Character List

Friday, January 31, 2014

Speed Dating

I awoke the next morning to a text from Britney, giving me details about speed dating event she signed us up for.  I rubbed my temples and shook my head.  I sighed and texed back "okay." It was Thursday and speed dating was Friday night at a restaurant in the city.  Britney told us to meet her the next day, at her office so we could go together.

I loved being home but it sucked to be the only one in a big house all by yourself while everyone was at work.  I had no one to hang out with during the day.  I was bored out of my mind.  I needed to find a job and start anew. I quickly pulled out my laptop and signed into my LinkedIn account.  I changed my status to "Relocated to NY and Seeking New Employment" hoping a connection would have some leads. The rest of the day consisted of talk shows, take out Chinese and me crashing on the couch.  

I needed someone to talk to. I needed Jason to forgive me for what I did. I needed closure. I had to do it, I convinced myself as I dialed Jason's number.  It rang twice and then I was sent to his voicemail.  Jason was really icing me.  I hung up and called again but this time straight to voicemail.

I decided to send him a text, typing "Jason, I really need to talk to you.  I hate how things are with us and I know it's all my fault but please hear me out."

I hit send and stared eagerly at my iPhone, waiting for Jason to respond but he didn't.  I justified in my head, that he was busy.  It was 10:15 in NY and that meant it was 7:15 in LA, Jason was probably having dinner or driving.  I ended up watching reruns of Friends and eventually fell asleep.

The next morning I grabbed my cell phone and saw three new text messages.  I excitedly retrieved them.  The first was from Brit telling me to make sure I wear a cute little black dress.  Yeah, whatever.  The next was from my older brother John asking if I wanted to have dinner with him, his wife and their three adorable little girls over the weekend.  I responded "That sounds great, let me know the details and I'll be there."

Finally the last text was from Jason.  When I read it my heart fell.  "Liz, I don't want to hear you out, what you did is unforgivable and I need space.  Please stop texting and calling me.  I have nothing to say to you, you're not the same person I loved."

I blinked back tears and started to text him back but what could I say to change his mind.  Instead, I laid back on the bed staring at Jason's text, I was shocked how cold and callous he was being.

I felt my hot tears spilling down uncontrollably down my cheeks.  I wiped them away quickly.  I had to move on, I kept telling myself.  Move on.  Easier said than done.  I heard my phone ping and picked it up.  Another text from Brit asking if I received her text about the dress code.  I responded "Yes, LBD."

She typed back "I know you're going through a lot but keep an open mind. This might be the beginning of the rest of your life. Well, maybe not but we'll find you a hot man to forget what's his face."  I smiled to myself.  Maybe she's right, maybe going out will take my mind off Jason.

I stood in front of my full length mirror, looking at myself.  I had put on 10 pounds since the breakup but I was pleased with my appearance.  My dark brown hair was long and layered.  My hazel eyes stared back at me as I twirled a strand of my hair.  I had a little food belly but nothing I couldn't get rid of.  I gave myself a once over before going to my closet and picking out a black peplum dress.  I was perfect.  It highlighted my boobs and made my waist look super tiny and best of all it camouflaged my food belly.  Pleased with the dress, I moved on to my hair.  I decided to curl the ends with a wide barreled curling iron.  Once satisfied I applied my makeup, three spritz of Jimmy Choo perfume and I was all set.

I was waiting in the lobby of Britney's building around 5:40.  Ally was already there.  I hugged her and she told me that Brit was on her way down.  Britney looked impeccable in her Herve Leger dress that highlighted every curve and inch of her body.  I immediately felt dowdy in my outfit.  She told me I looked so good and I smiled halfheartedly.  We cabbed it to the restaurant.

Once there we checked our coats and headed to the reception table, where we checked in.  We entered the room and looked around.  There were a few people mingling.  The men were dressed in suits, but no one really caught my eye.  Britney pointed out a man to me but I shook my head.  Within the next 15 minutes the room filled up and we were given instructions.  There were 25 men and 25 women.  The first man I met was 38 and had a beer belly, clearly not love at first sight.  Sorry, I'm a bit shallow.  He was nice enough but no attraction.  There were a handful of men who were more interested in staring at my breasts than listening to me.  Then there were the socially awkward who couldn't even make small talk.  I was more of less over this.

