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.
Music seemed to have taken a backseat to life, something that she didn’t quite anticipate or understand. When you are embarking upon a career in the arts it is easy to dream big, make a big push, and then spend an extended period of time wondering why your life isn’t quite as glamorous, exciting or successful as you planned it out to be. You read about “starving artists” and think it all sounds so tragically beautiful, but, like Chloe, you spend long, wasteful afternoons sitting in dark, over-heated cafes wondering what you’re doing. Her phone bill was a joke, countless calls to her Father, crying and hoping for insight in to how to make it all work. He was supportive and it was calming to talk to him, but at a certain point she needed to rely on herself, not her parents.
Chloe went home alone night after night, clenching her childhood stuffed bunny rabbit and contemplating what her life had become. The stifling, dry heat of old apartment radiator pipes and the below-freezing air drifting through the sole window was a cliché metaphor for her own hot-and-cold feelings about the path she’d chosen. Sitting up late with a container of cinnamon-raisin peanut butter, bunny rabbit by her side, Chloe thought on her choices and adjusted her tube socks. It was in these moments that she’d reflect upon her history, and it was one particularly lonely evening that she remembered Dylan.
He was a free-spirited family friend and when Chloe was twelve she fell head-over-heels in love with him. Pre-adolescent love is a funny thing. From an outsider’s perspective its immature and trivial, but when you are twelve you have no perspective. And Chloe was madly in love. Her feeling was complete and overpowering, and no one could take those feelings away. Reflecting back upon them that one particularly lonely evening on Avenue B, she was suddenly aware of her growth into an adult version of that twelve year-old girl.
She made herself a cup of tea and remembered how in an act of desperation she’d written Dylan a letter as the first step in acknowledging her feelings towards him. They lived only a half an hour away from one another, but it was an entirely different state and she had no way of acquiring his AIM screen name. It was either a letter or a phone call, and considering her nerves, the latter seemed impossible.
Chloe leaned back and thought about how tired she was of meeting men who were uninteresting and she was unenthusiastic about. Sending that letter to Dylan was one of the most exhilarating things she’d ever done. She remembered writing it, draft after draft with her best friend, Jessica and then finally sealing the envelope, double, triple, and quadruple checking the address and finally walking down to the corner to the mailbox to send it on its way. She hesitated countless times before finally dropping it into the big blue sliding receptacle and prayed that Dylan’s Mom or Dad or worse, older brother, didn’t open it first.
Chloe thought about the last guy she’d dated, a boring nerd whose suits were ill fitting. She’d let herself get excited about the prospect of a boyfriend more than the actual guy himself and that was her mistake. She could sit alone and think about the past and dwell on her own mistakes or childhood fantasies, or she could resolve to stop dating the wrong men. Against Dylan, the nerd from Hoboken was a wake up call. She needed to be excited about someone again. She needed her breath to shorten just thinking about someone, she needed something real. She needed to focus on something else. She needed to focus on her music. That’s what she’d liked about Dylan when she was twelve and what she liked about herself now–passion. She’d lost her passion and she needed to get up out of her cave-dwelling apartment and do what she wanted to do. Fall in love, with the city, with a song, with herself, and maybe, after all of that, with a man.
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).
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