We go to the subway. My plan is to take the M because I want to show musette the area under the Rockefeller Center. I had found it so interesting on my trip to get the tickets. I want her to see the entrance to the Jimmy Fallon show and the shoe shining station, the Dunkin Donuts and Au Bon Pain, the Transamerican place and the golden statue beneath Mercury. But I must have missed the turn because we ended up getting off on the street.
We head towards Broadway in the direction of the show that I am taking her to. We need to find something to eat. We have over an hour before the show starts. The theatre is not far from us.
We look for restaurants but can’t find any. Our situation requires a certain caliber. We don’t need the best. We are avoiding the best. But we don’t want anything too common because it’s our anniversary.
We need something in the middle. Something a little better than what we usually eat. Something unique but not extravagant.
Time Square approaches. An obvious shift in energy. A thickly humid smell permeates the area. Tourists and businessmen with their heels clacking against the pavement and their soles slopping in skyscraper runoff. We are warmed beneath the sharp edges of advertisements and the steady roll of news feeds.
Musette hates the crowd. It puts her in an instant bad mood.
We’re pushing through people and I’m almost taken out by a young man wearing all white. His fashion sense is high enough that he can get away with something like that.
It’s starpilot business weaving through the crowd. Life becoming a videogame again. Just don’t lose sight of the girl, I tell myself. 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 of their shops. Most of them are Jewish. They are not the Hassidim. They wear dress shirts and skull caps.
One man catches sight of us and begins hounding me.
“Get a beautiful diamond for your beautiful wife.” he says.
I’m looking down, away from him, avoiding eye contact. Musette is smiling and nervously laughing.
“If I found something that made my wife smile like this,” the man says. “I’d buy it, no hesitation.”
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 got it from her father’s jewelry store.
We get dangerously close to our destination.
“It’s okay.” Musette says. “We won’t see it.”
I follow her 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.
She is hungry. The crowd is pushing on us from all sides.