Adria lives in LA, hails from NY, acts on stages and screens, writes at www.AdriaOccasionally.wordpress.com, Tweets @adria27, and does stand-up in her shower (and sometimes in public).
Chloe was spending a lot of time at the bar around the corner in search of something different, whether it was buffalo wings, a new beer, or just the company of the unlikely, gorgeous, Ivy League bartender she wasn’t sure. On this one particular night, however, she found it, even if it wasn’t what it seemed at first.
Lingering late, picking at the last few bites of celery and bleu cheese, Chloe and her friends watched a rowdy group of guys enter the bar. Her friends (a group considerably more conservative than herself) were unimpressed, but Chloe found something familiar in the playful conversation and jovial nature of the dudes. They reminded her of her friends from high school and just like those friends, these guys immediately approached Chloe’s crew of eligible ladies. But several minutes of casual flirting later, Chloe’s friends were ready to go. Chloe was sick of letting them dictate her limits, though, so she opted to stay on alone.
Chloe had reached a point that so many of her generation come to, she was ready to try online dating. After Tyler she felt defeated and worst of all, like she didn’t know what she wanted anymore. A quirky biography and $40 later she was ready to date.
It was getting cold in New York and Chloe didn’t want to spend another winter holding her teddy bear and a hot toddy, alone on those icy nights. She tweaked and tweaked her profile, inserting things that girls think guys like: “No romantic comedies for me, I’m all about Tarantino and the Batman franchise”, or “Give me a slice of pizza and a beer and my night’s made.” She had to weed through the perverted men twice her age bombarding her with messages, but soon some possibilities seeped through the cracks.
As I opened up the tab on my browser to write this, I received an Evite for a bachelorette party for one of my oldest friends (no, not an elderly woman, silly!) that I won’t be able to attend. Because, of course, I decided to move across the country just in time for the first wave of commitments / marriages among my friends. How timely, because today I wrote a “letter” (okay, a Facebook Message — this is 2012 and I still don’t know where I packed my stamps) to another old friend.
Chloe had found her groove, a little niche in the big, hectic city. Her life seemed full, it had a rhythm and she was happy. They say you can’t be with someone else until you’re content with being alone and she finally agreed. She agreed the night she met Tyler.
It was fall, finally, a respite from the sticky, city summer and Chloe’s cousin Max was visiting from Seattle. And that evening, Max, who had grown up in the city, had invited Chloe along to a high school friend’s birthday party. Happily, she tied on a scarf against the chill and hopped in a cab uptown.
The party was a letdown at face value. True to neighborhood stereotype, it was over-crowded, over-pastel-ed and she only knew Max, who, living 3,500 miles away was busy talking to old friends. But on the way to the bar for a glass of wine, Chloe found herself being handed a beer.
“You looked like you needed a drink.”
The cold days of winter dragged on and Chloe found herself alone more than ever before. Not just single, but spending long stretches of time, hours and hours upon hours by herself. Sure, you’re never actually alone in Manhattan, but it is easy to feel lonely in a big, crowded city. She was in a dark place, and not just literally between the cold, dark buildings on Avenue B. Rarely did she wake before noon and a broken coffee maker was her only excuse to leave the apartment.
Chloe met Gavin eight years after she knew of him. Both products of New York City suburbs, they had attended the same summer camp as kids. He even had a reputation that preceded him among Cedar Willow Camp, to which Chloe was oblivious. She’d spent most of her time at CWC picking broccoli out of her braces and attempting to stand up on water skis.
Then, anxious to make friends after moving in to the city after Chloe nervously accepted an offer to attend the birthday dinner of an old CWC acquaintance. The group of mostly strangers met for a late dinner near Union Square and Chloe clung to her social crutch, a girl friend she’d brought along with her.
Chloe was a little bit lost, despite the fact that she seemed perfectly fine. Her life in the East Village was pleasant and uncomplicated. She was caught up in the revelries not uncommon to one in her early twenties in Manhattan. In the mornings, she wrote music and in the evenings she earned her rent at a small, family-owned neighborhood restaurant. Nights, she spent her finding men to take her home.
Chloe knew that finishing college would leave her emotionally drained and physically exhausted, but being the over-achiever that she was, she had prepared for that. Three weeks after graduation and one week after waking from the half-sleep that comes from returning home to your childhood home with an uncertain future she walked in the big, blue doors of The Music Academy of New York.
TMA NY has international prestige but less of a US presence than giants like Julliard and Berklee. However, Chloe’s decision to attend was based more on its close proximity to her parents’ house in Long Island, where she was reluctantly living until she earned enough money to move out. It was her hope that school’s six week summer program could help ease her into adult life.
But this isn’t a story about Chloe’s vocal training or piano skills, it’s a story about unlikely love. Or something like love.
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