I find A on a bench in front of City Hall. Right away, I ask if we can check out the fruit and vegetable stands at Haymarket.
The prices are always good. But it’s about 4:30, near the end of the day, so the prices are dropping even more. The vendors are yelling and the shoppers are shoving. I keep turning to A – “It’s one dollar! One dollar! Do you know how much it is at Shaw’s? Three dollars!”
I buy three bags of baby carrots for $1, a pint of blueberries for $1, and a pint of cherry tomatoes for – you guessed it – $1. I sling the heavy plastic bag over my shoulder and we walk towards the North End.
We’ve had this day planned for weeks: an afternoon walk through the North End followed by dinner.
We head up busy Hanover Street and we use a smaller side street – I don’t remember the name – to move away from the crowds. The line outside Mike's Pastry is already epic.
Our walk is circuitous: a few stops in little boutiques, a few minutes in the Old North Church. I get hungry and I realize I’ve got snacks. I rip open a 33 cent bag of carrots and, eating carrots, we lope around the perimeter of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and move towards the water.
Do you ever forget that Boston is on the water? I don’t mean the Charles. Or the Mystic. I mean the sea. The expanse of blue water reminds me that we’re not so far from the ocean.
But it’s hot along the water, with little shade, so we cut back across the North End. At times, we’re on Commercial Street; at others, we’re on Prince, Salem, Hanover, in alleys and tiny streets. I can’t tell you our route. Because I can't possibly remember it.
It’s time for dinner. We split a spinach salad, gnocchi with tomato sauce, and saltimbocca di pollo at Antico Forno.
We forgo dessert because we’ve got other plans. Mike’s. Of course. The line is still long and we decide to make things more complicated: We give ourselves a deadline. There’s a 8:15 showing of Bad Teacher at the Lowes near the Common. We’ve got to get two chocolate-chip cannoli and be on the T by 8.
We do it. We get inside, we push our way to the counter, and A, like a good New Yorker, flags down a woman behind the counter.
With the cannoli and my plastic bag of produce (the corners of the plastic blueberry box are now cutting through the bag and stabbing me), we hustle across the Greenway to the T, stand impatiently on the Green Line until the train pulls into the Boylston stop, and then sprint across Tremont to the movie theater.
We don’t relax until we’re sitting in the movie theater and I’ve opened the box of cannoli.