By Allan Yashin
Margo wondered how many more nights Marty would be spending sleeping on the ferry instead of next to her in her apartment in Greenpoint. Yes, the vaccine had started a slow rollout, but everything seemed tentative…and if it was effective, how much longer until Marty felt the hospital he worked in would no longer leave him at risk of contracting the virus…and so, give it to Margo also.
___Was it really 6 months since he had been home? Time felt so elastic…the days sped by…the weeks dragged on. Talking and zooming had sufficed for their relationship…and perhaps Marty felt better able to settle for that since he also felt the satisfaction of knowing he was doing the right thing by working at the overwhelmed hospital.
___But Margo didn’t have that sense of accomplishment in her life. No, zooming in for her. Meetings at the corporate real estate office she worked for were joyless sessions of handwringing at the horrid state of affairs of the present and foreseeable future, with prospects of greatly diminished incomes for all.
___So, combine that with Marty gone…and what did she have? Hard to quantify…but emotionally it came up definitely on the red side of the ledger. And so. Margo began to wonder…maybe it was time for her to walk on…put Marty and real estate behind her. And to be honest, at this point, she wondered how much Marty would really care. Yes, Margo felt this was the time to look for something new and nourishing in her life, God knows, whatever that might be.
___And then she heard a knock on the door. It took Margo out of the thoughts swarming though her head and directed her to wondering who it might be. She couldn’t remember the last time someone was at her door. Oh, yes, it had been the building superintendent, ringing her doorbell to let her know he was leaving an announcement advising that composting efforts in the recycling room had been halted due to concerns regarding the virus.
___This was no doorbell ring, but a knock…and there it was again. Margo did the wise thing…don’t open the door until you’ve looked through the peephole to see who it might be. After all this was New York City, not Kansas. But when she moved the little metal cover and peered into the hallway, she saw nothing. She thought whoever it was must’ve left already…couldn’t have been very important, or perhaps they realized they had come to the wrong apartment.
___But then she heard the knock again. What was that? How could it be? Who was out there hidden from view? She unlocked the door and opened it…to find? A tiny man standing there…why, no bigger than an elf.
___Before Margo could think of anything to say, the elf held up his hand and piped up in a little voice. “Here…it’s a present to you from Marty.” And he handed her a bag and dashed off before the thought of a tip even occurred to her.
___She held the paper bag in her hand. Before she opened it she already knew it was an everything bagel and lox because she had smelled that glorious smell a million times before. After all, this was New York City not Kansas.
___And inside the bag, nestled close to the still warm bagel, was a note from Marty, written on stationary embossed with a drawing of Santa on his sled, clearly purloined from the Pole…green collar theft.
___“My dearest Margo…there’s no way I can express how very much I miss you. Every night when the ferry takes me to the Navy Yard I think of our first date there, and I long to be with you. This bagel and lox is a token of my love for you. Please put it in your freezer, so that we can share it together when I’m able to be back home with you again.”
___Tears formed in Margo’s eyes…and she didn’t think it was from the onion on the bagel. How stupid of her to doubt Marty’s love for her. Of course, she would wait for him. And how romantic to send that bagel so she could freeze it and they could eat it together. Such a delicious smelling everything bagel too. Oh, yes, and that combination of the lox, cream cheese and onion. If there truly is a Jewish heaven, this must be what they serve there.
___And as Margo’s eyes teared…and her mouth watered she thought “Freeze it? What the hell, he’ll never know. I’ll buy another one tomorrow.” And she ripped open the bag, settled down on the couch with her bagel and started to binge-watch Friends for the millionth time …imagining Marty was there with her.