With Kurt safely on the road to recovery, I’m back at my cottage and trying to catch up with everything going on at work. It seems like everyone…except Megan, is glad I’m back. I think the time apart did her and me some good though. Now that Leo’s long gone, and the stress of juggling two men at once is over, I no longer feel the need to scare the crap outta her on a daily basis. In fact, I even made nice talk with her in the break room yesterday. I try to stay outta there at noon because that’s when the Chinese sewing ladies are squealing away at the break table while they eat their monkey brains and rat embryos, but I had to refill my water bottle. It was at the exact same time Megan was refilling hers.
“How’s it going with the internship?”
“Are you talking to me?”
“Well, no one else in here speaks English so…yeah I’m talking to you.”
“Oh, um… it’s good. Different than I thought, but yeah… it’s good.”
“It’s certainly not the glamorous industry everyone thinks it is, huh?”
“Totally not. It’s like my friends think I sit around and read Vogue and then share my fashion inspiration in chic trend-forecasting meetings. But all I really do all day is unroll fabric and count buttons.”
“Stick with it and you’ll get more responsibility soon. In fact, I suggested they take you to Dallas with them for March market. I think they could use your help.”
“Megan, work is work. Whatever happened outside of here has zero impact on what I think of your performance here. Got that?”
“Welp, I’m off to New York this evening, so I’ll see you next week.”
“Do you see Leo?”
I come to a screeching halt just outside of the break room, turn and peek my head back in.
“What’d you say?”
“When you go to New York, do you see him?”
“Noooooo. Have you talked to him since he moved there?”
“I’m not allowed to, remember?”
“No, it’s okay, it’s my fault all that happened.”
“No, I acted childish.”
“You were right though, Chrissy.”
“I was totally in love with him.”
Hearing her say that should make me mad, but it just makes me sad.
Because of me, both of us can’t know him anymore. Such a shame.
With a heartfelt sigh, I say, “I know you were.”
“It’s cool though. I mean, it wasn’t at first, but then I met Mick in Shipping & Receiving, and we’re like totally seeing each other and I dunno, I think I’m supposed to be with him. Sounds silly, I know…”
“No, not silly at all. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe Mick’s the bright side of all that stupid stuff that happened between you and me. Just a heads up though…Erika in Production has the hots for him, and she’s a huge slut. I’d keep my eye on her.”
We actually share a little laugh before I set off down the hallway again.
“He asked about you, ya know?”
Now it’s her head that’s peeking into the hallway. I whirl around so quickly that half of my water tumbles out over the rim of my bottle.
“My roommate’s boyfriend is old high school buddies with Leo and Taddeo. He went to New York to visit them, and Leo asked him to ask his girlfriend to ask me if you ever got divorced. Of course, I wasn’t supposed to know that it was Leo who wanted to know because he still hates my guts and…”
“What did you say!?”
“I said I don’t know because I don’t know.”
“Did you say anything else?”
“Are you gonna be mad?”
I raise my hands in the air and bug my eyes out at her.
“Okay, okay okay…all I said was that you look sad all the time and that I thought ever since he went away you’ve been… you’ve been…”
“I’ve been what?!”
Oh great. I bet he’s enjoying his fabulous New York Investment Banker single life so much more knowing I’m a total wreck.
“Chrissy, I’m sorry! I had to! You know how Leo hates liars!”
She was trying to be funny to shake me out of my funk, but she failed.
“Better than anyone.”
Usually on my red eye ﬂights to New York I spend the first two hours reviewing reports for my meetings, then I order a vodka tonic, pop a melatonin, throw the shitty airline blanket over my head, and snooze until we hit the ground. But last night, I put the Braveheart soundtrack on my Discman and stared out of the window into complete blackness for five whole hours as it played on repeat. Slutty Co-worker, who had arrived a few days before me for some sample shopping, was waiting for me in the lobby of the W Hotel with a cup of coffee and a bagel. She always takes such good care of me.
“I don’t even know why I’m here.”
“The Macy’s appointment. Jesus, hunny, how many fuckin’ melatonins did you take?”
“No freak, I know why I’m supposed to be here. I’m just not into it anymore. Work used to be so important to me because it was the one place I could be myself. But after meeting Leo…after having the kind of happiness with him that all of this used to give me…I dunno, now that he’s gone, it just doesn’t fill the void it once did.”
“What are you saying?”
“I don’t wanna do this anymore.”
“What do you want to do then?”
“I have absolutely no idea.”
“Hunny, just go find him so we can all get the fuck on with our lives.”
“Oh yeah…and tell him what?”
“That you love him!”
“Tell him I love him so much that I’m not even divorced yet? Yeah, that’ll win him over.”
“I bet my last buck, he’s just as unhappy as you.”
“I’d take that bet if there was a way to find out.”
“There is. Go take a nap and a shower, and I’ll meet ya back down here at four o’clock.”
