reminds me of the boy in Almost Famous, minus the acne and insecurity of an adolescent boy. He wears khaki pants and puffy blue insulated vest over a brown hooded sweatshirt. His shoes are a combination of all of the colors he is wearing. He’s like an indie Gap Baby ad. I never know what duration of staring is appropriate when it comes to other people’s children.
“What kind of surfboard do you want?”
“The biggest one,” the little boy says to his dad. I laugh to myself because he’s maybe two feet tall and some change.
Dad calls him “Boo Boo.” My roommate calls her dog Boo Boo. They talk about going surfing in the summer. The little boy throws the door open and closed, open and closed. He purposely steps into a puddle thick with the clouds from a spilled coffee. He comes back inside and runs around on the old hardwood floors and talks to himself loudly.
“I’m Will and this is…tell them your name.”
“Shorty. My name is Shorty.”
This kid is officially the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. The dad negotiates an exit and says thanks to Joe and tells Shorty to come out with him. As the boy leaves he yells out, “Thank you for gah blah blah gah.” Most of the words he uses are ones I haven’t used in twenty-five years and I’m a little rusty.
The boys in the store keep staring out the window looking at the kid as his dad loads him into their black Volvo.
Isn’t it scary when you start thinking kids are cute, I muse.
In that moment I can hear all of our biological clocks ticking.