The first time I met Adaline
was June of '92. I was a grad-student
and she was a bartender
at Levy's Pub on the upper east side
of the city.
I was with a few friends hanging out at her place of employment, causing more drunk
en grief to the employees than our business was probably worth. Josh
, one of my best friends since highschool, leaned over to my ear and whispered "See her? That's the girl I've been telling you about. Ain't she every bit of beautiful and a whole lot more?"
and pointed over behind the bar at a girl pouring vodka
in a shot glass.
"Yeah, I guess so. She's pretty, but I don't know. It's hard to tell anything without ever talking to her. She's probably a real bitch."
"Nah, look at her eyes, she's homegrown, man. You should talk to her tonight, invite her out. I mean, we both know that you need someone new to replace Mere-bitch."
Ever since I had lost Meredith
due to her drug problem
, all my friends were trying to set me up with different girls they knew. I hated the experience. No matter who I met, or how beautiful they were, they weren't the same. Just because Meredith snorted stuff and ran around cranked out all the time didn't make her a bad person, and how dare they call her a bitch? I just didn't understand my friends motives back then.
After alot more coax
ing from Josh I finally got up the nerve to go talk to Adaline for the first time. I didn't know what to say, it's not like I really wanted to go out with this girl, I was just doing this so my friends would leave me alone.
"Hi, how's it going?"
"Fine, and you? Miller Light? Tap, bottle, or can?"
"Oh, no, none, I'm done for the evening. Thanks though. I'm the designated driver, I'm only drinking this one. No more, gotta stay sober. If I drink anymore, wow, I don't know, don't want to wreck, I might hurt someone."
I was actually trying to make myself look like a fool by talking like one of the idiots you meet in the bar. You know the type- the ones that you really don't want to talk to but they'll tell you their entire life story.
She laughed. Slightly, under her breath, more of something like a soft chuckle or a giggling rumble in her throat. Then, she leaned over the counter and placed her elbows on the table top. She let her chin fall into her palms and she looked at me as if she was waiting for something even more interesting to come out of my lips.
I was amused by the fact this girl was paying attention to me. It shocked me. I was trying to annoy her, but she was wanting to hear more of what I had to say. This is when I knew I had to capitalize on her.
"Um, listen, I've been watching you all night. I don't want to sound like a creep or anything, I just, well, I was wondering, what are you doing Sunday night? Because, I know you work in a bar and everything, but I thought, maybe, perhaps I could take you out for a drink, or possibly for some coffee or something?"
I smiled at her, an innocent smile, like a child trying to hook-up with his babysitter
"That'd be nice. I'm sorry, I, I didn't catch your name? I've heard your friends talking to you, Colt? Right? Or is it Colby?"
"Oh, sorry about that, Cole. Nice to meet you, I'm Adaline."
"Adaline. That's beautiful."
The first thought in my head when she said her name was the Adaline Network
, and I thought about how this girl was far from being pattern-based. "So, um, Sunday right? Where do you want to meet at? Would it be alright if I picked you up?"
I felt like such a dork asking her questions like this.
She let her long dark hair slip from behind her ears and started to blush. "Oh, um, well,"
she paused, unsure of which option to take. "I live in Appartment 226 in the Jeffries Building. Do you know where that is?"
I didn't, but I'd find out. "So, I'll see you around 7:00 then on Sunday?"
"Yeah, see you then."
It was the first time I told her goodnight, and it felt wonderful.
"Night, drive safe."
My friends and I left the bar, and when we got outside, they started patting me on the back and congratulating me on getting a date. For the first time since meeting Meredith, I was looking forward to taking a girl out
. This Adaline girl was interesting
I spent all Sunday afternoon looking for my favorite nice sweater. It was red with a white stripe
across the front and always reminded me of Eddie Vedder
. I wasn't sure why it reminded me of him, it just did. I liked the way it looked on me, like I had more muscles than I really did and that it made me look sensitive, but macho at the same time.
By 7 on Sunday, I had already been standing outside of her door for 15 minutes, waiting to knock on the door. Believe me, I was nervous. I didn't know what to say, or if I was prepared for how beautiful she'd look when she opened the door.
Finally, I knocked, 2 minutes past 7. I was afraid she'd be mad because I was late. She wasn't however. She told me she had just finished getting ready, I was right on time. I had excellent timing, she said, I was great. We left and walked down to a coffee shop right down from her building. We talked over tea and coffee, and listened to a folk singer play songs about his broken car and his ex-girlfriend.
And that's when she did what I was hoping she wouldn't do. She brought up Meredith.
"So, whatever happened to that girl that you used to bring with you to the bar?"
"Meredith?" I acted surprised
, like I had no clue who it was that she was talking about.
"Yeah, I guess that's her name. What happened there? Were you two dating and then break up?"
"Uh, yeah. She uh, she got into some pretty heavy stuff that I just didn't want to be around."
"Oh one of those artsy-gooy type people?"
"No, actually, one of those crack-head people. I don't know, when I met her, she used to talk about how bad drugs were and stuff, but I don't know. I would have done anything for her. I still would do anything for her. This piece of carpet I call a goatee on my face? Grew it for her. I don't know why now, but I haven't shaved it off yet. I bought an apartment for her, even though I really couldn't afford it. I felt bad about leaving her, so I wanted to make sure she was set up. I'm sure she probably just uses it to produce and use drugs in now, and probably is selling out of the bedroom, but what can I say, it felt like the right thing to do for her."
"Ah, so you still love her?"
"No offence, but yeah. As much as I try not to, I do."
"You know what? I have an idea."
"Cut off that stupid goatee and move on. With me. I like you. I mean, I know I don't know you really really well, but I'd like to. But you're not going to get to know me until you get over her. So, really, lets go back to my appartment, I'll shave it off for you before you go home. And then maybe, I don't know, maybe we can go out for coffee or something again."
I was in shock, I really didn't know what to say. It was a good idea and I liked the sound of it "Move on, with me."
Okay, I loved the sound of it. "I'd, I'd like that."
I smiled my innocent smile
again and reached for her hand.
Adaline and I were going to go places, I could feel it.
Other nodes in this series of stories include, in chronological order:
I knew enough about him to know his name and what kind of snowball he could make
Get off me Daddy, you're crushin' my cigarettes!
She makes sniffing sounds, and I don't know if she's snorting coke or weeping
Cut off that stupid goatee and move on
I come home, she lifted up her wings. I guess that this must be the place.
A Horse With No Name backwards
Ginny and Lola don't work on Thursdays. Sorry, Sugar.
And More To Come.