“What about the Macy’s appointment?”
“You don’t want to do it anymore…then don’t do it anymore. I’ll take care of it.”
“Are you serious?”
“As serious as your love is for that boy.”
Not knowing what to expect, at four o’clock on the dot, I show up in the lobby. Slutty Co-worker yells to me from a town car outside.
“Chrissy! Over here!”
“Fancy. Where we headed?”
“Driver, World Financial Center please.” Then turning to me like a five-year-old on Christmas morning, “I did some detective work, and it looks like Leo leaves work at around four-thirty and occasionally stops off at a bar across the street from his office. Let’s see if he’s thirsty today.”
“You did some detective work?”
“Hey, you’re not the only crafty bitch in town who knows how to hack into voicemail. I have my ways.”
I’m quiet on the drive. It’s been eight months since I’ve seen Leo, and I don’t really know what good can come out of watching him drink beer at a bar. But my reservations do nothing to turn the car around. I have to see what a successful Leo looks like.
Sixty minutes and three overpriced New York drinks later…
“Are you sure that’s the place?”
We’re sitting at a restaurant across the street from Leo’s supposed hang out, and it’s beginning to look like either Slutty Co-worker took us to the wrong place or Leo has better things to do today.
“Yes, calm down. You’re getting on my nerves! Have another drink, for Godsakes!”
“Jesus, let’s just go, this is stupid.”
“Omigod, there he is.” Clapping her hands she sings, “Told you so! Told you so!” over and over again.
Walking across the windy street with his black hair smartly slicked back, wearing a crisp white collared shirt, black slacks, shiny black shoes, and a black trench coat, is my Leo. He looks everything and nothing like the rock yard worker I met just over two years ago. Wow, he really did it.
“I gotta get outta here.”
“This is pathetic. I went from being a twenty-eight-year-old adulterer who stalks twenty-two-year-old college kids to a thirty-year-old divorcee who stalks out of state twenty-four year old investment bankers. Call the driver.”
“Well, technically, you’re not divorced yet.”
“Exactly. Another reason why this is so pathetic! Call the driver now!”
“Just go talk to him.”
“And say what?! Hi, Leo, I’m still the pathetic loser who can’t seem to shit or get off the pot or should I lie to him AGAIN and pretend I’ve made all these wonderful changes in my life, only to woo him back AGAIN, fall madly in love with him AGAIN, and get dumped when he finds out the truth about me…AGAIN?!”
“You’re killing me, girl. I’ve never met anyone better at screwing up a good thing.”
“Me neither. Now give me my money and call the driver.”
“You bet me your last buck that he’s just as unhappy as me. Look at him.”
Slutty co-worker confirms my worst fear by handing me all of the money in her wallet as I broodingly watch Leo laugh with the banker boy sitting next to him while he cheers on some stupid sport. I clumsily move to the other side of the table to collect my winnings so I won’t have to see Leo’s beautiful happy face anymore, and that’s when he notices me. Not only did my version of musical chairs disrupt the five angry New Yorkers sitting around me, it also got the attention of Leo who was fifty feet away across the street.
“Uh-oh. Looks like he’s leaving, hunny.”
“I can’t care anymore.”
“But you dooooooo, that’s what makes everything you say and do so weird!”
“Where’s the damn driver, already?”
Admitting her defeat, Slutty Co-worker takes a deep breath and shakes her head at me.
“Just pulled up.”
“Good. I wanna go back to the hotel, take a bath, and forget this ever happened.”
What that really means is I’m gonna go back to the hotel, raid the mini-bar, and pass out. I slap twenty of my new bucks on the table, quickly gather my belongings, and yet again, annoy everyone around me as I bash their tables with my big fat handbag on the way to the door.
I’m one foot inside of the car when I hear it. I cup my hands over my mouth and snap my wide eyes toward Slutty Co-worker in a way that suggests that if I don’t move an inch or say a word I can be invisible. It didn’t work.
“Chrissy, over here!”
I slowly peak my head up over the roof of the car, pause for a moment, and then slide back down. “How in theeeeeee hell did he notice us?”
“Uh gee…the restaurant’s a wall of windows, hunny! Maybe you shoulda thought of that before you decided to knock down four tables on the way out the door and cause a big fucking scene!”
I take another peak over the roof, and Leo puts his hands in the air like he’s asking “What the hell are you doing here?” He’s trying to make his way over to me, but he’s at the mercy of the crosswalk, the outrageous New York traffic, and the hordes of people who evidently have more important places to go than him.
“What are you gonna do, sweetie?”
I raise my hand up to wave at Leo, but it looks more like I’m taking an oath on the bible. His crosswalk turns green and, for a moment, I watch his trench coat ﬂap in the wind as he maneuvers through the crowds of people to make his way towards me. By the time he gets there, I’m gone.