It all started on Yom Kippor. After helping to run the youth programming at a synagogue on the Upper West Side, I joined my friend, Amy, at her cousins’ Break the Fast on 65th and Central Park West.
This year, Yom Kippor fell on a Saturday, so naturally, after drinking plenty of familial wine, Amy and I were ready for a night out.
At a Midtown East bar, we danced the night away. At one point, I found myself flirtatiously talking to a young man who had just offered to buy me a drink. From there, we engaged in several short conversations throughout the night. When he asked, I gave Sam my phone number.
Over the next five weeks, Sam and I continued our flirtation through phone calls and text messages. It wasn’t until Halloween night, however, that Sam suggested we get together for happy hour to celebrate my signing the lease to my new apartment.
I had a fantastic time! I had officially acquired the Boerum Hill, Brooklyn apartment of my dreams, and Sam was there to share my excitement. I don’t know how many beers we each drank that night, but by the end, my bottle goggles were thick, and I was in love.
Over the next few weeks, Sam and I went out on two more dates. Each time we met, I became increasingly aware of my un-attraction toward him. Our dates were filled with awkward silences—I had run out of things to say, and Sam was content, sitting across the table from me, puppy dog-gazing into my eyes.
On the morning following our third date, I arrived at work. Habitually swiveling my black desk chair to face my computer, I peeled back the white, plastic lid to release the soothing scent of personally percolated, “strong” flavored, vending-machine coffee. Allowing the caffeinated aroma to linger in my nose, I placed the coffee down on my desk and turned to my computer with intent. I knew what I had to do.
Even before signing online, I could feel the pulse of his uninvited morning messages flashing on my screen. With anticipation and dread playing a game of tug-o-war in my stomach, my jittering hand managed to reach for my coffee; I took a sip of courage.
Just do it—like a Band-Aid.
His on-screen explosion of enthusiastic messages began. I cursorily drafted. “Good morning… I think we should talk…”
What am I doing on December 6th? That’s like a month away. I don’t know.
Without responding, I continued to compose. “…I just don’t think I should be dating anyone right now…It’s not you…”
Your company holiday party at Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue!?
“I’d love to!”
Convincing myself of Sam’s charm, I celebrated the invitation as I mentally perused my wardrobe for this evening of vintage New York elegance.
“Do you have any dietary restrictions?” As if a vacuum, Sam’s question sucked me out of the daydream and jolted me right back to my black desk chair, in my gray cube, with my quickly-staling vending machine coffee.