Step out at 7.33 on a cloudy New York morning. Let it be a weekday, that way you will stand a chance of being just that one man with just that one woman in that most common of places.
Take that chance and let it be Tuesday.
Tuesday and you don’t join your fellow New Yorkers in a queue for a McMuffin, a McEgg or a McCoffee.
Turn up the collar on your black mac. When the drizzle becomes a downpour, open your umbrella. Let it be black.
Let the streets beneath your black shoes be black and let the clouds above your head threaten to turn a shade blacker. Turn left and turn right, cross over and criss-cross.
Criss-cross your way across New York, across and through its littered streets. Littering your path will be phone booths detailing the services of New York escort services and detailing the details of New York’s taxies that ferry lonely men to New York’s escorts.
At 8.22 take a ferry out of New York and to another city.
You know the city, the quieter city.
Already the clouds above your head and clouds in your head begin to clear in the cleaner air, in the quieter city.
It’s your home city.
Criss-cross your way across your home city until you come to the flower shop with the loud sign bearing your name in black letters against a background of white clouds and blue birds. Greet the old man behind the counter who taught you all he could about the birds and the bees when he was younger and you were not so old.
He’ll look closely at your far away look, your black mac, your black umbrella and your black shoes. He’ll look beyond all this and he’ll ask you about your life in New York.
While you spend an hour choosing the same flowers that you have chosen for years, tell him nothing changes.
That is, the years fly by, you fly here and there, but you have never, in all yours years, seen more beautiful roses than the roses your father grows with his own hands.
He’ll shake his head and laugh while you’re there and he’ll hang his head when you leave.
Head off to place at Rose’s feet what you spent 10 years placing in her hands when your job took you away for days and took you home at 10pm years.
Go through the green gate crawling with the red rosebush and find Rose without even trying.
Try hard but fail to swallow the lump in your throat as you lay 10 red roses at Roses feet.
Swallow your pride and let the man and woman over yonder see your grief.
At the end of the day, you never stood a chance of being just that one man with just that one woman in this most common of places.
At the end of the day, leave that quieter city that was your home and head for your home in New York.
Criss-cross your way through the city littered with litter and phone booths with endless details of endless escorts that endless lonely men will call tonight.
At 7.33 on a wet New York evening, sit in your warm, cosy flat and think of Rose. Think of yourself as another lonely man in a lonely city, but the luckiest of lonely man because for a time you knew the love of a good woman.