The Unjaded Eye

My friend M and I sit at a museum cafe.

We eat soup, talk relationships, art, vulnerability. M has the elegance of Manhattan and the warmth of a country kitchen.

M doesn’t live near the museum. She lives up north in a town on the water with a population that could fit into one of the Brooklyn blocks she called home for years.

She checks the time. My meter is about to expire, she says.

Download the parking app, I say. I think you can refill it from here.

She does. I go to the bathroom. When I come back, M is sitting at the cafe looking just as she did when we met 15 years ago on a farm in Italy. It was my first time out of the country. M had studied in London, explored Europe. She would go on to work in New York art galleries, do design for major publications.

I sit down. M points at the parking app on her phone. Wow! She says with delight. Big city living!

We grin. This city has none of New York, London, even Florence’s bigness.

And I love M for many reasons, her intelligence is one of them. For it is a rare intelligence to live in the big cities, work with the big names, and still take awe in a small modern convenience. It is an intelligence of seeing, isn’t it? To see with eyes that aren’t jaded or closed to the world.

Eventually, M and I leave the museum. We say goodbye. I turn to the small big city and the rest of my day. And I think: Don’t forget, Caitie, to take delight in this.

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