I wasn’t supposed to go to Cape Cod. Well, I was. But then I wasn’t. See, when Craig told me I was invited to go to Cape Cod, to stay at the beach house of his friend Rob and 13 others–most of them film school students–I was thrilled to be included. A Cape Cod invitation is a big deal, not quickly doled out, and a free holiday with free transportation (we were getting a ride from friends) is a very difficult thing to refuse. So I said, “Yes, absolutely, sign me up.”
Then, as last week wore on, I began to get nervous. “I’m getting nervous,” I told Craig. “My book is due in a week, September 9th, and I’m scared I won’t get it done if I go away.”
So I backed out. “I’m sorry,” I said, sincerely. Craig was deeply disappointed. He left Thursday morning and I set upon doing my work. The day was gloomy, the work was difficult, and I came home that night tired but resigned: I made the right decision. Now I’ll get this done and I’ll feel good.
I e-mailed my editor, Philip, who is always quick with a response. “Can I deliver the manuscript directly to you on Friday the 8th? What time is best?”
He wrote back, as I expected, pretty quickly the next morning. “Turns out I won’t be able to begin reading/editing until the week after…so if you want to, just wait until Sept. 18th to deliver it?”
I almost fell out of my chair. September 18th! That’s almost two weeks away! I could have totally gone to Cape Cod!
I called Craig immediately. “Craig!” I barked into his machine. “I can come to Cape Cod! Are there any cars leaving that I can get a ride with? Or is everyone there?”
He wasn’t answering his phone. I left three messages and called over and over again. He didn’t answer. Meanwhile Philip called to apologize profusely after I wrote him about my missed Cape Cod trip. I told him it wasn’t his fault at all—I should’ve e-mailed him sooner. And I told him that it wasn’t a big deal, the weather was supposed to be lousy and that I would get work done while Craig was away having fun.
I joined Kirk for lunch at Pearl Oyster Bar because he’s moving away soon and that seemed a good enough reason to splurge on fancy fish sandwiches. It was nearly 2 o’clock when my phone rang. I just finished a giant plate of sauteed skate when I heard Craig’s voice.
“Can you be at 10th Ave. and 20th street at 2:30?” he asked.
“No,” I said. “I’m at lunch with Kirk.”
“But there’s a car leaving then and they’re going to wait for you.”
I stared down at my empty plate. It was impossible. I was on Cornelia Street, my apartment is on 26th Street and I’d have to run home, pack, put food out for Lolita and then get myself to 10th Ave. all within 30 minutes.
“It’s impossible,” I said. “It’s 2 o’clock now. There’s no way I can make it.”
Craig was very quiet and I could feel his disappointment. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“Ok,” he said. “I didn’t realize how late it was.”
We hung up and the check came. Kirk asked me what had happened and I told him. “Dude,” he said. “You should go.”
I looked at him and felt the weight of his words. You should go. Why wasn’t I going? My book wasn’t due now for two weeks. I could hop in a cab, race up to my apartment, throw things into a suitcase, leave a huge bowl of food out for Lolita, then race down and into a cab direct to 20th and 10th Ave.
“Ok,” I said, shooting out of my seat. “Here’s $20.” I handed him a bill. “I’ll talk to you soon!”
I raced out the door, darting towards 6th Ave. I called Craig’s cell phone. He answered, “Yes?” and I said, “Ok, tell them to wait for me. I’m coming.”
In the blink of an instant I made up my mind to go to Cape Cod. Here’s everything that happened after…