The apartment isn’t perfect,
online reviewers complained about a “sketchy elevator”
But it reminds me of my building back in Budapest.
Also there is no corkscrew.
A wooden spoon and a lighter works eventually.
Remember that other time we didn’t have a wine opener?
We’d only meant to go for a walk (and talk)
but we ended up buying Yellowtail and building a fire
and you drove me home at dawn (remember how loud your old truck was?)
My hair smelled of woodsmoke for days and then everyone knew.
I remember how you kept saying how you couldn’t believe it
(you meant us being together).
And you say that again now, about the view
the slabs of mountain rising up from the Adriatic.
“Did you know the most famous poem in Croatia is about a small fruit tree?
I googled that, but I recognize the olive trees from those Van Gogh paintings.”
We venture downtown eventually
to eat hake caught fresh that afternoon
and a pastry the waiter recommends.
We break the hard pieces of chocolate off the sides,
licking hazelnut mousse from our fingers.
The waiter has a kind face: I should have taken more photographs of strangers.
Like the man who sold us sugar-coated orange peels on the roadside.
Or the the blonde bank teller in red lipstick
who smiles as she hands over several hundred kuna
and says she has been to New York.
“What do you like to do there?”
“Everything—I like to eat at delis.”
The only mistakes were when we said “hello” instead of “thank you”
and when you bought yogurt instead of milk.
And getting a little sunburned.
(Remember when we thought that night by the fire was a mistake?)
“Baby, let’s get up and go look at the view.”
I told you it wasn’t too good to be true.
Caroline (Higgins) Nyczak (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.