She ordered a Vodka Red Bull and as I fumbled with my wallet I didn’t know if it would be presumptuous of me to pay for her drink since then she might think that I thought I was trying to pick her up, which I would have been trying to do if I didn’t think she was out of my league, but if I didn’t offer to buy her drink then I might have looked like a jerk. Either way seemed a little brazen and I didn’t want her to get the wrong impression. Though I didn’t even know what impression I was trying to give. I decided to say nothing and laid down a twenty, which would cover both drinks if the bartender assumed I was paying for both. He did and she didn’t take out any money. I was about to walk away when she asked me if I wasn’t going to ask her her name.
I didn’t know what was going through her head. I still didn’t think she was interested in me. I assumed it was just some game she played to get fools like me to buy her drinks. We started talking. She’s an actor and just began studying at the Actors Studio. I told her I used to act too, but am now studying philosophy at NYU. We hit it off and discovered that we had a lot of things in common. We both like old movies. We can both watch Casablanca endlessly without every growing tired of it. We both love An American in Paris, though, whereas she adores Gene Kelly, I think he’s a jerk. And though I think Leslie Caron is innocent, she thinks she’s a slut. We also both agree that Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor should have made more movies together. We had a really good time and after several more rounds one thing led to another and she ended up coming home with me.
She moved out here to be the next Tierney Wakefield, who is the latest Hollywood blonde bombshell. Tierney Wakefield is one of those starlets who, plucked from obscurity, help fuel the myth of anyone potentially becoming a celebrity. The story goes that she had fled an abusive household in Indiana (or was it Illinois?) without a dime to her name and ended up living on the streets in New York for a short time before being ‘discovered.’ She then made a name for herself on stage, eventually making it on Broadway and then transitioned to Hollywood. Her big break in Hollywood coincided with the surfacing of a sex-tape on Youtube making her an instant celebrity. That seems to be the surest way for burgeoning starlets. Whatever. There are a million pretty girls who think they’re going to be the next Tierney Wakefield.
As my Tierney Wakefield wanna-be began to stir, I was a little afraid that she was going to look around in horror at where and with whom she ended up after a night of voraciously competitive drinking, but her befuddled expression only lasted a couple of seconds. She looked up at me, giving me a warm smile and said, “Hey.”
“Hi. Good morning.”
It was a little awkward when we started talking. I’ve never had a one-night stand before. And I’ve never felt so out of my league. With sleepy eyes, she asked me where I was from. She asked me this last night in the bar too. I guess it was either too loud for her to hear me and had just nodded politely or she was too drunk to remember. I don’t get that. When I get stupid drunk, I never forget shit. I think people pretend to forget shit so they don’t have to own up to all the embarrassing crap they do when they’re drunk. Though they love to have other people tell it.
“Oregon,” I told her.
“There is nowhere else in Oregon.”
“Why’d you move to New York?”
I smirked. “What the hell was I going to do in Portland?”
She nodded and gave this knowing look and it occurred to me that maybe she was going through the same thing. Sure she’s starry-eyed, but maybe we were both driven from our homes by the same internal compass, searching for whatever the hell it is we’re searching for.
“So, you came here for school?” she asked.
“Actually, no. I told you how I used to act. I studied back home and moved out here to break into acting, I guess. I think I moved here more to leave home than to necessarily go anywhere. After I quit acting, I went back to school and ended up in philosophy.”
“Why’d you quit?”
“It was never me. I’m too self-conscious to be on stage. I could never get past everyone staring at me. That and I suck at acting,” I admitted, which is true, it isn’t just my normal insincere self-deprecation that I wear like one’s first, off the rack, ill-fitting suit. “To make it, you really have to be unbelievable and I was…well, I was believable. So, how ‘bout you?” I asked her, though, to be honest, I didn’t really care. Not really. “Where are you from?”
“I don’t even know where that is.”
“It’s right next to Nebraska.”
“I don’t know where that is either.”
“That’s next to Wyoming.”
“And where’s that exactly?”
“You don’t know your geography, do you? It’s beside Idaho.”
“Idaho? Why, that’s right next to Oregon.”
“Iowaaa. I see,” I said, reaching over to the coffee table next to my bed, which is actually a futon that when unfolded into a bed takes up most of the living room in my rather sad looking bachelor apartment. Finding my lighter and cigarettes, I lit one and handed it to her. She furrowed her brow and declined with her hand, saying, “I don’t smoke.”
“What do you mean you don’t smoke? You were smoking all night.”
“Only when I’m out. I think it’s gross,” she said, coughing in that hoarse way you do after a night of heavy binge drinking and smoking.