I’m not telling you again – I can’t go near that show; I don’t care how many people won’t shut up about the reviews. You don’t need to show me the seats either. I wouldn’t attend, even if we were in one of those balconies. With my luck, they probably already banned me from the theater.
I was having a particularly crummy day last week. That construction project they put me on is a total dud – either it’s a sign they want to fire my ass or you and I have bigger issues, my friend. Last one to leave the office, I stepped into that awful cold, kicking myself for being too lazy to buy a new coat. It’s not like I couldn’t afford the extra few hundred dollars, laughable compared to the price of your tickets, but given this morose situation, I’m trying to save every dollar to my name.
So instead of a restaurant, I hop on the subway to that grocery store near my apartment. Thursday nights are usually packed, but I figured some human contact might help me snap out of this funk. Or at least prolong me from polishing off another cheap bottle of Chianti.
“Escalator’s not running,” the security guy mumbled.
Jesus, I cursed under my breath. This place is a mob.
Dual lines stretched from the registers to the dairy aisle, at least a thirty-minute wait. Rolling my eyes, I headed downstairs to pick up a few grains – whole wheat bread, oatmeal, some rice. You probably can’t tell, but I’ve actively been trying to put on muscle. Complex carbs are allegedly supposed to help. I dropped some almond butter in my basket and climbed to the main floor.
“End of the line is that way,” an attendant in a red shirt pointed.
It was worse than an amusement park.
I strolled to the back, figuring to do the rest of my shopping as we wrapped around the store.
“Excuse you,” a petite blonde cut in front of me.
I probably would’ve said something had she not been so stunning. I laughed at my hypocrisy. Would I have reacted so indifferently if some fat dude cut me off? Bro… could you imagine? I would’ve erupted, splattering his eggs on that icy floor. But even if she had zero interest in speaking with me, I could exactly complain about staring at this girl’s yoga pants for the ensuing half hour.
As we inched along, she kept abandoning her cart to inspect every item on the wall, veering further and further away from me. Most people waited to pass whatever section before loading up their baskets, but Allie either had no patience or feared they might run out of carrots if she didn’t snag them first. I pushed her cart, so the old woman behind me would stop huffing about us not moving forward.
“Thanks,” she said, noticeably more friendly than earlier.
I would’ve immediately said something in my younger years, asking some off-the-cuff opinion to initiate conversation. But what was the rush? We hadn’t even reached the berries yet.
Meanwhile, Allie continued piling kale and hummus in her cart.
“Are you a vegetarian?” I smirked.
“No,” she smiled. “Though it probably looks like I am, right?”
I grabbed the Rib Eye I’d been thinking about since noon without breaking eye contact.
“I was actually going to wait until we got to the front before commenting,” I continued. “For all I knew we were going you were going to take a bunch of steaks.”
“That would’ve been funny, wouldn’t it?” she said.
Her feet pointed outwards. Allie walked on her toes, flexing her calves with each step. Combine that with how she sang while speaking, I would’ve bet my side of sweet potatoes this girl was a theater type.
“Are you a student?” I asked.
Allie looked around my age, but no one over the age of eighteen ever got upset for someone thinking she was younger.
“No,” she said coyly. “Are you?”
“No,” I replied casually. “I graduated a few years ago.”
Not that I’m especially tall, but I surveyed top shelf, to see if she’d watch.
“Did you dance?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, impressed. “How could you tell?”
She nodded to the cauliflower, which I tossed into her cart.
“I’m also a writer,” I said. “So I might also just notice it.”
“No way. What do you write?”
I cringed. I hadn’t written anything in months beyond this one-act play about some douchbag accidentally taking home an escort.
“Well I admire that,” she said. “I can’t write for shit.”
I had to do something since there were only a few more people in front of us; fortunately, she encouraged me as such.
“Such a funny place to meet someone.”
“I’m the Kid, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, Allie.”
She lingered, but I could tell if I didn’t say anything, she would’ve easily left me there.
“We should hang out sometime”
“What’d you have in mind?”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “After a grocery store, the possibilities are endless.”
She smiled, sashaying to the register. I was so excited I almost forgot to pay after they bagged my groceries. I looked her up the second I got home.
“Holy shit,” I yelled so loud my neighbor banged on the wall. “She was nominated for a Tony.”
As it turns out, she’s the lead in this freaking musical. Check the playbill. her face is plastered on the front. That’s her. I stalked her website and read a New York Times article about likening her to Kathleen Turner. Of course, I burned my steak.
“Hi there…” I began typing, second and third guessing myself.
Hi there... Who was I trying to impress? My biggest problem is I overthink everything. I needed to just get straight to the point, so I settle on: “it was nice meeting you.”
Simple and to the point.
I wait thirty minutes or so, drenching my steak in hot sauce and downing a couple glasses of wine.
“Who knew Trader Joe’s could be such a happening place?” I included a smiley face to seem less threatening.
An hour goes by and still nothing. So I start losing my mind. My fantasy of having an intense, short-lived fling with a Broadway actress is less alive than my writing career.
I turned my phone off until midnight. Nothing. An entire weekend passes. Nada. Why the hell isn’t she responding? They do three shows Sunday, so maybe she didn’t have time.
We should get a drink sometime, I lobbed on Monday morning.
I maniacally checked my messages every ten minutes until my boss comments on me being glued to my phone. So I call her. No answer. I call again… and I know leaving a voice message is creepy, but I did it anyway.
“Hey it’s me…” I pretended like I hadn’t already messaged her a half dozen times. “It was nice meeting you the other day. Let me know about this week.”
Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I wanted to shatter my phone into a zillion pieces. I even went to the grocery store at the same exact time we met for the rest of the week, and nothing.
So no… I’m not going with you to that damn show. Don’t you have someone else to take? I can’t be your first, second or third option, here…
On second thought… let’s do it. It’ll be a decent story, right? Entertaining, at least. Worst case scenario, they send me out of the theater. I don’t understand why this always happens. Maybe you’re right, man… I should really stop trying to date actresses.