It was 6pm when I went to see off my straight friend at port authority. I have known him for five years now and we worked together in my first job.  It was fun catching up on the old times etc., but once he was gone, instead of taking my bus back to Boston, i gave into the queer calling inside me.. I went ahead and reserved the ticket for 3pm bus and decided to hang out in new york.

I visit new york once in a while and I don’t actually live there, and every time I visit there is always something new to do and new people to meet. I wonder what people living in new york would have to say about this constant variety. Do they ever feel they have done it all? Do they want to settle for something when they can actually do different things?

Anyways, I called an old friend whom I met a few sholays ago. Old friend.. well not really. We have known each other for less than an year now, but in queer circle meeting the same guy for more than a couple of times brings out a different vibe. Three times is a charm,  certainly do its charm here.. Anyways, he was busy with someone and was surprised to hear that.. after all it is a saturday night. We planned to meet for dinner later that night.

While I waited, I decided to check out the book stores. The closest big one was borders and I do love their cinnamon latte.  Took a large one, picked up a few books and took the corner seat on the second floor facing Hotel Pennsylvania. The book was an easy read,  and I enjoyed flipping the pages. However I couldn’t stop but wonder, why hadn’t I thought of finding a geek gay guy in a book store. Would my radar still work in here? Of course there is a whole section on sexuality, but I hardly see anyone picking up books there, may be next time I should pick one of those and hang around that section..

“Excuse me, could you keep a watch for my books?”, she said and I looked up. I was aware she brought a pile of books and placed them next to me. “Sure”, I smiled. I glanced at her pile and saw she had a book on Boston tourism glaring at me. The other books din’t seem to interest me that much. Anyways she was back after a few minutes with a cup of coffee. “Thank you”, we smiled at each other and were engrossed in our reading.

I realized I was sitting next to ‘arts’ section, when an old couple called in for customer help. They were having tough time finding a book on Beethoven. I looked up involuntarily in the direction of the store guide, intrigued at the utterance of the name Beethoven, but then I kept looking in his direction as he walked down the aisle. An unmistakable wavering walk, with both hands swinging in the same direction as he approached. He was whining that books aren’t kept very organized and it is tough to find. As if he knew I was staring at him, he came towards me. I looked up towards the towering figure, he must be in his early twenties. He stretched his hand forward, twisting it and pointing his finger at the pile of books next to me left by someone before and said, “Are you still reading them?”

“No”, I said handing him the pile and he gave me that queeny look as if I was just lazing around without the remotest intention of buying any book. Well, he was right about that, I had no intention of buying a book today and I was there to pass time and enjoy having my coffee while I catchup with some pending reading. He walked away the way he came, wavering, holding the pile of books like a tray in his left hand.

“Can we do this?”, she asked.

“Of course, he is just being a little rude” and bitchy I thought  to myself.

“I saw you sitting here with the books so I got some myself. I am a tourist here”.

“I noticed. where are you from?”

“Beirut. I thought you were from here, but you don’t sound american.”

“I am from India”, and of course my accent gave it away.

“Nice. Btw Beirut is a nice place you know. Unlike how they show it on the news here”

“Really?”

…. and so it started. We soon finished our coffees talking about US, Beirut, India and had not flipped any pages in a while. That probably was the moment, if were straight I should have offered to buy another cup of coffee.

But instead, I waited and she waited. And we looked back at our unturned pages. The phone rang, as if my friend knew, he called me and said he was coming by the book store. And after a few more awkward moments with occasional glances at each other and smiles, she said “I am going to Boston next weekend, do you know of any places around?”.

“Not a lot, but I know a few places you could visit. I live in boston myself and am a tourist here today”. There was a glow in her face and she showed me the book on boston to me.

“I noticed”. I said.

As we talked about a few places around Boston, I couldn’t help but notice her curly hair, tanned features and the beautiful smile.  And thought to myself, ‘God, wish she was a guy?’

“Here you are”, my friend had made his way through. “What are you doing, hiding here?”. He sat next to me, giving that friendly hug and we were catching up as if we were long lost buddies.

I felt that she was packing up to  move on. She turned around and I looked up at her. She said “It was nice meeting you”. I shook her hand, “It was nice meeting you too.” And we  exchanged one long smile and I let her pass out of sight before looking at my friend.

“What was all that about?” – My friend asked.

“Never mind.” I smiled.

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