Short Story Series Part I – Ari

Short Story Series Part I – Ari

I threw my keys on the table and sulked down to the ground. “How is this my life?” I said aloud. After another failed online date I couldn’t believe that at 26, this seemed to be my only option to find a partner, for life.

How terrifying? I thought to myself. Is this really how I wanted to meet my future life partner? Swiping through apps and going on cheap dates with even cheaper people?

Tonight’s date was Nick, a 6’2 dark haired, “entrepreneur.” He thought it would be a good idea to pick the worst Mexican restaurant in New York City, and also thought it would be a good idea for me to “cover this one.” So I picked up the check, ordered a margarita to go, and flagged down the first cab in site.

It was more of a fight or flight response. It wasn’t expected that he would pay for the date, I mean as much as that’s how I believe it should be, I am realist. Guys are going on so many dates they are running out of money to fund their attempts at romance. So to dim the cuteness level from a hot fire because they executed the perfect date, it dwindles down to a slow almost non-existent burn when they want you to cover their meal too.

As I sat on the floor of my one bedroom apartment, I thought, “Well Ari, at least you’re not at crying-on-the-bathroom-floor rock bottom. I was only about a few inches from where my bathroom and kitchen met. The beauty of living in New York City.

I got up off of the ground, and looked in the mirror. My perfect brown curls had fallen, my contour was no longer on fleek, and my eyeliner traveled from my eyes to underneath my eyes, making me resemble the raccoon digging in the garbage outside of my apartment.

I took my standard first date dress off and changed into my favorite oversized pajamas. I poured a glass of my favorite rosé and got into bed. “I can do this” I thought to myself. I plugged my phone into the charger and logged onto my go-to dating app. As I began to delete the app I had a second wind of guilt. What if the next match is my person? What if I’m one date away from the love of my life. I put my phone down and decided to sleep on it. As I began falling alseep I heard my phone go off. It was Nick. The text read, “Ari, I’m really sorry about tonight. I know it could have been better. I picked Mexican because honestly, I thought you would have liked it. Thank you for picking up the tab. Text me if you’re ever bored.”

“Better!” I thought to myself. Better? Maybe a lot better! Then the rest of the message sent shock waves through my head. Apparently entrepreneur was fancy for no job. Apparently the next time he wants to see me is if I am ever bored. Lucky for him, I won’t ever, ever be that bored again.

I turned my read receipts off, and realized I had to be to my 8-5 job in less then 6 hours. I set my phone down, and decided to let my mind rest for a few hours, I wasn’t going to solve all of my deepest, darkest issues and insecurities at 2am after a hot mess of a night.
As much as I dreaded working, my Friday came and went a lot faster then expected. I ran out of the office and into the lively streets of New York on a Friday at 5. I was off to meet my best friend Vivienne for a drink at our favorite upscale bar, Reeva’s. Reeva’s was definitely too pricey for me even on my best pay days but I live by my “Treat Yourself” motto a few more times a month then I should. You’re only 26, single, and drowning in college loans once, right?

I ran up the rainy sidewalk, my 3-year-old Louis Vuitton pumps clicking to a different tune then they did on the way into work. There I saw my best friend Vivi. She waved excitedly and called my name. I grabbed the door and suddenly heard my phone ringing. Shuffling through my purse I grabbed my phone. “Eric?” I thought to myself. Eric is my ex-boyfriend of two years. We’ve only been apart for three months but I hadn’t heard from him since he slammed my apartment door shut, and made the next-door neighbors question my sanity. I shut the door, gave Vivi the “I’ll be right back” wave, and stepped to the side of the building.

“Hello?” My voice cracked.

“Ari? Is that you?” Eric mumbled.

“Yes? You did call me?”

“I miss you. I need to see you, I have some things I need to say. I think I really might have messed some things up.”

“Eric really? On a Friday night you suddenly feel you have messed some things up? I honestly don’t have time for this.” I tried to stay as stern as possible. But I knew that it would be hard. A part of me still loved Eric, but I hated who we made each other.

“I’m really sorry for bothering you Ari. I’ll leave you alone. I just had to tell you that I am sorry and I hope we can be in each other’s lives again one day.”

“I have no literal words Eric. What do you expect me to do with your impromptu drop in on my Friday night? Do you think I’m just supposed to accept everything you say and move on with my night?” Now I am getting aggravated. How dare he drop in on my high-class happy hour like this?

“Well you should be able to handle hearing from me Ari, unless you’re still in love with me? That’s the only reason this would upset you.”

He said it so smugly I wanted to barf. High-class Wall Street wannabes were never my thing, for these reasons mainly.

“You are still the same narcissist you were all the years we were together. Nothing has changed, and don’t tell me you magically had these feelings out of nowhere. You are bored and in need of some kind of validation, don’t put that on me.” Wow, I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. Where did this backbone come from?

“Alright, this was a huge mistake. Have fun maxing out your last credit card tonight. I’m sure you’re on your way to Reeva’s now for happy hour. I don’t want to intrude on your predictable Friday night more than I already have. Love you, Ari.”

The line went dead. Eric had hung up and I was in disbelief. Our history is long, messed up, and at points it was kind of magical. He was my first love and hearing his voice again really made me shutter. Hearing him say that he loved me made the waterworks start. I slowly put my phone into my purse, wiped away the one tear that was slowly dropping from the corner of my eye, and walked fiercely into Reeva’s. Vivienne had been waiting alone all too long, and I had a night out ahead of me in a city that was made for girls like me. Made for the broken hearted, and beautiful at every corner for those in love. Everyone sees New York a little differently depending on what stage of their life they are in, and for tonight, I needed it to be more than a city, I needed it to show me how to feel alive again. Tonight, I was using this city to show me what it was like to truly be happy again, even if it was temporary happiness.