I never wonder how history can get to be blurred over time. Details are lost. Words forgotten. Deeds bent and twisted by time and sometimes other factors. The story of Michelle and I only lived in two places. In both of our heads. That’s it. Nowhere else in the world. There is her version. There is my version and somewhere in between there is the truth. But I will do my best to tell this compelling tale.
Michelle was still trying to get acclimated to the job and was coming along. We had been getting pretty close as pals. There was lots of laughs in our department and Michelle fit right in with our band of idiots. Like the rest of the company, everyone liked and respected her.
In our building we had our on lunchroom. Like the watering hole on the savannah, it would not be uncommon to see salespeople, writers, reporters, production people and even management all eating in the same place. Obviously they would all sit in their little cliques together like high school.
One day I asked Michelle if she’d like to join me for lunch up there. She agreed, which I was thrilled about. I could never have imagined in this moment how this day would ultimately end. We’d be moving to our new, modern workspace downtown, so this could be one of the last time anyone of us would be using this lunchroom.
Lunch was nice and people said hello as they passed. I was still relatively new to the company so many people didn’t know who the hell I was but everybody knew Michelle. I don’t remember what we even talked about and it doesn’t even matter. I was just happy to be out of our tiny office and sitting enjoying a simple meal together in public.
After lunch we went back to work as usual. The details are a little fuzzy because this was 8 years ago, but Michelle and several other staff members were all going across the street to a local go-to bar after work for a few drinks. I do remember it was a Thursday, because the next day was Friday and there were moving all of our stuff to the new space. We were to start at the new location the next Monday. I’ll never turn down the offer to have a drink, so when Michelle asked if I was going I said that I’d check it out. I had been there before but only with a co-worker for lunch.
I finished up my work and packed up the last of my stuff. It was probably around 5:30 when I walked over to the parking garage and dropped my computer bag into the trunk of my car. I walked across the street, and entered the establishment. Michelle was sitting at the bar chatting with this young, short jewish guy named Seth who worked in local digital sales. I knew him only in passing because we sold different products than his group. The local sales team were a young, hip, good-looking bunch that always appeared to have it better than the rest of us. I will say this, I liked him. He was hungry and a good sales guy. So he had my respect. I took a seat next to him and Michelle was on the other side of him.
I ordered a glass of wine and we all chatted. Talking about the move to downtown and just regular corporate stuff that happens at every happy hour around the world. At some point Michelle got up to chat with some ladies she was friends with by the jukebox. Seth and I continued to talk. Business, goals, women, bosses, etc. At one point I asked him how his love life was going. He said he had started dating a nice girl and it seemed to be going well. He asked me and I told him I had just moved back from New York and wasn’t seeing anyone. I asked him if he could have any woman who would it be. He looked me right in the eye and with a serious tone said; “Michelle.” I was like, “Really?” He said, “yea, I love her. She’s amazing.” I suppose I would get that answer from any short Jewish guy. A pretty tall blonde on his arm.
Time went by and everyone was throwing back their drinks. People drink a lot in the advertising and financial world. It’s just part of the business. We were all pretty buzzed and everyone was laughing and the place was getting loud. Seth said he had to leave soon, and it looked like Michelle and I were going to stick around a little longer. I thought I’d shake the place up and see if I could get everyone’s attention and maybe annoy them at the same time. It was my turn to feed the jukebox, so I had a plan. I played something popular that everyone liked and then I programmed in Dio’s Holy Diver being performed by Killswitch Engage. I love heavy metal and I’m sure nobody ever places that kind of music in a place like that. But then I programmed a bunch of other songs that were part of my plan.
Seth says his goodbye’s and now it’s just Michelle and I and we’re chatting away and slugging our cheap wine. Frank Sinatra comes on the jukebox. Michelle exclaims that she likes his music and asks if I played those songs. I told her it was indeed me. She smiled.
We continued to talk and tell stories, I told her I lived in Pennsauken, NJ and how I would ultimately find a place in the city . I always felt like the type of person that should live in a metropolis. I had spent most of my life living in the suburbs wherever I was and hated it. But after getting a taste of city life while in NY I knew where I belonged. Michelle lived in a high-rise apartment building in Fairmount. It was only about six blocks away so she liked walking to work. She had a roommate, who she used to model with a few year ago and they had remained friends and decided to get a place. She said the apartment had a great southern view of the city.
Then she asked me if I wanted to check out her view. We had been drinking for a couple of hours and were both “tipsy”. I’m being gentle here. It’s like when the police say: “Tipsy driving is still drunk driving.” That’s how tipsy we were.
We literally were outside and she was having a cigarette and we had our wine glasses in our hands, and the next thing I knew we were walking towards her house still caring our glasses of wine and drinking from them. She whips out her iPod, (I had only seen one before in my life. I still had a flip phone back then!) She puts one ear bud in my ear and the other in hers and she’s playing songs for me. It was the first of many surreal episodes I would encounter with Michelle. I asked her wouldn’t the bar be angry if people walked out with full glasses and took them? She said it happened all the time. At that point I didn’t give a shit, I was just happy to be with her. Lunch and then drinks in the same day was a big deal to me. I did notice that if you don’t have both ear buds in your ears the sound quality just isn’t there. But the music was chill and sort of dreamy.
I don’t remember entering her building, nor do I remember going up in the elevator, or entering her apartment. Apparently her roommate was away for the weekend. All I remember is kissing her and her saying my breath was bad. I don’t know why she said that or even why I remember that, but it didn’t stop me from drunkenly making out with her. I remember some other things happening, but we did not have sex that night. I can’t remember anything else or where I even slept that night or when the night ended.
I woke up I think on the floor the next morning and was pretty hung over. The beautiful thing was we didn’t have to go into work that day, which was clutch. I remember looking everywhere for my glasses. For the life of me I was looking all over for them and just couldn’t find them. It’s even harder to find your glasses when you’re not wearing your glasses! I did finally locate them. They were under a chair out on her balcony. It had rained during the night and they were all wet but thankfully, undamaged. No idea…
We awkwardly pulled ourselves together, and I’m sure she was probably feeling bad about what transpired, especially because she was working hard to get back together with Delaware Dave. I think we agreed that it was just a case of drunken slipsies (That’s what my Dad calls it) I apologized for the infraction but deep down didn’t regret having it happen.
We said our awkward goodbyes and I told her I would talk to her later. She said she had to go into the office and pick up a few things but that was all. So I did my first Philadelphia walk of shame back to the parking garage under cloudy skies. When I got home I realized I had forgotten to pack the AC adapter to my computer. It was still plugged in the wall under my cubical at the old office. I called Michelle and asked if she could get it for me. She was pretty hung over and she agreed to slip in and out, and get her stuff and grab my adapter for me. Well at least she doesn’t hate me, I thought.
I was so tired and banged up from the events of the night before, I just drove back to Jersey and took a nap at home. It was officially the weekend, and we would all be reporting to the new location Monday morning. I had a lot to think about, but only time would tell what the coming days would bring for us all.
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