First Steps (13)

Struggle. Love. Cry. Hope.

For Romanian click here.

A novel first published in Romanian (Eikon 2017), available in English (translated by Mihaela Alecu) on Amazon (click on the image).

Here you can read in on free, so don’t forget to Follow my blog to stay updated with all episodes.


Bryan didn’t know if he should tell Azade or not. He was afraid for their friendship. They were inseparable, every time they got the chance they would go out together. Often, they would walk home, just the two of them, under the friendly trees on Boston’s quite streets.

Azade was getting along well with everybody, but she felt she was closer to Bryan. They programmed the visit to New York, closely looking into each detail.

“What do you think about this weekend for our visit to New York?” she said one day, pointing to the calendar.

“This weekend is perfect,” he replied.

“Alright. Let’s see. How should we go, where should we stay, and so on.”

“I propose to go by car. I’ll rent one, what do you think?”

“You know better. If you say it’s better that way, we’ll do it that way.”

“Yes, it’s not such a long distance to make it worth it going by plane. Maximum four hours!”

“It is alright. And, we can stop on the way, we can halt. If we want.”

“Of course. I always halt, for a coffee, a sandwich, a drink.”

“It will be our adventure!” Azade smiled.

“New York Adventure!” said Bryan in the same key.

“Alright. Now, accommodation. What do you think? Two nights is enough? We can’t afford to stay longer.”

“We do, what do you mean we don’t? Why not?”

“Well, we can afford it, theoretically, but I have to be back to school on Monday.”

“We can spare one day…” Bryan tried.

“No, no, no way. We’ll leave on Friday, immediately after the morning class and laboratory. Therefore, at around 12. Alright, we’ll get there at, let’s say, 4-4:30 P.M. We’ll get accommodated, and then we go visit the city for a while, for as long as we can. We’ll sleep through the first night. Saturday we’ll have time to visit and, I’m thinking, since we’re there, to see a show on Broadway. What do you think?”

“It’s a wonderful idea.”

“Then comes the second night. And Sunday we’ll still have time to do what we didn’t get to do on Saturday.”

“I see you’ve thought it all through,” said Bryan.

“Eh, not really everything, but that’s why we are together, to think it all through.”

“So,” he said, “when do you want to see The Statue of Liberty?”

“Hmm, do you think we’ll have enough time Friday? Or would it be better to leave it for Saturday?”

“Wait, first let me check on the internet, to see the schedule. Maybe I will get to book the tickets.”

“Great,” said Azade.

Bryan opened the laptop.

“But, first, accommodation. If we could find something with parking it would be great.”

“And look for two singles.”

“Yeah? Wouldn’t you rather share a twin?”

“It’s inappropriate,” she answered.

“But it would be more convenient cost-wise.”

“I think so. But, don’t worry, I’ll pay for accommodation, after all I promised.”

“It was a joke,” said Bryan. “I cannot accept–”

“Yeah right,” Azade interrupted him. “A deal is a deal! Moreover, my fellowship is very generous, it’s no problem, believe me!”

“Hmm, however,” he said, “it doesn’t feel right.”

Bryan took a break. Azade changed the subject.

“How is it here? I know it is expensive to study here.”

“It is, indeed. But I found a better solution: I’ve signed a contract with Air Force and they are paying for my tuition, and after I specialize, I’ll have to go and work for them for a few years. Which is very convenient, he confirmed. They need doctors, I don’t have to pay myself for a student loan, and on top of it I also have my first job secured, in very good financial circumstances.”

“Yes,” said Azade, “sounds like a very good solution.”

“You see, I can pay too,” Bryan added.

“I don’t doubt it. But you will rent the car! Either we’ll share all expenses, or you’ll let me pay for the accommodation.”

“Oh, I can’t crack a crust with you,” Bryan smiled. “Alright, so be it, I agree.”

“And, all the rest, we’ll split half-half, like brothers, alright?”

“Alright, alright.”

Bryan accessed an online travelling site.

“I have an account here,” he said, “and they have very good prices. And offers. For example, I select a hotel and rent a car, look. If we were to go by plane, we also got that option. Now I’ll uncheck it, he said and he clicked a few times. OK, now we’ll type in New York and: search.”

After a few moments the page loaded and it displayed: ‘787 properties found.’

“Should we choose according to price or rating?” Bryan asked her.

“Rating,” said Azade.

“Ok, I shouldn’t forget about parking.”

“Is breakfast included?”

“We can check that too,” said Bryan. “It’s better not to worry about it, to save some time. That is right!”

After a few more clicks, he got 133 offers.

“Good, now let’s select ‘review score’, here we have it. We’ll jump over these ones of $3,000, that’s it.”

“Look,’ cried Azade. “Score ‘9.3. Wonderful’.”

