“Ever since I came to New York City, I’ve loved visiting the museums of the city.”
Esmerelda could finally control her voice and not automatically say the right things. “I enjoy going to the Metropolitan Museum nearby.”
“Isn’t it a wonderful museum?” He said softly.
“Yes, it is, Esmerelda said dreamily.”
“I apologize, I have not even told you my name. I am Charles Pinckney.”
Esmerelda shyly held out her hand. “Esmerelda Rodriguez,” she said in her quiet Puerto Rican accent.
“Pleased to meet you, Ma’am.”
“You don’t have to call me Ma’am, makes me sound old. Esmerelda will be fine.” He took her hand gently. Charles could feel her soft hand and manicured nails. Esmerelda could feel his gentle touch.
“Esmerelda, would you like to start my Greek journey at the Metropolitan on Saturday?”
Esmerelda stopped short. She was accustomed to catcalls in East Harlem, but not potential clients asking her out. “He was obviously well above the men, well boys in the neighborhood.
Esmerelda’s response was involuntary again, but the one she desired to give anyway. “I’d be honored.”
“Where do you live?”
“At 110th Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem.” She didn’t want this gentleman meeting her at her East Harlem tenement. “I will meet you on the front steps of the Museum, what time would you like to meet me.”
“A gentleman picks a lady up. I will be in a taxi, and that is how we will go to the Metropolitan.”
They made some more small talk and finally he said, “I am looking forward to Saturday.”
“As am I.”
They exchanged phone numbers and Saturday came. Charles Pinckney at his word, came in a taxi and took her to the Metropolitan Museum, where they could admire the Greek and other art together.