I don’t remember how we arrived, after the hour-long subway ride, by foot or taxi. But there it was, a burgundy awning with ivory cursive letters above a revolving door two steps down from the sidewalk. We pushed the glass, and the night dissolved into luminous crystalline light, glinting silver, hushed talk and intoxicating smells in a windowless sliver of a room. It was the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen. We were led along the narrow center aisle, a single row of tables on either side, past gold-coiffed ladies lifting heavy forks and heavier rings, and graying pinstriped men. But I was in my best suit with a boy that loved me, in a French restaurant in Manhattan, being led by a tuxedoed captain to my future: a red banquette against a gilt-mirrored wall.
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