Remember how I said moving in with your parents post-graduation made you cling on to anything that made you feel like an adult? Well, moving to a new city, hundreds of miles away from your best friends and family, makes you cling on to anything that makes you feel like home. I wanted to dive into everything NYC had to offer. The whole moving-to-NYC-without-a-place-to-live-and-picking-random-roommates-on-Craigslist thing is evidence of that.
I wanted to soak up the culture, the atmosphere—everything that was different from Texas and Oklahoma (which was, um, everything). But at the same time, I needed an anchor, something to keep me grounded. Something to remind me of home. For me, that was Will.
I moved away without officially breaking it off with Will, but we weren't officially together anyway, so I wasn't sure if there was anything to really break off. He knew I wasn't interested in long distance. I knew I wanted to be single. But that didn't stop us from calling each other almost every night. I had so much to tell him!
I wanted to tell him how my new roommate, Maleah, knew a lot of club promoters, so she'd be taking me under her wing and introducing me to the clubbing scene. I wanted to tell him all about the two mice who lived in out apartment, one of which I named "Cotton" because he was the size of a little cotton ball. I wanted to tell him how we befriended a man who drives a stretch Hummer limo and plays bongo drums at one of the clubs we'd frequent. Said limo driver would call us when it would rain and ask us if we wanted a ride to the club that night. To which we'd always accept.
I wanted to tell him how one night Maleah, one of our girlfriends, and I were walking down the street in our heels and dresses and a group of guys passed us and said, "Dude, do you think they're celebrities?" (To which his friend answered, "No, they're probably porn stars.")
So I did. I told him all about it. Sometimes I couldn't wait to get home, kick off my heels and forget about my throbbing feet, and call Will to tell him about my night. He loved to hear about it. Life was much different in NYC than Oklahoma, that's for sure. When people asked if I had a boyfriend, I'd say no, but that I had a Will back home. I wore his ring every day. (In fact, to this day I've never taken his ring off). I flirted with other guys. I dated other guys (remember the god-awful firefighter incident??). I lived up the single life. But I missed Will, and I wanted to see him again.
"What if I come up there at the end of September, so we can celebrate our birthdays together?" He asked one night on the phone.
"That sounds perfect." I responded. September 28 couldn't come soon enough.
When Will stepped out of the cab in front of my building, I tackled him with a bear hug. It was so good to see my best friend again. I helped him carry his bags up to my 5th floor walk up (of course I had to take a break on the 3rd floor). He walked into my apartment and nodded in approval.
"You're right! This place has character!" he said as he took in the exposed brick, the bright yellow kitchen wall, the light green and dark green striped wall in the living room, the maroon wall in my room, the vintage couch where my roommate slept, the view out my bedroom window of lively Saint Marks Palace.
"Wait until you see the best part," I said, leading him out of my room. I grabbed my foam-cushioned pilates mat on the way out. I pulled him out the front door and up another set of stairs. Then I pushed a door open and we stepped out to the roof. I wedged my shoe in the door to make sure we wouldn't get locked out.
Will's eyes lit up. There's pretty much nothing like seeing New York City from a rooftop.
We both stood there with our eyes wide, a half-smile on our faces, without saying a word.
After our moment of silence, I took him by the hand.
"And now, for our Birthday present."
He raised an eyebrow at me, curiously.
I kicked my pilates mat to unroll it and looked back at him, seductively.
When I said there's nothing like seeing NYC from a rooftop, what I meant was, there's nothing like watching the stars over the city twinkle while you're half naked and face up on a pilates mat with your equally naked best friend hovering over you.
Happy Birthday to us.