Yesterday, walking down a midtown street, I hear this behind me: “Now you have to keep your eyes absolutely shut for the next five minutes. Either that or you can stay here and I’ll come back for you.” The answer: “Okay, I will.” Both voices sound cheerful but this is odd so naturally I turn to see what’s up. A young black man with an enormous grin is leading his eyes-shut girlfriend by the hand. They come to a shop; he takes her in and positions her in the narrow window by the door, facing the street so that even if she peeks she won’t know where they are. But I’m watching from the sidewalk and she’s doing exactly as she promised.
They’re in a jewelry store. Still grinning, he goes to the ring counter. He’s obviously been there before because he knows exactly what he wants. The salesperson brings out the ring he’s pointed to. They have a brief discussion which by the way he rubs his knuckle I surmise is about re-sizing after purchase. Satisfied with the answer, he glances over at his girlfriend, still with her eyes squeezed shut, which he can’t see but I can. He catches sight of me watching. I give him a thumbs-up, both about her not peeking and about the whole business.
He goes to the register, takes out his credit card, buys the ring, and walks over to her. Right there in the window, open box on his palm, he says something and she turns, opening her eyes. First she looks around and realizes where they are. Then she sees what he’s holding out to her. She bursts into tears. His grin has gotten so enormous it’s sparkling off all the other rings and bracelets in the store. I give them another thumbs-up and leave.
Romance is not dead. And I love New York.