Eighteen men so far and none were my type.  I was becoming annoyed until number 22 - Lukas.  He sat down and started to tell me about himself.  He was an architect and lived on the Upper East Side, grew up in Connecticut, yadda, yadda, yadda.  All I could think about were his mesmerizing green eyes and his tanned perfect skin, his brilliantly white teeth, his dark hair and that smile.  He was in the middle of question when it was time to switch.  He stood up and winked at me and my heart started doing flip flops.  The last three men were no comparison to Lukas.  He was the only one I was interested in.  At the end of the speed dating session, we basically selected the men we wanted to get to know better and the men did the same.  If we were both interested in each other, both parties will receive the other's contact info. 

After speed dating, the girls and I headed to a bar for a couple of drinks.  Britney kept talking about a Vin Diesel look alike who she hit it off with.  I couldn't even remember that one.  Ally was into a guy with glasses.  While they talked I wondered if we were at the same place. They both admitted that they selected four men each to get to know better.  I kept asking myself "how is that possible?"  My mind must have been somewhere else during the entire time.  I wished Lukas picked me but I would have to wait a few days to find out. 

some things never change

As I entered my childhood home, I felt the warmth and love.  My dad was sitting in the kitchen working on his laptop. His face lit up when he saw me; he quickly got up and walked over to give me a huge bear hug. He told me everything would be okay, before kissing me on my forehead and retreating back to his laptop.  I wanted to believe him but the truth is they didn't know all the details. They didn't know how much I hurt Jason and that I was the cause of this breakup. My parents had always placed me on a pedestal growing up.  After having three sons, the had me; the daughter they wished for. In their eyes, I could do no wrong. I was their little princess.  

It was getting late and I needed time to myself so I told my parents I was tired and needed to rest.  I kissed them both and went up to my bedroom. It was just how I left it. Collages of friends on the walls, memories of the good times we shared, a four poster bed with a pink duvet, teddy bears on the window seat that overlooked our backyard and there it was on the nightstand by bed.  A picture of Jason and I, that was taken at my brother's wedding 5 years ago.  I held the picture to my chest as tears flowed down my cheeks.  How could I screw things up so badly? I took a deep breath and put the picture frame inside a drawer. I couldn't bear seeing his face. I had to move on and start anew. 

The next morning I sent a group text to my girlfriends Melissa, Ally and Britney letting them know that I was back.  After texting back and forth for a while we agreed to meet at the Garden City Hotel for drinks.  My day was uneventful as I unpacked and moped around.  The boredom kicked in and I ended up dozing off. When I awoke it was dark out. I looked at the time, 5:42. I rushed out of bed and quickly showered and searched for something to wear.  It's so cold here in NY, you'd think you were in Antarctica.  I rummaged through my closet and settled on a v-neck fitted cream colored sweater dress that hugged all my curves perfectly.  I found a thick brown belt that emphasized my waist and put it on. I hurriedly did my makeup and then slipped on knee high stiletto brown boots.  I looked at my reflection in the mirror.  I looked hot but inside I felt unsure.  I sighed loudly before leaving. 

My friends were seated at the bar when I got there.  Melissa in a pencil skirt,  black booties and a cute cowl neck top that emphasized her hour glass shape. Her dark hair straightened and framing her oval face.  Ally was wearing a leather leggings that showed off her thin, uber long legs and an over-sized sweater, her blond hair pulled back.  Britney was giggling and telling the group something in her lighthearted nature, her brown hair pushed to the side. She was wearing a short pleated skirt, with tights and a silk beige top.  I walked over slowly, not knowing what I would say when asked about Jason and I breaking up.  Once they spotted me they all ran over throwing their arms around me, talking all at once.  Minutes later we sat around a table and Britney ordered a round of tequila; the girls said I needed that to loosen me up. 

They didn't ask for details about the break up and for that I was grateful but they were quick to offer suggestions about moving on.  Britney, the extrovert ,said excitedly "I think you should do speed dating. I've always wanted to try it and now that you're single you can do it with me." Her face lighting up with the idea.

I tried to respond, "Ummm, I don't know about" when she interrupted "Trust me. You are so doing with me, Elisabeth and I'm not taking no for an answer." My other friends seemed to be on Britney's side with Melissa chiming, "You know if I were single I'd totally be down." Ally nodded frantically, adding "I want to go too, sign me up Brit." Ugh I was being ganged up on and I knew there was no way out.

Sighing loudly, I said dejectedly "I'll go but I can't promise I'll enjoy it."

With that the girls cheered loudly and ordered another round of shots.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

home sweet home

After four years of living in Los Angeles, it was good to finally be back home in NYC; even if that meant non stop phone calls/texts from my mom.  Bless her heart. I understand her need to help me after all that had transpired during the past five months in Los Angeles. You see after graduating from NYU four years ago, I headed out west to be with my college sweetheart Jason.  Jason was all I ever wanted – confident,  understanding,  adventurous, sexy as hell and best of all he treated me like a princess.

