In logic normally reserved for toddlers and college sophomores, the decision to whip up and consume two pitchers of margarita was based solely on one fact.
I woke with the typical dread I’ve come to associate with Sundays. Behind me, the brief flash of joy that is the weekend fades into rear view. Before me, work looms like some decreasingly distant, semi-dystopic Oz.
Abbi bound from bed, and leapt into her running shorts. I tucked my head beneath the pillows in a futile attempt to block the rising din of Tenth Avenue and the cloying sun spilling through the blinds. In the forty-eight minutes I spent tossing and turning there, my ears rang with the clamor of the usual suspects — work, rock ‘n roll, the film, parents, and plans — like some anxious Greek chorus.
The New York Road Runners were sponsoring a series of races: four miles for the men, ten for the women, and shorter runs for the kids. I washed down a healthy dose of antihistamine with a stiff cup of coffee, and set out for Central Park.
The Park was an explosion of deep green and blue. Azalea, dogwood and tulips were in full bloom. Spring leaves fell from the treetops like snow. The air was crisp and cool.
We had just waded into the sea of runners when I heard Chris’ telltale whistle. The family was all there: Jen in her race bib, Ethan and Edward swaddled in their fleece blanket in the running stroller. We met up with Abbi’s sister, Pembry, in front of Bethesda Fountain, and loped off towards the start.
Every once and a while, my sweet nephew, Ethan, develops this look. It’s a faraway look, a glazed thousand-foot stare. Try as I might, I can never shake him from it. I’m never sure what’s on his mind (if anything at all), and try as I might, no amount of questions, teasing or tickling can break through. He had this look Sunday morning, but instead of trying to disabuse him of it, I settled into it with him.
The ladies set off for their run, while Chris, Ethan, Edward and I walked around Sheep’s Meadow with my mother. At 9:45, Ethan competed in his second ever road race, running 100 feet with a small gaggle of three and four-year-olds. Afterwards, he was moderately animated, but I held his look — and its associated silence — as I broke free of my family, ran solo through The Ramble, around The Reservoir, and back home to cook breakfast for the racers.
But not before stopping of at D’Agastino’s. There, tucked nonchalantly in the shadows of the produce aisle, I spotted a pile of perfectly ripe, two-for-three-dollar avocados.
‘Hmmm,’ I thought. ‘We should make guacamole. And margaritas.’
Fast-forward eight hours. Abbi, Pembry, Pedro and I have knocked back our first round — rocks, no salt, served in Tiffany crystal — on our twenty-seventh floor sun terrace, and repaired to our private fifth floor patio for our second. The iPod is on shuffle, blaring from the apartment. We are laughing and dancing and making a racket for the entire building to appreciate. The thousand foot stare has been shattered, and replaced by squinty eyes and a wide smile.
And in the morning, as I sort through the recyclables (one empty bottle of Petron, one empty six pack of Tecate), take out the trash (lime rinds, coffee grinds, Healthy Choice chicken and bow tie pasta), and step off to work, I smile still — if only to keep the nausea at bay.