Francesca Serritella: Third Month's the Charm

Posted: June 04, 2012

I’m three months into a new relationship and living a charmed existence. Wherever we go, whatever we do, things just seem to work out for us. A free cab is turning around the corner, our discount tickets happen to be center orchestra, and the best table in the restaurant is just paying their bill.

We have such good luck, I feel guilty, which proves I’m my mother’s daughter.

"So how was last night?" my mom said into the phone one morning. I hadn’t told her I’d had a date, but she infers it whenever I miss her regular goodnight phone call.

She is a mystery writer, after all.

At least she stopped presuming me dead.

"It was perfect, we had the best night."

I recounted how we walked the High Line, a beautiful park built over an old elevated railroad track that runs along the west side of lower Manhattan. It features gorgeous wildflowers, modern art installations, and yummy food stands. My boyfriend got held up and had to push back our meeting time, but in doing so, we found ourselves walking the urban boardwalk just as the tangerine sun was setting over the shimmering waters of the Hudson.

"‘Tangerine sun?’" my mom said. "Geez, you are in love."

"Oh fine, it was orange. Anyway … "

We walked to the very end of the High Line and descended in an area of the city neither of us knew very well. On a whim, I mentioned being in the mood for sushi, and as if by magic, we spotted a tiny authentic Japanese pub.

"Ooh, what did you have?" my mom asked.

She always asks me this. First, she likes to know I’m well fed, and second, she wants to vicariously eat it. Some mothers try to live through their daughters’ youth or romance; I’m lucky my mom covets only my menus.

"We had salty edamame, fresh yellowtail sushi — "

"Yes … "

"And chewy soba noodles — "

"Yes … "

"And grilled whole squid."

"Ew."

"No, it was amazing."

"Well, it sounds very New York-y. I’m happy things are going so well. How did you get home, did you take a cab?"

She hates for me to take the subway at night. She even hates it in the past tense; that I survived to tell the tale is no comfort.

This time she didn’t have to worry, even retroactively.

It was such nice weather, we decided to walk. We were hand-in-hand, retelling the story of how we met to each other, as if we weren’t both there.

"Barf, right?" I interrupted myself.

"No, that’s cute. Go on."

And we got the idea to take the High Line back. Technically, it closes at 10 p.m., and it was 10:04, but we figured they’d need time to clear it off — just enough time for us to sneak on. So, feeling giddy with our minor trespass, we raced up the steps.

Once up on the darkened pathway, I noticed some unusual fauna.

"Look at this beetle," I said, pointing to a black insect. "There are a couple of them over here."

"That’s not a beetle," my boyfriend said. "That’s a roach."

Squinting in the darkness, we saw hundreds of them, dark spots darting all across the walkway. The High Line was overrun with roaches.

Maybe this is why they close at 10.

It was like something out of a horror movie, and we were totally the sucker couple doomed to die in the first five minutes.

"Why are there so many?" I asked, leaping to avoid crunching the things.

"Maybe they’re tourist roaches," he said, gleefully mowing them down.

We scampered to the nearest stairway down, doing our best tourist-roach impressions in various foreign accents.

"That’s revolting," my mom said into the phone.

"No, it was funny! He’s a really good mimic."

The rest of the way, we stayed safe at sea level. We even found a cute park to cut through, which was lovely save for the giant rat that crossed our path.

I wasn’t so grossed out by that, because initially I thought it was a small cat.

We strolled the rest of the way along the river, with the Lite-Brite skyline of New Jersey twinkling from across the Hudson.

"That’s better," my mom said.

"We did see two people shooting up. That was sad."

"What?"

Actually, I didn’t see them, my boyfriend pointed them out once we were past.

"He joked that he wanted to show me ‘Old New York,’ isn’t that clever?"

My mom was unamused.

"That aside, it was a perfect night."

"Geez." She laughed.

See what I mean?

Charmed.

Look for Lisa and Francesca’s new book, "Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter." Visit Francesca at francescaserritella.com.

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