We were inseparable ever since sophomore year when we met in statistics class.  As graduation grew near, the mere thought of him leaving was unbearable. I couldn't picture my life without him and knew that it would kill me to have to say goodbye to him. That sentiment must have been weighing heavily on his mind, as he asked me to move with him to Los Angeles. Of course I said yes, after all he was my world.

Living with Jason was amazing at first but things changed three years in when he started law school.  I loved his ambition and supported him completely but our time together was now limited to just sleeping in the same bed.  I was lonely and my mind was spiraling out of control.  Whenever Jason met with his study group, I felt alone and it didn't help that his study group consisted of two very attractive women.

With each passing day I became increasingly frustrated and started throwing myself into my job as an investment banker; it was a fancy title I threw around whenever asked about my career. In actuality I was an associate at an investment bank on the marketing side; selling high grade bonds. I started interacting and hanging out with my colleagues more, most of them alpha males, for after work drinks.  At first it was just a way to kill time but eventually I began engaging in some pretty heavy flirting with my colleague Nate, a Yale graduate who was from the east coast. Most of our conversations were inappropriate but Nate made me feel sexy and wanted.  I justified the flirting by thinking to myself that Jason was doing the same with his study partners and that with Nate it would never go past flirting.

Boy was I ever wrong.  One night after having one too many pomegranate martinis, I ended up at Nate’s place. I don’t remember the sordid details.  All I remember is I waking up in his bed, naked, with Nate snoring away.  I got out of bed quickly and retrieved my phone. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I was worried that Jason probably had the swat team looking me, his missing girlfriend. Guilt ridden, I saw that in my drunken stupor I sent Jason a text saying I was spending the night with a girlfriend.  I felt awful as I re-read that text.  How could I lie to the man I loved like this?

I looked over at Nate who was sprawled on his back, the sheet barely covering his torso. My mind was spinning as I wondered what exactly happened hours before.   I couldn't control my emotions and my eyes filled with tears. How could I let this happen? How could I betray Jason like this?  I was an emotion mess as I pulled on my clothes which were strewn all over his living room and left.
When I got to our apartment, Jason had already left for school.  I partially reveiled that I didn't have to face him yet.  I undressed quickly and walked to the bathroom.  As a took a shower, I tried to wash away all the guilt I felt.  I sobbed loudly realizing how much I betrayed Jason and how he would react if he found out. There was no way I could go to work and face Nate or my colleagues and called in sick.  I spent the entire day crying, eating ice cream and watching crappy talk shows.

From that day my relationship with Jason became filled with lies. I convinced myself that could never find out.  He loved me and I would not hurt him.  When I returned to work, Nate told me that we should talk but I brushed it off.  I became a recluse and stayed to myself.  All conversations were strictly work related.  No more happy hours or hanging out with my colleagues.

I did everything in my power to protect Jason and our relationship.  Jason loved me enough to ask me to marry him three weeks later. I said yes and thought everything would be okay, that he’d never find out about my secret.  I was starting to feel like myself again, happy and excited to spend my life with the love of my life.  Little did I know, my world would come crashing down.

I thought I was in the clear and that he would never find out about my rendezvous with Nate. But he did, as pics of Nate and I canoodling at the bar showed up on Facebook; my world was crumbling slowly before my eyes. I tried to make things better but failed, he didn't want to hear anything I had to say. He cried, that was the first time in six years I ever saw him cry and it was because of me.  It made me feel even more broken.

Needless to say Jason broke up with me and my life as I knew it was in shambles, my dreams shattered. There was nothing left for me to do but quit my job and move back to NYC. I wanted to make peace with Jason but he moved out as soon as he found out about my infidelity.  I had texted him telling him I was going back home and would like to say good bye but he said he was busy. Maybe I deserved that.

LA was now the site of my broken dreams and heart.  I cried as I left that day,  remembering the good times and how I screwed up. I thought about moving back to NYC that entire plane ride.  Moving back home with mom and dad would be so different, yet I had no other choice. I was sad, depressed and needed love and a caring, warm smile.  The 5 hour plane ride went by so fast and before I knew it I was in a cab headed towards Manhasset, a town about 20 miles from Manhattan on Long Island. The cabbie helped me with my luggage as I rang the doorbell. My mom opened the doors and wrapped me in her arms.  I cried as she rubbed my back telling me everything would be okay.