Less Than Nothing
”I feel overdressed. ” I tell Ryan, as he leads me by hand through the doors of some old bar called Wilkys. There are many bars in the city that are upscale. This is definitely not one of them.
The vibe is much more on the casual side. Reminds me of the bars my friends and I used to drink at in college because they never paid attention to the shitty craftsmanship of our fake IDs. These kinds of places are usually a lot more fun than the upscale ones. Too bad Im still in my work clothes, sticking out like a sore thumb. Ryan refused to let me go home and change first.
”You look great, ” he says, and brings me towards the bar. ”Sit, ” he says.
I take a seat on the barstool, and spin around to face him. This is the last place I expected to spend my evening. Hes the last person I expected to spend my evening with. Its kinda crazy, this morning he was a stranger that I couldn stand, and now we
e out for drinks, all chummy.
”Do you come here often? ” I look around the place. Its not empty, but not too crowded. Couples, and groups of friends sit around the bar, fits of laughter all around.
”Yeah. I have been for a long time, actually. ”
”Im not a heavy drinker or anything. This place just kinda has some sentimental value to me. ”
”How? ” I push a strand of hair behind my ears. ”If you don mind me asking. ”
”I was literally almost born here. ” He laughs. ”Do you see that bright red neon sign of a tiger? ” he points to the other side of the bar.
”My parents were out Christmas shopping. My mom is the sweetest woman youll ever meet, but she gets a bit…much around the holidays. Naturally, my dad was tired of her antics, and needed a drink. So they came here. Keep in mind, my mom was nine months pregnant with me.“
”My dad orders a beer, and my mom tells him to be quick because they still have shopping to finish. Seeing as though shes pregnant, she didn feel comfortable sitting at the bar, ” he slides his hand across the table, before pointing to the neon sign again, ”so she stands over there and waits. Can you guess what happens next? ”
I open my mouth to speak, but he doesn even give me the chance.
”Her water breaks! ” He exclaims. ”Pregnancy juice all over the floor! ”
This story is an absolute roller coaster. It went from Christmas shopping, to beer, to…pregnancy juice?
”Oh shit, ” I gasp. My hand flies over my mouth, trying to suppress my shocked laughter. ”Are you serious? ”
His expression stills, and he looks me deeply in the eyes.
”Nah, ” he cracks a wide smile. ”Im just **ing with you. ”
I roll my eyes.
”You annoy me. ”
The bartender eventually comes around to us. I order a cotton candy martini, and Ryan requests a grilled cheese sandwich from the kitchen. Kind of odd, but then again, bar food is superior.
”In all seriousness… ” He continues, ”I actually have been going to this bar for quite some time. Since undergrad, actually. ”
I bring the martini glass to my lips, and take a sip. Its delicious. I can hardly taste the alcohol, but will definitely feel the buzz.
”The annoying part about New York City is that everywhere you go, you
e always bound to run into somebody you know. Even in the most obscure places. ” He shakes his head. ”Not here though. This is where I come when I just want to be alone. ”
The eye contact between us has stopped. Instead, he looks straight in front of him, like hes been waiting to get those words off his chest for a while. I sip my drink again.
”So you and your friends don hang out here? ”
”Nah. I always come alone. ” He pauses, ”well, until today. ”
Ryan looks back up at me, and I don know if Im just a drunk bitch, but at the moment his stare is more beautiful than all of the lights in this city.
”Why me? ” I ask, bluntly. If I didn have alcohol in my system, I wouldve definitely kept that question to myself. But since I do, I might as well take advantage of the liquid courage.
He shrugs, before picking up half of his grilled cheese and taking a bite.
”Consider it a housewarming gift. Welcome to New York. ” He slides me his plate with the other half of his sandwich.
”Thanks, ” I take the sandwich. ”Probably not the best gift though, considering I don know anyone. I have nobody to hide from. ”
I take a bite, and holy ** is this the best grilled cheese Ive ever had. I might have to come back here just for these.
”I only know you…Adrienne…Adriennes doorman Rick. ” I pause. ”My doorman, Sam. ”
”Youll meet people, don worry. ” He reassures me with a laugh. ”And when they drive you crazy, you can come here. ”
”I hope so, ” I say flatly, finishing my third martini.
”Cause I did not leave everything behind to come to New York, just to feel this damn lonely. ”
Ryan stills pensively, unsure of what to say next. With my drunk boldness, also comes the tendency to release all of my pent up emotions onto anyone who will listen. Thankfully Im cognizant enough to stop myself.
”Not like Ill have time for friends, or any relationship for that matter. Adrienne has me on a busy schedule, ” I glance at my watch, my slightly blurred vision making out that its almost nine oclock.
”A schedule that will allow me to maybe have drinks and grilled cheese sandwiches with a stranger once every two months. ”
e not strangers anymore. ” Ryan sounds offended. ”If anything, it sounds like Im your only friend. Your best friend. ”
”Yeah, maybe. But you still know nothing about me. ”
”Lets change that then, ” he encourages. ”Tell me something about you. Tell me everything. ”
Sitting here, martini in hand, grilled cheese in the other I realize that this is my first time going out since I moved to New York. Sure, it might be in a random bar with a guy I met yesterday. But I wouldn change a thing. Im having fun.
I shake my head. ”When Im drunk I tend to overshare, so youll have to wait until Im sober. For now, lets keep it cute and simple. ”
Ryan doesn object. The smile on his face tells me that he couldn agree more.
”To cute and simple, ” he raises his glass of water, and I clink it with the glass of my empty martini.
”To cute and simple. ”