Chilled Stoli O shots paired with Ricky Roche’s live music at Tin Lizzie the night prior had left me less than calm, cool, and collected as I prepared for my “neutral” meeting with Alejandro. Rather, I was experiencing the next-day-shakes as I sweated out vodka and tried to cover up the bags under my eyes with my two-year-old Chantecaille concealer. I was less than prepared and could have used at least ninety minutes more sleep, but it was time to end this Alejandro love rollercoaster once and for all.
Before heading out the door, I sat down at the island in my kitchen to have a cup of much-needed detoxifying green tea and do a little Facebook stalking in an effort to calm my nerves. As I was perusing my 1,351 “Friends'” most recent status updates, a glint of something black and shiny caught my eye. In the middle of my pile of junk mail and irrelevant documents (including my Social Security statement which would be null and void thirty years from now) was my black patent Claire’s Boutique wallet from high school that my Dad had come across in our basement when digging out the Christmas decorations over Thanksgiving.
Aside from the Subway Club card, the only other interesting thing of note in my old wallet was my high school boyfriend’s senior picture. Even more noteworthy than the fact that he looked about fourteen (which, in turn, made me feel like somewhat of a pedophile) was the note he had written on the back of the photo.
My clumsy, ticklish, cute, cuddly Bacchus. I’ll never forget our first date at Jenny’s house where I puked and passed out, yet you still wanted to go out with me.
Christ, I knew how to pick ‘em even back then. Well, at least I’m consistent, I thought to myself as I read on.
How could I ever say no to you, considering you are the perfect match for me. I’ll never forget you or the million memories we have. Love, Jameson
I smiled to myself as I put the photo back into my wallet. How easy dating was back then. You told your friends who you had a crush on, then they told your crush’s friends, then your crush’s friends told your crush, and before you knew it, you were skipping school to lose your virginity in a less-than-romantic setting with a more-than-awkward sequence of fumbling, grabbing, grasping, and heavy breathing that lasted, at most, twenty-five seconds.
For a good two years Jameson and I were the perfect match for each other, in a world where your biggest concern was making sure your hair was perfectly curled for the Friday night football game and who’s parents would be out of town for Homecoming weekend. Thoughts and stress of work, renewing apartment leases, health insurance, and 401k’s never crossed our minds—how could they with the impending stress of prom, college applications, and getting caught drinking the weekend before summer began?
The simple words on the back of a picture, written almost ten years ago, put into perspective the lack of perfect matches in my life. If Alejandro had been the perfect match for me, I wouldn’t be heading to The Black Sheep in Murray Hill, our “neutral” location, to have our final talk. I suddenly had a knot in my stomach, in addition to the nausea I had had since waking up that morning.
As I got out of the cab, lost in my thoughts of how to make this talk as quick and painless as possible, I was suddenly jarred to the present as a passerby going in the opposite direction rammed directly into my left shoulder.
Jesus, people’s sidewalk manners in this neighborhood are atrocious, I thought to myself as I made a vow to not come back to Murray Hill until 2011.
“Oh, excuse me,” the passerby mumbled as he turned around to acknowledge that we were simply walking down a sidewalk rather than engaging in a game of rugby in the middle of Third Avenue. I bit my tongue to hold back the rude remark I would have loved to fire back at the violent sidewalk walker. I looked up as I went to formulate a more socially acceptable response to find The Realtor grinning at me, ear to ear.
“You asshole. Learn how to walk.” I replied as I punched him in his left shoulder. I was completely unsurprised that of all days, of all neighborhoods, in front of all the bars in Manhattan, I would run into this ex-lover as I was on my way to meet an ex-boyfriend. If this was a sign from God, I supposed that I better take it.
“What are you doing down here, anyways?” he asked. I looked back and forth, hoping Alejandro was already inside, as I really didn’t need to be making any awkward introductions in my hungover, emotionally vulnerable state.
“Oh, I know why you’re here,” The Realtor replied knowingly before I could answer. “I forgot he lived in this neighborhood.”
“I’m just getting the rest of my stuff,” I justified and turned to walk into the bar.
“I expect a call later tonight—unless of course, he conveniently forgets to bring your stuff,” he laughed in jest as I gave him the finger and opened the door to the bar. One non-perfect match down for the night, one more to go…