Last night I hit the Cocoa Bar while Justin took the girls to a program at the library. I didn't even know where I was going when I set out; I was just looking for a lovely place to read. I was a little bummed out that Barnes & Noble was looking like my best bet (so many of the indie spots are so dark at night, and unclean), but then I spotted the Cocoa Bar and new it was meant to be my destination for the evening. I ordered a frothy decaf americano--and, to my joy--a slice of vegan death-by-chocolate cake. I can't remember the last time I was able to find a dairy-free piece of cake, let alone one with a chocolate mousse layer. A used copy of Julia Cameron's A Right to Write had arrived in the mail, and I settled in to the cushy booth in the bar's front window (click above link to see a pic of it) to sip and savor it all. Tea light candles in votive holders covered every surface; my clear coffee mug reflected candlelight in every direction.Out the front window I watched people wait for friends and dates, meet and greet one another. A light rain was falling, and one young man had his umbrella cocked back over his shoulder like he was carrying a knapsack. When a lovely red-haired woman joined him in an hourglass olive dress, he only kept his eyes on her face with great effort. Seventh Avenue looks different at night. The restaurants are all lit from within and they shine out like lamps. The breeze cools, especially during a storm like last night's, and the fading light traces the tree leaves into fanning silhouettes. The neon store signs double in the windows of cars lining the street, and walking through it all in the twilight makes me feel like a grown-up.When I get home from an evening out, my children look more beautiful than they did when I left. The absence makes all of us softer toward each other, and we kiss a little longer at bedtime.