The day Eugene told me his secret he gave me a bouquet of lilies. Ice clung to the petals like fuzz.
Sorry about the frost, he said. That was an accident.
I stuck my nose into the flowers but they were too chilled to get any smell out of them. It puzzled me that the ice hadn’t melted—this was mid-June.
The thing is, he said, my trick is the weather.
The weather, I repeated.
That’s my schtick, you know? Everyone’s got to have a schtick.
We were in Washington Square Park. There was a guy playing Rachmaninoff on an upright piano.
Pick a weather, Eugene said.
I crossed my arms. Snow. Bet you can’t do snow.
Snow? Well … might be complicated.
You’re so full of shit, I said, giving him a playful punch to the shoulder.
It’s not that. He hesitated.
He straightened. Alright, he said, closing his eyes, clenching his fists.