2008 was a shitty year. Literally. December came into, or more appropriately, came out of my life with salmonella poisoning. Not even a week after recovering, I was hit with the stomach bug – a relapse that happened when I was mid-audition for Antigone.
Also, I had no friends.
My friends had left for graduate schools across the country. I could now count the number of good friends I had in the city on one hand and still have fingers left over. Like any liberal arts grad with the “gee whiz, I can handle anything” mentality, I decided to be proactive. I started befriending people at random – at work, on subway rides. I even attended speed-dating events until the sound of a gong started to make me feel schizophrenic. Yet conversations did not seem to go further than where they had gone to school and how they ended up in New York. When I tried showing a little bit more of myself (e.g. how I liked to sing; how I only enjoyed movies with symbolism; how, at 13, I cried every time the Backstreet Boys came out with a new music video), people would call me random.
I was in a city of 8 million people, and I was lonely.
In typical New York fashion, a friend of mine acquired bedbugs. In a month, she was out of her old apartment and into a Craigslist sublet with two men. She asked me to come over to make sure her new roommates wouldn’t have her end up in an SVU: Special Victims Unit episode. Roomie 1 and 2 strolled into the apartment, and I decided that they wouldn’t crawl into her bed in the middle of the night. An hour later, as we were getting ready to go out dancing, the doorbell rang.
I heard Jimmy before I saw him. He had barely gotten into the apartment, and he was already talking – to his friend, to himself, to the jacket he was hanging – to whom, it wasn’t clear. But he managed to talk, laugh, and sing a few notes within the first few sentences of his entrance. He even danced a little bit on his way to the coat rack, and I liked how his arms kind of dangled when he did. He went out dancing with us, and we spent most of the night on a sofa making fun of each other, Nietzsche, and his mother, who managed to convince him to sit through the Mariah Carey movie when he was 13. We spoke to each other in Southern accents just because we felt like it.
Funny things happen when you’re attracted to someone. The synapses in your brain go crazy. Coyly brush your hand against his! Kismet — he sang a cappella at a NESCAC school, too! If he’s not Mr. Right, he’d at least make a good karaoke partner. I can’t believe he looks like Jonny Quest.
At the end of the night, he and I exchanged phone numbers. 413 and 802. He had gone to college in the town where I had grown up; I went to school in his home state.
In a city of eight million people, three numbers suddenly made me feel like I was home.