Day 23: The Night I Met Ben

For the final 30 days of my twenties, I am writing one personal narrative a day that has impacted my life until now.  To read more about my challenge, feel free to check out the first post.  

Also, this 30 Day challenge is also to support a wonderful charity, Zara Aina.  Please check out my fundraiser here and if you’re able, please consider throwing a few dollars toward this amazing cause.  It would mean the world!

With only one week left in this challenge,  I figured it was a good time to tackle the bigger stories, the ones that shifted the course of my 20’s, and really, as luck would have it, my life.  I’ve written about this story before–the night Ben and I met–but never in complete detail.  SO here we go.

I almost didn’t accept the birthday party invitation from Jenn, a friend from college who was celebrating her birthday on the Lower East Side.  Nothing against Jenn, I would have just rather given into my trusty depression and climb back into bed with my laptop.  Yeah, that sounds like a better plan.  I was living at home at the time.  The year leading up to that summer left me in a rough spot.  I graduated college, hiked the Camino de Santiago, went through a vicious breakup three days after finishing the hike, worked in a job with a bully by my side for four months, and then found myself curled up in bed back in North Jersey for several months.  It was like a floodgate of emotional issues, kept at bay for years by the structured world of formal education, released its wrath the moment I left its protection.

Invitations like this were few and far between.  And since I planned to move to NYC, I needed to at least try and become comfortable with having social life there.  Yet there were several issues–I barely had any money and I worried my mood would take a dark turn during the party.  Still, I decided to accept Jenn’s offer and she graciously extended an offer to stay with her in Astoria that night.

It was one of the hottest days of July–July 23rd to be exact–and the only thing I could bare putting on my body that afternoon was a small sundress given to me by my friend Claire years earlier.  I stressed all afternoon about not looking like a weirdo, especially since I knew my ex, and many of his group, may be there that night.  Why I was putting myself through this, I did not know.  I just hoped there would be enough other people there that I could manage to have a good time.

After dropping my things off at Jenn’s, we stepped out into the humid night when a dramatic crack of thunder ripped through the air, sending a deluge of water through the streets.  It was a comical storm really, you had to laugh.  Because of this however, we took a cab–a luxury beyond my means at that time, you can be sure of that.  I noticed during our drive down the east side of Manhattan that this was one of those black cars that didn’t take cards–it’s wild how clueless you feel when you look back on your early-NYC self.  We arrived at the bar and I handed over every dollar I had brought for the evening.  I had money in my checking account, but not a whole lot.  So yeah, this should be an interesting evening.

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