It was Mint to Be

Mint Tea
Mint Tea

Poetry written on a rainy day.
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It was Mint to Be

A few hours of being 28,
I arrived in New York.
Dad unloaded the truck with my belongings.
He left me with a tall, blue bottle of Riesling.

Looking for dinner that evening,
I stepped onto Myrtle Ave.
Found a fish market.
on the first right turn
from my new home
A birthday meal was shared with a new roommate.

On the second day,
On the second block,
we ate at Zaytoon’s.

And, so it was on the third and more days.
“Zaytoon’s, right?” a now ex-roommate said
to a happy couple strolling by.
They smiled.

A liquor store was on a third block
Owned by an Asian couple.
Not quite old, yet.

Now, 35 years old,
boyfriend wanted to try a new restaurant,
called Zaytoon’s.
“That place where I ate all the time
when I first came to New York?”
Caught the A.
Ran like crazy to catch the G.

The first few months of living in New York,
I would exit at Clinton-Washington.
Never figured out East from West at that exit.

I still ask the same question to a passing stranger,
“Which way is Myrtle Ave.?”

I once was too proud to ask.
One snowy night,
I was hungry after class.
A nice restaurant was found
on an avenue now known as Dekalb.
The chef told me to order
anything from the menu.
“Don’t worry about the cost.”
Ordered a modest appetizer of shrimp.
“That’s all?” the waiter asked.
The place was cozy warm.
Amazed I found a friendly place.
Walked out to below zero degree temperatures.
Never felt so cold in my life.

Taking a right onto Myrtle Ave.
I promptly arrived at Zaytoon’s.
Forgot it was still winter, but
I was a few minutes early.
Passing time, I walked up the third block.
Saw the same key permanently stuck in solid tar
at the intersection in front of the familiar liquor store.
Picked up an agreeable Pinot Noir.
Returned to Zaytoon’s
with boyfriend not far behind.
Owner met us at the door.
“Welcome back!” he said to me.
Over glasses of wine, grilled shrimp kebabs,
stuffed grape leaves, a turkey burger
and couscous was consumed.
Our day was described and jokes were exchanged.

Boyfriend wonders why
we didn’t meet in my first year of New York.
or earlier in our lives.
He was always around the corner
at Pratt’s gym.
According to him, we would’ve been dating since I was
28. 25. 21. 18.
Once said, “We could’ve been high school sweethearts.”
We met when I was 34.
I knew we met at the right time.
Our stars were perfectly aligned
on that sunny day.

Waitress passed us the check signed, “Thank You”.
Meal was courtesy of the owner.
It warmed our hearts.

It was a wet, cold night as
we walked quickly down a block toward
a navy blue car.
Shivered like my first winter in New York.
He asked if I could make some mint tea
once we were home.

Raindrops danced on the skylight’s glass.
Tiny bubbles rose to the water’s surface.
Tea kettle removed before
screaming a whistle.
Mint leaves added to second steeping
of green tea enjoyed earlier in the day.
Extra honey poured in familiar white mugs
brought at the dollar store
on Myrtle Ave.

We fell asleep to the sound of raindrops.
It was mint to be.