Last Friday, I met one of my brother’s friends. She moved to Boston from Arkansas. My brother had sent me a message via Facebook asking if I would mind connecting with her to answer any questions she may have about Boston. My brother asking me is kind of a big deal. We experienced a lot growing up, but I wouldn’t say we were close (my original Trauma Bond). It’s only been within the past five years that I feel like we’ve come to know one another. And I really like who he is. That’s been a wonderful gift of growing older.
My girlfriend and I took his friend to dinner at Silverstone’s, which is one of the first restaurants I learned to love in Boston. Then, we walked to the North End for cannoli and coffee at Caffe Vittoria, which is way better than standing in line at Mike’s Pastry. If you want to wait in line for a cannoli, Modern Pastry is far superior because they pipe the cream on demand, leaving the crust nice and crispy. But I still prefer Caffe Vittoria because there’s room to sit a spell. They still had their holiday lights and garland up. With steam on the windows and the bustle of pedestrians walking down Hanover Street, we talked and had some laughs and made some memories with a new friend.
Afterwards, we walked toward Faneuil Hall, passing through the greenway. Instead of walking under a dark and depressing expressway as in the past, now there’s a beautiful public space with greenery and fountains and big outdoor swings. Overhead lights hung from a pergola project little blue snowflakes onto the walkway. In the Quincy Market food hall, we stopped for a soft serve for my girlfriend because she’s mad for soft serve even when it’s 3 below, especially when they put the sprinkles on right (they dip the ice cream into the sprinkles vs. taking a spoon and dropping sprinkles onto the ice cream, which is hipster nonsense). Then, we got some coffee and headed upstairs to sit under the dome. Faneuil Hall is full of tourists, but at night, it’s still one of my favorite places because they leave their twinkly lights on all year long. I like that. And, I can’t help but recall the past when I’m there.
All of this is to say that I was feeling nostalgic this week when I wrote my Dead Darlings post. My brother actually read the post and said that it brought back quite a few good memories. My heart is full.
Originally posted at Dead Darlings.
Twenty years ago, I moved to Boston, not because I had any plans but because a friend did and I didn’t have anything better to do. When she asked me if I’d like to come along for the ride, I said, “Sure.” I thought I’d get a job in advertising or publishing because those were the most compelling jobs listed for English Majors on a handout that my advisor had given me, a person who never advised me but always signed my forms when I wanted to drop a class.
In Arkansas, I never dreamed about being a writer. But I put myself in book characters’ shoes and escaped for hours at a time. I wrote, but that didn’t make me a writer, capital W. Books were things that one bought. People in Arkansas weren’t writers. They were factory workers, insurance customer service people, and big box store employees. Writers were bred in places like New York and Los Angeles. Anything in between felt like a big fat nope. My worldview then was too small to consider anything beyond state lines.