From Dinner With Carl At Gene's 3 - Poem by Morgan Michaels
Conveniently, he inserted his number into the message with an invitation to call, so I didn't need to go online.
Next day I phoned. After some exploratory remarks and a mom update
we agreed to meet for dinner. I think we were both groping a bit and felt reassured. Everyone dreads the worst these days- from people and situations. They do nothing without thinking 'what if...'
'Ok, what day', your call, you work', I heard him say, reasonably.
Work! Thanks for reminding me, I thought. But I said,
'A week from Thursday'?
'I dunno. Any ideas'?
At that time (somehow) I had the notion that Carl lived in Battery Park, not Washington Square. I didn't want him travelling far, disabled as he was. Then he surprised me:
'Let's go somewhere nice'.
'Ok', I said, slowly, guessing 'nice' an abstraction meaning different things to different people. Words are deceiving. But it got us in the ball park. I should have suggested Joe Allen's, midtown, because they have a good liver steak. And it was certainly nice. But, recalling Carl's arthritis-plagued hands, I reconsidered. Travel to midtown from Battery Park entailed the opening of many doors.
'I still dunno'.
Then came a short list that sounded like a roll call.
'What about John's? Or Gene's? Or Caroline's?
I quickly passed on John's and Caroline's, because they weren't nice. That left Gene's.
'Gene's, Gene's...wherzit'? , I asked.
'11th between 5th and 6th, closer to 6th. I've never been'.
The name rang a bell. I remembered going there for Thanksgiving, a few years ago. It was nice.
'Gene's it is. I was there once, a while ago. The carrot stick's are good'.
'Fine. If you decide you wanna change, we can change. And, remember, it's my treat. I owe ya'.
'No worry, Carl. Gene's is fine'.
I began to hang up, but heard him say:
For me, Fridays are light. But I didn't care to be out too late Thursday night.
'Seven's good. Meet you outside'.
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