Unseasonably Cool

Both Saturday and Sunday morning I awoke to the soft sound of a cool rain just about to let up. Two more unseasonable days in a summer with wobbly legs.

The grayness prevailed all weekend. This put a damper (or was it a wet blanket?) on our enthusiasm to get out there and “live life the 13 Weekends way,” as I like to say but never have. We managed to do the usual, as usual, but not much more than that. Gray skies prevented any blue sky thinking.

Just as the monotonous weather and its attendant do-nothing spirit threatened to veer the weekend into that mental rut where weekends crash and burn, Jenny emailed. It was Saturday and we were at yet another going-away party for a friend of Charlotte’s who is moving out of the city. Come on over, she invited, let’s have dinner Sunday night.

As Maggie will attest, I am not one to commit to anything quickly, much less something that changes my Sunday evening routine. That said, I am, slowly and uncomfortably, getting better at recognizing when routine needs to be broken. This was one of those moments. I hit Reply on my black rectangle, tapped out a yes (and a very funny joke at Sheala’s expense) and returned to the party.

This particular farewell party was hard: the circumstances drawing our friends away are serious and not ones of their choosing. Charlotte and O. have known each other pretty much from the beginning. They went to school together last year. And, in one of life’s cruel twists, it felt like we were really becoming close friends, the seven of us, in the weeks before they left. As the kids played soccer like whatever and our group of Brooklyn friends melted a little bit more, Jenny’s invitation couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Sunday evening: cloudy, cool. We hit the “R” button on the elevator in Jenny’s building. The doors opened and we emerged onto a roof in Williamsburg, laden with fresh salads, light wines, and bacon. The sun deigned to make an appearance—it darted behind some clouds, then behind the buildings, and then it was gone, never once threatening to neutralize the cool breeze. The conversation sparkled and we ate BLTs, one of only two foods in the entire world that count as soul food to Iowans with a Methodist upbringing. Just like that, the weekend felt like a come-from-behind win.

As night fell, Charlotte taught us how to play chess using the square roof tiles as a board. A cherry cake appeared and I ate two pieces because I don’t think I’ve ever done that before and duh it tasted really good. We finished the bottle of Ommegang for no reason other than to finish it.

In spite of the chill, this was undeniably a summer night. It was the kind of evening I’ve been missing without knowing it: unexpected, spontaneous, easy. It was welcome punctuation at the end of on an otherwise unvaried weekend.

10 Responses to Unseasonably Cool

  1. Sara says:

    Seeing that group of happy faces together on such a beautiful roof makes me both ridiculously happy, but also incredibly homesick for all of you. Another great piece, Matt.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks, Sara. On multiple occasions, I have tried to convince Tony to surprise the family with tickets to NYC for a weekend. Instead, he comes up with “Mancation: France.”

      • tb says:

        Matt lies when he cries.

        I think next summer we have to make it happen. Here or there, one way or another. I’m staying with JP. the rest of the Baranowskis are crashing at your place, Raw. I can just declare these things, right?

        We can’t just go on pretending our families shouldn’t be spending more time together. I want, nay, I need to live life the 13 Weekends way. Buy stock in Ommegang now.

  2. Sheala says:

    Another great one! So many thoughts:
    1: your joke at my expense was indeed hilarious. So much so, I read it out loud to JP when I got the email.
    2: JP spends most of his summers trying to get mentions in 13 weekends. He’ll be overjoyed with his prominence in these photos.
    3: the Baranowski clan in NYC is a must.

  3. Hugh Albrecht says:

    Yo, Matt. Never mind. I didn’t see the link below to sign up. Channeling a little Rocky, there.

    Hugh

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