Breaking up was probably the best decision we could have made. After that, we were all over each other. Couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Our relationship was better. The sex was better. There had been something wrong with our relationship the whole time we were official. Turns out, it was the title. It felt forced. I wanted to call him my boyfriend so it would justify me losing my virginity to him. He wanted to call me his girlfriend because he’d been wanting to for the past two and a half years. Those were the wrong reasons.
Every spring and fall in college I attended a convention for college journalists with a handful of my coworkers. Every fall it was in a different city, but every spring it was in NYC. I was dying to get back there after the amazing summer I’d had doing my previous internship. This time, I wanted to take Will with me. He’s from small-town Oklahoma, so I couldn’t wait to see his reaction to a city like NYC. It would be like nothing he’d experienced before.
A week before our flight, I received an email from the editor I worked with at my NYC internship.
Any chance you’ll be in NYC during your spring break? I just started at a new magazine, and it’s sort of top-secret right now. It hasn’t been launched and doesn’t even have a name yet, but would you want to come intern for us during your spring break?
Did I want to intern at a top-secret start-up magazine? Hell yes I did! I hated that that meant Will would have to do some exploring on his own while I was at work, but in my opinion, that’s the best way to see the city.
We decided to stay in a hostel, because that was the only way we could afford to go. I’d stayed in NYC hostels before, but this one was definitely the strangest. It was called Candy Hostel, and it looked like a demented playhouse. There were lollipop lights on the walls and trippy light patterns on the ground.
It was literally a room with a bed and a shared bathroom down the hall. But that was all we needed. It’s times like these when you start to understand childhood rhymes like “Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t’ let the bed bugs bite.”
We dropped off our bags and headed to Times Square. Anyone who’s ever lived in NYC knows to avoid Times Square like the plague. But I needed Will to see it. I needed to see his face light up brighter than any Times Square billboard. And that’s exactly what happened. We came up from the subway station and his adorable little-boy face filed with awe, excitement, astonishment. We ordered street vendor hot dogs and finished the night with a brownie from Roxies.
The next morning, I went to work, and Will went exploring.
We were able to make an appearance at the journalism conference as well. But as usual any visit to NYC, time flew. We visited Columbia because Will had won a grant for grad school, and that was one of the schools that accepted it. We walked around the campus, wondering what it would be like to go to school there.
We also made it to Central Park, because you can’t go to NYC and not take a moment to relax at the park. There’s just something about seeing towering buildings behind the sprawling lawn and layer of trees.
We had sex in our cramped, dirty, hostel bed. Probably the same place hundreds of other people had had sex before we’d gotten there. And I wasn’t too sure when the sheets had been washed last. But when in NYC, you have to learn to expect filth, and rock it.