At a party I did not want to go to, in a borough I had never desired to visit, I met my husband.
“It’s in Brooklyn,” said my friend, who, like me, lived in the Bronx. My response: “Enjoy.”
She then explained that a mutual friend was invited by one of his law school classmates, and was told to bring people. My entire crowd was going. I’d be spending Saturday night alone at home if I didn’t tag along.
I decided to drive rather than rely on public transportation. It was a straight run down the New England to the Bruckner Expressway, which led to the FDR then right over the Brooklyn Bridge. When we reached the other side of the bridge, the directions to the Park Slope party were pretty easy to follow. I hemmed and hawed just the same, acting like we were headed to a foreign land where no one spoke English and if we got lost we would never be able to find our way home—ever. I was so anxious that I drove hunched over the steering wheel like Mr. Magoo.
By the time we reached our destination, my friend could not get out of my car and away from me—and my whining—fast enough. She joined others from our group who were just heading up the steps of the brownstone and were equally as excited as she was about making new acquaintances.
It’s not that I didn’t want to broaden my social horizons, it’s just that I didn’t understand why I had to go so far out of my way to do it. After all, I already lived in an outer borough, which I was trying to escape. For me, the action was in Manhattan. That’s where I wanted to party.
But I was there now and figured that with everyone I knew mingling, if I didn’t start participating I’d look like the dateless geek at the high school prom. I scanned the room, more than once actually, until finally, there he was, leaning up against the wall, Heineken in hand. I took one look at him and the entire room went fuzzy, yet he stayed sharply in focus.
I once heard Cher describe that very thing happening to her when she saw Sonny for the first time. Not that I get my wisdom from Cher, but just knowing this took place with someone else made me see that what I was feeling was possible and not just the wine. I knew this was the man I was going to marry.
I believe I ever-so-gently shoved several people out of my way as I made my beeline. Clearly, I wasn’t a “Rules” girl. But seriously, if you’re going to marry someone, you really should know the person’s name. When he saw me, he stood up straight and said, “Hi.”
Neil introduced himself, said he went to school with our host and lived in Queens, but I can’t remember what else he said because I was too busy envisioning what our children would look like and deciding that we’d live in New York City. And now we do, with our son and daughter, all because I went kicking and screaming outside of my comfort zone (and zip code.)
If you’re one of those people who insist there’s no one out there, perhaps stop going to the same ol’ “there.” If you’re not ready for a different borough, try a new neighborhood. Even the journey has possibilities—my brother-in-law, Andrew, met his wife, Kathy, on the subway.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
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