You can’t always get what you want, General Hospital, Sephora, N, and the moon.

November 15, 2016

On Sunday at 1pm I picked up Georgia at her home. We have been friends since January, when she was in the middle of 3rd grade and I was in the middle of my 3rd year of residency. Last summer we had a brief interruption. I went to Asia and she went to camp. I brought her back an elephant key chain, and by now we’ve agreed we will be friends forever.

Despite November, reliably the most depressing month of the year, the sky was blue and the temperature was not as cold as it probably should be. Georgia and I walked on 36th Avenue toward the subway holding hands.

“Where are we going???” 

“I can’t tell you. It’s secret.” 

“Ugggggh”

“Okay. A hint. It’s in Manhattan.” 

“… Oh my gosh, are we going to Staples?!” 

“I can’t tell you.” 

Georgia frowned. “I hate the subway.” 

“It’s worth it. I promise.”

We went into the same Dunkin Donuts we always go to, so I could get a coffee and she could get hot chocolate. I have explained that coffee stunts your growth, which is why I am only 5’2″, and why she can’t have any until she is done growing.

“But my mom drinks coffee.” 

“Your mom is shorter than me.” 

We waited on the platform for the N train, sipping, talking like the old friends were are destined to become. Yes, I told her, I voted for Hillary. I was very sad she didn’t win. Georgia slurped thoughtfully, swallowed, then lifted her chin with a very precocious amount of confidence. Well, Roz, you can’t always get what you want.

The N train pulled up. Doors opened. We sat together on the blue plastic benches, and her pink puffy coat made a squish while my brown leather jacket let out a groan.

So, Georgia, I need your advice.” She looked intrigued. “What TV shows should I watch? I haven’t watched anything in forever, I don’t even know what’s on anymore.” Without missing a beat she answered, “General Hospital.” I widened my eyes. “YOU watch General Hospital? I love that show. But I haven’t seen it in years… Is Sonny still on it?” She nodded. I was relieved that certain things will never change. “He’s still on it. He was a gangster, but then he became a cop, and pretended he was in a wheelchair at a wedding so that he could arrest the guy who was getting married. He was the real bad guy,” she explained. “You know,” I said “I used to watch that show everyday. It’s why I became a doctor.” She responded with a very precocious eyeroll.

We stepped off the subway at 14th Street. Up the stairs, reemerging into the daylight and foot traffic of Union Square.

Does Donald Trump own this?” 

“No.”

“Good.” 

Now that she has gone to summer camp, I’ve decided to give Georgia more choices. Her first choice: a) Barnes and Noble. b) Crowded playground. c) Sephora.

Within 5 minutes she was racing through an isle of age-defying lotions, while I explained the rules: 10 minutes. No more than 4 perfume sprays. If she had a question, she had to ask one of the sales associates. Devin – who had on heavy red lips, impossibly long eyelashes, and a black apron – explained how to try on lipstick. Georgia took a magenta gloss and got to work in front of a big round magnifying mirror. The feminist in me felt like a parent letting her teenage child get drunk for the first time “as-long-as-it’s-under-my-roof.” Finally, ten agonizing minutes were up, and Georgia went back to being a nine-year-old.

The next two hours we ran around the Museum of Math – MOMath, for those in the know. Imagine a video game arcade, infused with geometry lessons. My faithful reader, would you believe me if I told you I rode a bicycle with square wheels that was once ridden by Bill Nye the Science Guy? Yes. It happened.

The sky started to blush, the air was chilly. Everyone was tired. We walked up 5th Avenue holding hands. Georgia said unexpectedly, Roz, how are you going to be my mentor when you leave New York and go to Atlanta?

We went into a deli, where it was warmer and lighter.

Well, first off: I don’t know if I’m leaving New York. I will be your mentor for the rest of the school year for sure. And I have lots of friends who don’t live here – we talk on the phone and on Skype and they visit me sometimes. If I leave, you and I can do the same thing. But, like I said, I don’t know yet.  I’ll know more soon, and I promise I will tell you and your mom everything as soon as I find out. 

She drank her soda. Ok.

It was almost dark. November is still reliable for somethings.

“Now where are we going?”

“34th Street”

Why?” 

I can’t tell you.” 

Uggggggh”

Do you still have the $10 your mom gave you?” We approached Staples. “You have 20 minutes to spend it.” And with that she vanished.

Back on the N train, squish/groan, I held on to Georgia’s plastic bag. It had a tub of model clay, and a roll of hot pink tape. She took charge of my phone, which is now inundated with selfie videos.

It was dark by the time we got off the train.

Georgia, check it out!

From the 36th Avenue platform we could see the moon above the row homes in Astoria, – full, bright, and closer to the Earth than it had been in either of our lifetimes.

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “You can’t always get what you want, General Hospital, Sephora, N, and the moon.”

  1. Anna Quarles Says:

    Does coffee really stunt your growth?

  2. Haley Says:

    I want to go on playdates with you!

  3. Miriam Says:

    I take it you’re referring to the super moon?

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