Part 2 In A Series About A Lazy, Divorced Male Forced To Leave His Neighborhood In Search Of True Love
A few weeks later my landlord informed me that he'd be jacking up my rent yet again. Nothing will make you forget about being miserably and habitually single like the possibility of homelessness. But looking for a mate I realized was a lot like looking for an apartment. A meeting time is arranged, a brief date occurs, the plusses and minuses debated. Will I be happy with this person? Can I grow with her? Is this where I want to wake up everyday?
Dozens of apartments later as this search had become just as frustrating as my search for love had been, I ran into Benny, a longtime neighborhood brownstone owner. When I told him I needed a place to live he introduced me to his sister Vicki, another longtime neighborhood brownstone owner. She told me the history of her building, what the soon-to-be-vacant apartment looked like, and what the rent was. We shook hands and I took the place sight unseen. My new apartment had everything I wanted in a girlfriend. It was in the neighborhood I loved, on a tree-lined block, in a beautiful 1800's building, $700 dollars less a month than I'd been paying, and all this without a broker's fee. The only hitch was that Vicki was intimidated by her current tenant and wouldn't show me the place till they vacated it which, wouldn't be until the day after my current lease would expire. My seemingly perfect blind date apartment was starting to resemble an arranged marriage.
On the second of the month Vicki called and invited me to come see my new home. It was a floor-through, well laid out and so close to my old place I'd have the same restaurant, bar, dry cleaners and subway line. Two days later I moved in. I was positively ecstatic. I was writing again and seeing all of my friends regardless of whether I was the only single guy at dinner or in the entire New York metropolitan area. Sure I wondered if that someone special might exist but I didn't let it consume me and I certainly didn't venture away from my new apartment looking for it.
On a Sunday morning a month to the day after I'd moved I decided to get a coffee while doing laundry at the laundromat next door. Standing on line ahead of me was a very pretty girl. Short hair, big green eyes, and a smile that could melt dry ice. I got my coffee and ran back to fill my dryer with wet clothes and quarters. When I looked outside I saw that pretty girl now sitting on the bench out front doing the Sunday Times crossword puzzle. I hadn't showered, hadn't shaved, I looked like hell. Yet despite this I walked across the street and approached her. "I have 32 minutes to annoy you," said I. "Well," said she looking up, "you better get started." Evin and I filled those 32 minutes with witty banter and a shared love of our neighborhood. When she informed me that her apartment was directly across the street from mine, I almost jumped off that bench. She was closer than any girl I had dated when my online search for love had begun almost a year earlier. I asked her out and she said yes. A couple of days later she agreed to cross the street and meet me in front of my apartment for our first date. Sitting at the bar one block away she told me about her recent dating history. Then I told her about mine leaving out the disappointment-riddled travelogue. "I never traveled such a short distance for a date," she said. Neither had I. Two months later after she'd returned from a family wedding in South America, Evin invited me over for breakfast. The 40 foot walk was just long enough for me to decide that I loved her and I'd be saying so when I got to her place.
I guess I could've met Evin knee deep in the middle of my search. Ran into her at the coffee place, or on the subway platform, or any other place in our neighborhood. But it happened when it was supposed to--when I was ready. I really wanted to meet someone in my neighborhood. And in the end I got exactly what I wanted proving that finding love very locally does indeed exist. All it took was: several dozen dates, several hundred miles, several thousand dollars, one greedy landlord, and one new apartment a mere three blocks away.
Early last week, Evin an I celebrated two years together. Soon, she is going to move across the street and into my apartment.