We officially met at my best friend’s wedding.
Prior to this milieu, where we made the seamless transition from strangers into acquaintances, I’d seen her almost every day. We’d both be running in opposite directions on the corner of 26th street and 8th avenue; I’d hastily run South straight off the E train to make my 9am class and, I later learned, she’d be walking North en route to work. She was the girl with the hoodie over her head, and recognized only as a friend of a friend of a friend. Her name was one I heard in passing, from mutual social circles we may have crossed at some point in time.
Now she was the girl I saw at the Shot Room (this was not your run of the mill wedding) a 12 by 12 space designed with frat party enthusiasts and people like myself in mind. Our sudden rendezvous went like most drunk bathroom conversations unfold: “Hey I semi-know you!” “I LOVE your dress” “Let’s take a shot together.” Two, turned into four, turned into infinity, but who’s counting? We both drunkenly ended up in an Uber home; the scene playing out like a platitudinous movie montage. We talked about our most recent heartbreaks, mental bucket lists that entail forbidden piercings and forbidden relationships, and travel aspirations we’d left on the back burner for far too long. When we both got out at our respective destinations I wondered how I could I take this adult friendship steady.
In high school and college the process of making friends was seemingly organic. Now, I find it more difficult to turn a co-worker friendship IRL or in this case, an Uber pool mate of sorts. In a time when all my friends are getting married I had no one to explore life with. No go-to or down-for-whatever buddy as everyone seemed to be settling down into their mundane routines. The next day I got her number from our mutual friend and texted her on a whim to go for drinks. Suddenly Thursday nights became our weekly ritual. She became the Clyde to my ominous name (giving my parents good reason to call me the rebellious child all my life). We didn’t go robbing banks but we got drunk off saccharine cocktails after work and went gallivanting around the city like our only obligation for the night was to enjoy the sporadic escape we granted ourselves.
Like eating late night munchies-inspired Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Stumbling into Ferrara Bakery on empty stomachs and eating cheesecake that makes you feel unworthy of such a godly delicacy. Riding the Himalaya on full stomachs (never again) in Asbury Park like old camp friends. Learning about Trump’s decision to launch cruise missiles into a Syrian airfield through dark humored jokes at The Stand. Mixing drinks at Genuine Liquorette’s bartending crash course. Planning things that would never happen but basking in the world of “what ifs.”
What if we went to Amsterdam this summer and rode bikes along the Waterfront?
What if we quit our jobs?
What if we moved to another country to start a new life there?
In lieu of escaping through travel and imagining life elsewhere, what if we stayed right here? Two lone wolfs on a Thursday night savoring a city that’s ours to keep.