Upper West Side Story

Straight out of a Nora Ephron movie, it is, the way I meet you in the laundromat, and the way you run home and bring me warm homemade cornbread in between stages of the laundry process, the way I surprise you by showing up at the museum where you’re leading a tour and you look over and smile at me like we already share cute secrets, the way you invite me for dinner and you have this groovy apartment with all sorts of artifacts and books and all the food you’ve made is really good, and oh, that cake.
I suppose even your attempt to kiss me as I was on my way out was very Nora Ephron. Billy Crystal would have been impressed with the awkward hug that morphed into an even more awkward attempt at a kiss, which I immediately rebuffed. And then an email exchange where I reiterated my lack of interest “that way”, your pretending that was okay, and me avoiding the laundromat on Sundays at all costs, even hand-washing clothes at home instead. And me cursing you for your insistence on ignoring the washer/dryer in your apartment in favor of the laundromat.
* * *
Time passes, and we email a bit. In a rare magnanimous mood, I accept his invitation to a restaurant. I make sure he knows it’s not a date, but he still swings by to pick me up, arriving in an oversized sweater that he later tells me his mother made for him a million years ago, which I find endearing in spite of myself. After dinner, he tries to hold my hand, I remind him I’m not interested (hey, chump, I even paid my own way), and I cannot get home quickly enough. What would Meg Ryan do?
Meg Ryan probably would’ve padded around her multi-room apartment in adorable man-style pajamas, quietly cursing the jerk’s audacity before getting into a big Anthropologie-outfitted bed along with a dog who took up more than his side of it. Maybe she would have written the would-be loser Lothario a scathing email and saved it in her drafts folder and deleted it the next morning. But I’m not Meg Ryan, so I wrote that email and sent it immediately. And he responded in a way that would only be found in the deleted scenes on the DVD. Nora Ephron be damned.

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