The show ends. We buy a couple of drinks from a bodega and sit on the track in the park where we met earlier. We smirk at runners on the track as they pass. Nearby, police interrogate a couple of buzzed people leaving the concert.
Hector and I get along better with every sip. We hate cops. We love animals. He tells me he has never been to Coney Island, or the aquarium there. I tell him I go with my family every year. I suggest we go to a nearby bar, Irene's. Hector has never heard of it.
We're on the inner cusp of a Polish neighborhood -- so illustrated by Irene's, named after an old Polish woman, managed by a middle-aged Polish woman, with a clientele of old and middle-aged Polish people and millennials. Irene's offers $1 Jell-O shots and a jukebox. Hector's tail is wagging.
Pure gelatinous gluttony.
After emptying Irene's Tupperware container, I feel warm enough that I take off my sweater for the first time.
“Do you realize you've complimented every piece of my outfit at some point tonight?"
He's not embarrassed. His grin is large, sheepish, and unrelenting.
We talk: music, jobs, education. I pull out a pen and notebook from my bag and ask what he would do tomorrow if he could do anything. He tells me he would go to the Coney Island aquarium. I write it down. He asks me the same question. I tell him I would get breakfast burritos. We work on the list, adding items both realistic (soup dumplings in Chinatown) and not (eating them with Bradford Cox). We finish at Irene's and head toward the train. We live on different train lines and Hector's has stopped running for the night. I tell him he can sleep over.
Subway to my apartment and sleeping.
I wake with startling energy around noon. On my phone are responses from the friends I texted the night before asking about Hector. Reviews vary from negative to neutral. The list he and I made the night before sits on top of my pile of clothes on the floor.
“So, breakfast burritos?”
As we enjoy our brunch, I ask Hector his plans for the day. He has none. I urge him to go to Coney Island. I have no plans either. We decide to see how much of our list we can check off.