Elliot and Bev, that’s short for Beverly by the way, first met where they lived in the same building, on the upper east side of manhattan.I think it was that building on the corner of 92nd and Madison. You know, the one with the ice cream shop on the first floor.The ice cream shop made their home above it all the nicer as the constant hum of all those freezers was a comfort to them both and gave them added warmth. together, they used to like to watch all the kids stop for ice cream on the way home from school.
Bev was the quiet and studious type, but Elliot was more free-spirited and was always able to draw the laughter out of her. They were very much in love. They spent all of their free time together, often times going out to eat. Their favorite place was an Italian eatery a few blocks away and they took a shortcut down an alley to get to it. They loved the spaghetti with bolognese sauce and ate it every chance they got. When meatballs were available, they loved those too . Elliot and Bev never Ran out of things to do in the city. The best restaurant in the whole city, the crown jewel of New York, was without a doubt Shake Shack. Specifically the one by the museum of natural history.
Everything in the city was entertaining. The possibilities were endless. Elliot and Bev also took every opportunity to see the free concerts in the central park. Their favorite was the opera. Especially when La Boheme was playing . What could be better than sitting beneath a
starry sky listening to beautiful music while nibbling on cheese and bread . Less frequently, but on occasion, they took in a Shakespeare show at the Delacorte theater. The Delacorte is free to all, but Elliot and Bev knew a secret way in and never even had to stand in line to get in the front door. Their favorite show was Hamlet. They saw it at least four times.
Sometimes the happy couple took in a movie. They liked the old theater on 86th street. It was shabby looking with cracks in its plaster but they felt at home there. Sometimes they had popcorn, sometimes they didn’t. They always made their way up to the balcony which was usually empty and they had the whole thing to themselves sometimes.
Elliot and Bev had been together for quite some time now. Elliot knew that Bev was ready to start a family. It’s not that he was completely opposed to the idea, but he knew that beverly came from a very large family. He also knew that each of her siblings had very large families of their own. He pictured Bev giving birth to multiples, and he imagined himself the father of quadruplets and wasn’t sure he was ready for all that. But one day. For now they would enjoy the city and their time together. And they took frequent trips downtown to visit all those siblings, nieces and nephews. They had picnics and holiday parties.
While many are overwhelmed by New York City, Elliot and Bev were both born there and found the familiar sights and sounds a comfort. The taxis whizzing by, the occasional horn blowing, the hustle and bustle that took place all around them. One just had to be mindful of where one went and when and you were safe enough. For instance, if you went to Central Park at the wrong time you could easily meet with danger; everyone knew that. You had to be careful about crossing the street and you had to be quick! You stay far away from midtown, especially
Rockefeller Center during the holidays, when even more people than usual were there and you could get crushed if you were near the tree.
As time went on. Elliot’s love for Bev only grew. And as his love grew, so did his confidence. The thought of a great big family became more and more appealing by the day. On a cold January night on the High Line, Elliot finally ask Bev if she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him Bev was of course ecstatic. She didn’t even need to think about her answer. The words just flowed from her naturally. Bev was now content that she had finally found her soulmate. They headed back up town to go back to their building and celebrate. Once off the subway they were just a few blocks from home. They hurried in all their excitement. Finally, they were at Park Avenue with only one block left to go when it hit them; or rather almost hit them. A car swerved toward them so unexpectedly that it almost crushed them both. It was one of those Ubers, you know, a car that looks just like a regular car but drives people around like a taxi and pulls over suddenly, without the warning of a yellow cab’s color, to let passengers in or out. These Uber cars had been a problem since they started operating in the city. Suddenly the roads were minefields of unmarked cars that seems determined to run them over. In the moment of danger, Bev ran toward the curb. Elliot, who first thought he was hit, was happy to discover that he was still alive, although he was in some pain. He tried to move but felt very stuck in place. His spine seemed to hurt and his whiskers twitched. Then he realized it: the stupid Uber car was sitting on his tail. He was in fact very stuck, and there was a chance the car would run him over further when it took off again. Bev watched in horror from the nearest sewer grate. In a flash, the car lurched forward and Elliot was suddenly free, although with a missing tail. Ouch, did that hurt. Bev ran to Elliot and helped him limp home.
When they got to their building they crawled through the space around the basement windows. They got to the safe feeling place between the walls and slowly made their way upstairs above the ice cream shop. Their cozy little beds made of cotton found at the Duane Reade nearby were a happy sight. The crawled into their nest and closed their eyes and tried to forgot the whole terrible episode. But the trouble was, the whole ordeal was unforgettable. His missing tail was a constant reminder to Elliot of the trauma. He started to grow fond of the idea of leaving the city.
He pictured himself leaving the city for the first time in his life. He saw himself going out to the Connecticut suburbs to raise his family. New Canaan or Greenwich seemed like it would be a very suitable place for his children to grow up. Although this seemed like paradise to Elliot, he could foresee one small issue. He had to ask himself if Bev would ever want to leave the comforts of New York City . Would she ever leave the vibrant streets that intrigued her so? Would she ever leave the intellectuals of the city? Would she even consider leaving the building where they lived on 92nd and Madison. Elliot knew that the answer would probably be no. But the city had changed a lot from when he was young. He just couldn’t stand the thought of raising little ones in all the hustle and Bustle of New York’s Uber cars. But if Bev wanted to stay, what choice did he have? He decided that he would just have to cross that bridge when he came to it.
In the meantime, friends, family and neighbors heard about the accident and brought food. Bev’s sister and brother in law brought almost a half of an entire bagel which the dragged all the way from Manhattan bagel. Even pizza rat sent over a good size piece of crust. A friend brought a good piece of chocolate from Godiva a few block away; it is amazing what you can find in their trash at the end of the week.
The next day, Elliot got the news that would change his life forever. He was about to become a father. Surely to a large amount of pups. This news caused feelings of excitement that surprised even him. Suddenly, he felt happy and light. Even his flattened tail felt a bit less burdensome. Elliot and Bev settled in to wait out the rest of winter, and the arrival of their litter.
Finally the day came. Seven babies were born, more than twice what Elliot imagined. But he couldn’t help himself, he was happy. So happy that he couldn’t imagine changing a thing. Spring was underway and the trees had blossomed. Food was more abundant and the feeling of joy was in the air for people and mice alike. For Bev was happy. She wanted her kids to grow up with all the sophistication the city had to offer. I guess there was only one thing to do: Elliot and Bev had to teach the kids how to avoid those darn Ubers!
William Pikus is currently a student at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. He is enrolled in a creative writing course for which this story was written.