The straps of a denim messenger bag crosses her chest, pressing into the fabric of her all-black dress. Her face shines with sweat as she comes to an abrupt stop near the fountain. Her head swivels left to right, her body turns in circles like the carousel several feet away from where she stands. Her mouth moves in the shape of a curse word, her dark brown eyes squint in protest of the sun beating down on her, and she raises a hand in a salute, her palm hovering above her eyes as they scan all the different clusters of Manhattan pedestrians, mostly gathered in pairs throughout the busy park. Her eyes stop on a rather large group of people, all seated under the trees surrounding a busy Grill & Café hut. She adjusts the straps of both bags on either shoulder before walking towards them. She leans down towards the only empty table next to the group. She reaches and pulls a tiny, rusted, metal chair towards them, then sits down. She drops her shopping tote on top of her messenger bag, pulls a napkin from inside of the bag and wipes at her forehead. She leans forward, taking a stack of papers from a man who stands up from his chair in the center of the group to hold them out to her. Her eyes slide shut as she fans herself with the pages. She opens them, and turns her head when someone yells, “Grilled Cheese!” for the fifth time.
Beads of sweat trickle down his face as he yells out, “Grill Cheese!” for the fifth time. The dreadlocks peeking out the white kitchen cap on his head stick to his sweat-glistened cheeks. He raises his arm, lightly brushes the back of his wrists against his hair until it lifts from his face. He leans out of the open window of the Grill & Cafe pick-up window. His head swivels from left to right, eyes scanning the growing crowd of Manhattan pedestrians. His eyes roll up towards the awning above his head. He grabs a grease-stained paper box off the countertop and turns his back towards the busy kitchen behind him. He drops the box on another surface, then picks up a different one. He steps towards the pickup window’s open counter again. He drops a box on the counter, then yells out, “Avocado Toast!” Something that looks like relief softens the tight set of his jaw when a tall, handsome man in an expensive suit walks up to the window. He holds the box out to him as the man transfers the tablet in his right hand to the left hand that’s already holding his briefcase.
The man’s eyes dart back and forth, scanning the shiny tablet in his palm. The sky opens up suddenly, and the sun shines down even brighter on his handsome face. The crow’s feet around his green eyes grow more pronounced as he squints them at the white screen. He raises his arm, holding the tablet up closer to his face. Casually, he leans back on his heel, his mouth twists up on one side of his face. He shakes his head, then drops the leather briefcase in his other hand on the tall picnic table in front of him. He uses his freed hand to swipe a finger across the screen. He turns his head to look over his shoulder when a man yells, “Avocado toast!” He ropes his forearm through the straps of his briefcase, and the tablet dangles at his side as he turns to walk towards the pickup window of the Grill & Café hut behind him.
The ends of a light pink summer dress flutter around her waist, rising and falling at the tops of her thighs with every step she takes towards a row of picnic tables. Her lips are pursed, wrapped tight around the straw in her mouth, her cheeks sunken as she sucks green liquid from a clear plastic, Whole Foods Café cup. Her blue eyes drift up from the iPhone she holds in front of her face, her head lifts and her eyes briefly scan the path she’s walking. She tilts her head back down to stare at her phone, then her eyes fly back up a second later. The flow of chunky-green through the plastic straw in her mouth stops, her cheeks round and her lips unclench. The straw remains trapped between her lips as she watches a handsome man, wearing an expensive suit standing at the open window of Bryant Park Grill & Café. Her cheeks turns a darker shade of pink than her dress when the man turns his head and catches her staring at him.