Dateline: "We collapse onto her distinctly-not-a-futon mattress…"
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6:17 p.m. – I’m standing on a train platform in New Jersey. I’m on my way to New York to visit an ex-girlfriend I recently reconnected with at a mutual friend’s wedding. I have not taken a train to the “big city” since I went on a field trip when I was twelve. I didn’t have to get a permission slip signed this time, but I’m hoping it’s just as educational.
6:20 – There are a number of embracing couples lining the platform. They make me think of her. I text her this observation.
6:22 – The train arrives. She texts me back with a smiley face. I feel smooth, because she is not a girl who uses emoticons lightly.
6:45 – The ride is spent texting every permutation of the phrase “I’m excited to see you” that I can think of. She replies in kind, subbing in all the variations I can’t come up with.
7:01 – Amtrak seats are uncomfortable in nice clothes. I hope the tie isn’t too much.
7:45 – The train pulls into Penn Station. I asked her not to tell me which subway to take — I want to show her I'm capable of conquering the subway. Helpfully, she advised me to not get lost.
8:15 - I learn the difference between the downtown and uptown 3 train the hard way.
8:30 – After finally reaching her block on the Upper West Side, I experience more cultural diversity walking down her street for five minutes than I have living in the suburbs my entire life.
8:37 – She opens the door. She’s somehow even prettier than she was at the wedding. I immediately want to take her in my arms, but there are roommates there and I remember first impressions are everything.
8:39 - I remember I’m terrible at first impressions. Awkward introductions are made.
8:40 - She takes me into her room. Her bed is considerably nicer than the futon she was sleeping on in her sister’s apartment in Pittsburgh when we were last together.
8:41 – I kiss her as soon as I close the door. I’m aware I’m doing that thing she doesn’t like where I stand too close and box her in, but I don’t care because I’m too focused on remembering how her lips feel on mine.
8:42 – She does care, and pushes me away with a smile.
8:43 - She informs me we will be eating copious amounts of Mexican food and getting drunk. Just like old times. I try not to think about how that might be a dangerous thing.
8:50 - We walk to a taco place a few blocks down from her, falling back into the familiar habit of cracking each other up. I wonder how I’ve made it a year without her in my life.
9:20 - While chowing down on the greatest burritos known to man, I profess my desire to move to New York as soon as possible, for reasons burrito-related and otherwise.
9:30 – We continue our efforts to catch up on each other's lives. She’s an English teacher in the Bronx now. Constant references to Dangerous Minds are made. I love her for that.
9:47 - She’s been doing most of the talking, so she tells me to tell her something interesting. I still hate that she does that.
9:48 - I tell her how this feels like the time I drove five hours to visit her at her parents' house while they were away. I’m amazed at how much travelling I’ve done for her, but I tell her she’s worth her weight in train fare. She’s drunk enough to find me funnier than usual.
9:53 - As we've now consumed several obnoxiously-colored drinks each, the trip back to her place has become far more difficult.
10:04 - We collapse onto her distinctly-not-a-futon mattress and proceed to make up for lost time by making out.
10:21 - We lie next to each other, saying deeply personal things about our time apart that we’re thankfully not going to remember in the morning.
10:46 – She finally compliments me on my nice clothes. She agrees with me that the tie is too much, but I’m grateful I wore it when she finally starts taking it off.