“These are still a little too expensive,” said Bryan. “Let’s check the ones listed below. Look at this one, for example, this hotel, it still ranks wonderful, review score 9.1. And the difference is of $200.”

“Nice. Look, do as it says here: open the map to see the location.”

“Good idea.”

Bryan clicked. The page with the map opened, with several pins on it. Bryan searched until he found Central Park. He zoomed in a little.

“We’ll start searching from here,” he said.

“What are these, the hotels?” Azade asked.

“Yes, each pin points to a hotel. And, look, if you place the mouse cursor over it, you can see the details. Look, for example here, right next to the park, The Quin, review score 8.8, excellent, price $2,056, with discount. But this one, next to Park Lane, has a lower price, but also a lower review score, 7.7, good.”

“Look, here,” Azade pointed. “Next to Times Square.”

Bryan took the mouse cursor above the pin and read:

“Review score: very good, 8.5, reasonable price, $1,356. Let’s see.”

He clicked on it and he opened the page corresponding to the hotel. The site displayed: ‘One of our top picks in New York City’.

“Very nice,” said Azade.

“You have excellent intuition,” Bryan smiled. “Everything seems alright. But, there are no single rooms, we will have to book double rooms, are you sure you don’t want to share one? You can trust me…”

“It’s not about trust, of course I trust you. It’s about my tradition, the education I received. Please, let’s not talk about it, money are not so important, but what I feel I have to do, does count. Double or single, the price isn’t too different anyway, usually single rooms cost almost as much as double ones.”

“Alright,” said Bryan. “Then let’s book two double rooms with king size bed, let’s spoil ourselves. Let’s see what it says about parking: nearby, we have to pay for it separately. Never mind, it will be alright. I would have liked it if they had their own parking, but I suppose it isn’t that easy in the heart of New York.”

“If you want, we can search for another one, which has its own parking lot.”

“No, I see that you fell for this one. And, I think me too. The location is great; we have free Wi-Fi, and look what beautiful pictures it has.”

Bryan stopped at one displaying Times Square.

“Imagine the view we’ll have! We have to take it.”

He made the reservation.

“Because I have an account, no further information is necessary, it’s all saved here.”

“That’s the way to do it,” said Azade, happy.

“Now we are really doing it,” said Bryan. “No backing up!”

“Absolutely,” Azade confirmed.

“Good, now that we’ve booked the rooms, let’s choose the car.”

“I’ll let you do it,” said Azade, “I have no clue about cars, motorcycles and everything else.”

“Alright, I’ll choose something comfortable.”

“Yes, yes! I’m so happy,” said Azade.

She kissed Bryan on the cheek.

“I’ll go make some tea. Do you want some? Or would you rather have a coffee?”

“Tea is very good.”

“Black or green?”

“Green, if you have it, with lemon.”

“Of course. Okay.”

Azade went out of the room and went into the next door kitchen. Bryan was caressing his kissed cheek, happy, looking after his young friend.

He stood like that, dreaming, until Azade came back with two cups releasing pleasant smelling steams, lemon and green tea.

“Did you find the car?” she asked.

Bryan woke up as from a dream, he nodded no.

“Now, right away,” and he focused on his computer screen. “Right away,” he said again, to be sure.

“Okay. Here you go,” said Azade, relaxed, and she handed him the tea cup.

“Thank you,” said Bryan.

He then chose from the list of available cars, one with four doors, a compact model.

“This is very good,” he then said in a few moments. “I reserved the car as well. Now, let’s make our plan. Do you want to visit anything in particular, from your list of one hundred places to see in a lifetime?”

 “Of course,” said Azade. Then she lowered. “Firstly, I want to go to the World Trade Centre Memorial.”

“Alright,” said Bryan. “I think it’s only natural.”

“Then, of course, there is The Statue of Liberty, Central Park. Times Square, there’s no point even saying it, because we’ll stay there!” she cried again swept by joy.

“Good! Anything else?”

“Well, what else is there? I already mentioned the musical… You? Any ideas?”

“Yes. If you remember, I told you we are going to go up to the top of the Empire State Building.”

“Yes. I had forgotten… Yay!”

“Then, we could also visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Also, if we’ll have time, we’ll go to Grand Central a bit. In fact we should make time, it is a signature building for New York, and it is worth seeing it.”

“Very well, I like it,” she applauded.

“Excellent. Let’s see how we can get tickets for The Statue of Liberty, and we’ll start our action plan from there.”

“I like your’ thinking. You are very well organized and accurate. That’s the way to be!”

Bryan smiled.

“I like you too,” he said.



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Published by dorin

Full time husband and father; full time writer; full time artist (#fineartphotography). And in the free time, I like to travel, to read and to learn new stuff.

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