A new Italian place recently opened up near the southern border of the Upper East Side. It had received an incredible amount of positive buzz from food critics and passionate customers the last couple of months, which created curiosity within many New Yorkers, including Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan. The two men secured a reservation at the restaurant, Perlas, and a couple of days later their spot was ready for them.
From their home in the Flatiron District, Javier and Ryan hailed an orange cab and made the journey north. They watched from the windows momentarily as New York wakened up and came wondrously alive underneath radiant, towering skyscrapers and a dark but warm night. The reflection of a couple lights spread across Ryan’s face as the drive continued and Javier emitted a small smile at the sight. He was the witness to all of Ryan’s memorable, beautiful moments, which were too numerous to keep a hold of.
The week had been busier than normal for them. At the precinct an unrelenting case refused to quiet down until the last few moments when the main suspect accused of a violent murder finally had no other option but to confess to the crime they had indeed committed, all because of the heavy work the detectives had put into solving it. But Ryan and Javier had exhausted themselves and now a break was what they desperately needed in the form of an exquisitely looming weekend.
Both men felt the essence of relaxation settle softly into their bones. Their day today had been spent lounging about the apartment in their pajamas and reveling in the loving company of each other. During a movie earlier in the day Javier and Ryan had alternated their positions on the couch; at one point Ryan had rested against Javier’s durable chest in the corner of the particular furniture and then later Javier had lain his head down on Ryan’s shoulder, refusing to move.
They arrived at the restaurant which was placed ideally on a more residential street. The cab parked to the side and the two men exited after paying the fare and tipping the driver. They walked forward to the entrance and went through to the hostess’s table. There was a slight wait for people who did not make a reservation, but for the two men they were led to a table after checking in.
Wide planks of wood covered the walls that held original photos of family members who had contributed to the restaurant in some way. On a scale of “local diner” to “dress code enforced” the restaurant sat somewhere in the middle, leaning more perhaps to the right a little bit. But there was nothing pretentious within the eatery.
The atmosphere inside the cozy restaurant felt happy and relaxed, exhibited by the customers who enjoyed their meal and service. The time on the circular clock near the back read 8:30pm.
“You look gorgeous,” Javier said with a warm, sated smile.
Ryan felt an uncontrollable smile spread across his face.
“How do you manage to get me every time?” Ryan questioned teasingly.
“It’s a skill,” Javier joked.
Ryan leaned back in his chair, gently holding the base of the cool water glass.
“And you’re even more good-looking than usual,” Ryan said.
Javier chuckled and felt the same way he always did around his boyfriend.
“You got me, too,” Javier said.
Both men enjoyed the restaurant as their food arrived, but they became more focused on each other, the usual result no matter where they went. The food was delicious, of course, but they were what mattered.
They took a walk after dinner. Outside the night felt like it was truly beginning. That’s what you got when living on the isle of Manhattan; something was always waiting to start. For the two men, it was simply being in each other’s presence. The street they were on held trees lined up in succession, with curved metalwork surrounding the base of each. White lights that appeared muted yellow were strung around the trunk of each tree. Ryan saw grass-green lights further down the way that were hung from a rusted railing post on another restaurant.
The area they were in bustled slightly with activity and people walking to their destinations, but Ryan and Javier were able to enjoy each other without having to fight for sidewalk space or the speed of their walking.
Purposefully lost in their thoughts, they dwelled on their relationship and how they certainly were not in their twenties anymore; both men were 37, with Javier being only five months older than Ryan. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t handle an outing on the beautiful “town” of Manhattan, especially since they lived here and did not simply commute from somewhere else.
They stopped briefly. Ryan stared at the handsome man before him, the guy he got to call his boyfriend. Ryan had shaved today, but Javier was sporting slight stubble. Against the backdrop of Saturday night, the two men lovingly contemplated each other.
Neither of them could comprehend that five years had already passed since they became boyfriend and boyfriend. Ryan had always known he would someday find the guy of his dreams, and Javier never lost hope that his right guy was somewhere out there.
Javier was the taller of the two, though the height difference was extremely minimal. Their two presences were close to each other, sharing an energy only they knew about.
“I think we’re both ready for these clothes to be off,” Javier whispered deeply.
“Let’s head home then,” Kevin whispered back.
And so they did, anticipation building up consecutively inside their bodies, waiting to be released.
The right moment was on its way.