The same hillside in Brooklyn is not so much unless you remember: it was Chanelle's tree (not that she planted it or owned it or did anything to lay claim to it, but this is unclouded in your mind, inescapable, Chanelle's tree) and the same stretch of land where Robby lost his phone, but was better off without it, and so serendipitous, the same where Sweeney told you--casually, like lighting a fire--that the fallen soldiers from the Battle of Brooklyn were entombed in the park. Below the steps, an imitation, playing at a hillside.
So, What We Ate There happened under the trees, the first real opportunity for face-to-face conversation in eight months. I had called Adrian as soon as I got into town, visited her at the Karrot, overheating in my winter coat, telling her emphatically, "I started smoking again! And I'm no longer a vegan." (Because don't you know, Lily, I'll respect anyone's decision, as long as they're bold, as long as they're behind it--) Every time I write to her, I've taken up some positive new eating or living habit, and every time I see her, I've regressed to some old bad one. To the point where maybe my good health (and skaal! to it, and to yours) is just a myth for Adrian to hear about when we live in different cities.
It's cold in Brooklyn. Not the kind of cold that makes you reluctant to go outside, but the kind that gives you a big, unadventurous pause when you consider lingering out there. And we are brave: and we had made up our minds to have a shot of whiskey at Alibi before going to the park, in preparation for sitting. Slow down now, and you can see a kind of meditation. But we don't need to be so brave, can be a little afraid, and the bar wasn't yet open at three-thirty in the afternoon. Instead, we stopped at a coffee shop so acknowledged on DeKalb it is easily ignored. We ordered tea and almond biscotti and I thought of a time I'd been in the same cafe, a time when I'd realized I was falling in love and so spilled my drink, and apologized to the girl behind the counter who told me (world-weary, now) "It happens all the time."
And so to the hillside--ginger lemony tea, and Lina driving her bicycle up the hill to meet us. The three of us ground our backs into the tree-roots, collecting dirt, talking about what makes us tick and what makes us gain weight, stubbing cigarettes out into acorn caps. The biscotti were mild, cut from a bread that would have been fine, a bread to be content with, even if it hadn't become dessert--they tasted like amaretto bones.