On Friday, Sharon met up with Erica in SoHo and shopped with money she didn’t have for clothing she didn’t need. Neither of them was looking for anything specific and so they spent most of the afternoon perusing the tiny boutiques and giggling at the prices. After entering and exiting every clothing store between West Broadway and Lafayette, their hunger overwhelmed them and sent them uptown for a light lunch. The pizza place they chose was relatively crowded, even for a Friday, with pizzas still flying out of the ovens every minute and the cash register chiming. There was enough white noise to make conversation somewhat difficult, but they nonetheless spoke loudly over the din of the dining room as they waited for their turn at the salad buffet.
“Did you see the face on that redhead when I asked her for an application?” Sharon asked Erica. She looked as if I’d asked to buy her dog.”
“Hey, I’m a redhead!” Erica returned in mock offense.
“I’m not saying anything about her hair,” Sharon defended herself. “I just wouldn’t want to meet her evil eye in a dark alley.”
“You offended her expertise. Not everybody has the training to smoke cigarettes all day while protecting a dozen $1,000 dresses from the proletariat.”
Despite the solemnity of the business lunch crowd, they were unabashedly laughing and playing like two best friends who had just met up after two years. Sharon was surprised how much she was enjoying Erica’s company, when in college she had done everything she could to avoid her.
When their salads appeared in front of them, they took them over to a booth in the back of the seating area, sitting side-by-side to people-watch.
“I don’t believe that you haven’t prepared anything for Shabbat,” Erica remarked. “It’s almost 2:00 already.”
“We aren’t in Cedarhurst,” Sharon reminded her. “All the supermarkets uptown sell everything we need. Besides, Shabbat only comes in at, like, 8:00.”
“Still,” Erica began, then gave up. She murmured her berachah before taking a bite of salad and while chewing, she indicated to Sharon to look up. Sharon complied and saw a young man in a starched pink shirt with slicked-back hair quickly turn his gaze away from them as he placed his tray at a table and sat down. “I caught him.”
Sharon shrugged it off. “I don’t pay attention anymore.”
“It was way too long.”
Just then Sharon’s phone chimed. She pulled it from her purse and unlocked it. “It’s Andy.”
“Just a guy I’m…seeing.” After a pause, she asked, “do we still use that term?”
“Seeing? I understood. Not exactly ‘going out,’ but something more than friends.”
“Exactly. He’s asking about Shabbat.”
“So bring him over. I’ll stay out of your way and chill with your roommate.”
“If she’s around. But Shabbat’s a whole new level.”
“Have you gone out with him? Like, really gone out?”
She replied with a nod. “Sunday.”
Erica hummed. “You’ve spoken with him since?”
“Sure. He texts me all day.” She corrected herself with a roll of her hands. “Not all day, but a few times a day.”
“So go for it,” Erica assured her.
Sharon twisted her lips. “Are you sure? What about you?”
Erica attempted to stab a cherry tomato with her plastic fork with little success. “I’ll be fine.”
Sharon frowned and thought for a moment, then snapped her fingers. “I know. I’ll get Joey to come over. You remember Joey Charnoff?”
“You mean Joe?” Erica asked in a wispy voice. “Of course I remember Joe.”
Then Sharon recalled how much Erica liked him. “Oh, Joey would be delighted to see you. He’s really doing well. He’s getting his Master’s and he’s got a job on Wall Street. We even talked about you last week.”
Erica smiled widely. “Really?”
“Yeah. I’ll tell Rob to send him over for Friday night.” She unlocked her phone again and dialed a number. “He’s going nuts trying to find places for everyone.”
“That’s nice of him.” Then, in a whisper, Erica said, “he’s looking again.”
Sharon placed down her phone dramatically and stood up. “Do you want me to tell him off?”
“No!” Erica cried as she pulled Sharon down. She gave a nervous smile to those who in the dining room who turned their heads at sound of Sharon’s chair scraping against the floor. “Sharon!” she whispered in humored exasperation.
“So stop looking,” she suggested. Sharon sat down in her seat and again dialed Rob’s number.
Through the corner of her eyes Sharon peeked over at Erica munching on lettuce while abstractly looking around the dining room. For a moment she doubted whether she should have told Erica about Joe, what with his current funk about girls and his overall weirdness of late. But the moment passed. “Rob?”
For salad recipes, pizza restaurants in Uptown New York, or boutiques in SoHo, search Google. For Outdated-related info, go to www.nathanwolff.com NOW and order Outdated!