“You don’t look very happy.”
I understood how this stranger on the street could think that. Feebly making my way down 1st Avenue, I felt like a hooker standing on the corner in my black fur coat, bare legs and strappy heels at 10:30 a.m. Gold glitter was still adhered to my eyelids, but the faux lashes were just barely hanging on.
The cold winter air forced my hands deep into my pockets, clutching my pair of pink lacy panties until extending my arm to hail a cab. “Please, please, please…” I muttered under my breath through red-stained lips until a cab finally met me at the curb. But despite the appearance of this sketchy scene, the stranger’s observation was actually quite the contrary: I was happy. Very happy.
The night before, I could be found in this same outfit, racing down 5th Avenue for my makeup appointment. I was attending the World Technology Awards with my friend’s boyfriend who had been nominated. I’m the ultimate Third Wheel. Sitting in Sephora in my glittery cocktail dress, I looked around the store with its newly adorned Christmas decorations and smiled. I was in New York City, dressed up and going out. Being an adult didn’t seem so bad.
All dolled up, I made my way to Rockefeller Center to meet David. After dinner, cocktail hour and a successful Awards ceremony (he won!), we found ourselves drunkenly dancing with a group of tech nerds at an After-Party in Midtown. But my mind was on a guy across town. When he texted me to meet up, I couldn’t resist and grabbed a cab to East Village.
As I exited the cab and ran across the street, I spotted him standing outside the bar waiting for me. As soon as I approached him, he took my face in his hands and kissed me. It was exactly the greeting I wanted. We walked hand-in-hand to another bar before retreating to his place.
Old, worn hallways led to a perfectly manicured bachelor pad, complete with a minimalist, clean design. It was exactly what I pictured. “I just need to charge my phone, and then I can get an Uber back to the hotel.” But as I turned around he kissed me and led me to his room. I wasn’t Ubering anywhere.
Over the past year and a half, I had imagined this exact scene. Shortly after my last NYC trip, I didn’t think that it would happen. I was too hurt that he stopped talking to me. I tried to believe that I might never see him again. But as time went on, there was a drunk text here, a kissy emoji there. It felt impossible to visit New York City and not reach out to him for coffee or drinks.
When I woke up in a slightly hungover daze the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to roll over and find him next to me. The previous night played through my mind. There had been so many “I’ve missed you”s exchanged between us, and I didn’t regret one of them.
Both not wanting to return to reality, but needing to meet friends, we decided, “Two more minutes.” I tried to soak in every second of cuddling before sliding back into the metallic dress and fastening my heels. “Text me when you’re settled and back to normal,” he said as he kissed me on the cheek goodbye.
As I sat in the cab on the way to the hotel, I caught a reflection of myself in the glass divider and giggled. Perhaps I was crazy for having a crush a 37 year old guy whose last name I didn’t even know how to pronounce. Maybe it was skanky or desperate to cab across town and climb into his bed, especially after how he treated me previously. But I was 27, on vacation in New York City, with a pair of pink panties in my pocket. And I was happy.