A Love Story

May 28, 2013

I the winter of 89-90 I had had it with a particularly gray summer and the dreary winter. I could not take another day in New York. I was going to move to sunny Los Angeles. I did some networking. I found a friend of a friend who needed a roommate. I found someone selling a car – cheap. I found a sister company to the law firm where I was paralegal temping.  I bought a one-way ticket on Southwest Airlines. I was also in debt and not making any money from acting. Of course they would love me in LA. Maybe I wasn’t thin enough but I had New York acting experience and stand-up comedy chops.

At the time I was living on the fourth floor of a six-floor walk up on Second Avenue near Gramercy Park. On the third floor was a cool girl named Audrey, on the second floor was my friend Terry and her gay Australian roommate Peter. and on the first floor there were two guys. Terry kept telling me how nice one of them was. Rob wasn’t my type – whatever that meant.

Terry asked me to go hear some music with her and her boyfriend Tom and neighbor Rob. We went to Mondo Cane in the West Village. We heard the Spin Doctors. Remember the song Kryptonite? In the hall Rob gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

One night I was locked out of my apartment – I won’t get into the details of the bad date I was on but Rob came home and offered up his couch for me to sleep on. We stayed up was past midnight talking. He gave me a T-shirt and shorts to sleep in.

I continued my west coast networking. I contacted a woman who had been in New York and saw me do Stand Up. I took a couple of private acting classes with a teacher I heard would look good on my resume. I kept working as much as possible to save money and pay off debt. Audrey invited me to a party on the third floor. I met a cute Italian guy named Massimiliano.

In 1990 Valentine’s Day fell on a Wednesday. Massimiliano was busy. Peter and I were chatting on the phone and I told him I was thinking of calling neighbor Rob and asking him if he wanted to grab a bite to eat and rent a movie. There was a beep on my red Conair plastic phone. It was Rob. He said, “Do want to go get a bite to eat and then watch a movie at my place?

Rob and I went to Lorango on Third Avenue. We had burritos and sangria. We went back to his place and watched a Peter Sellars film. Rob invited to me to go a wedding on Long Island with him that Saturday. I went. There were no risks. I was leaving in six weeks.

We had fun. I met his parents and sister. There was no fear. I was leaving. Rob invited me to go to Montauk on the east end of Long Island the next weekend. We had a great time.  The following weekend he invited me to go to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania with him and his friend Rob and Rob’s wife Mary. Every weekend we had some fun adventure.

I started staying at his place. My room on the fourth floor had become more of a closet. Catherine, my roommate was probably enjoying a mostly solo living arrangement with half the rent.

One night before Rob and I went to sleep I decided to take a leap. I said “I love you.” Out loud. There was a silence. I felt so embarrassed and vulnerable and at the same time strong. Then Rob said, “I am pretty sure I love you too.” That was huge coming from a twenty-four year old who never stayed with a woman longer than three months. It was usually more like three weeks.

A week before March 10 I was having a going away party. I invited everyone – all of my stand-up comedy and improv friends, my friends from all of may various temp jobs, friends from acting classes and, of course, my building friends. The party was on a Friday March 2. I had gotten into the habit of going first to Rob’s place before going up to my fourth floor home. Catherine saw that things were progressing with Rob and kept dropping hints about how important love is and how love doesn’t happen in every corner. She warned me about leaving. Even asked if I was running away.

That night before I was going to change into my party clothes I was talking with Rob. I told him how I was feeling conflicted about leaving. Then I said, “ Well, of course I am going to go to LA.I am a strong, independent feminist woman.” He blurted out, “but your mother doesn’t want you to.” That was Rob’s way of saying, “Please don’t go, I love you.” We went to the Going Away Party and I took all of my friends aside one by one and whispered that I was not leaving after all.

Catherine, who had already placed an ad in the Village Voice to replace me, told me I could keep my room but that I could not move out in three months. She helped me pack when Rob and I moved a couple of blocks away that July.

May 30, 1993 Rob and I married in the back yard of my parents’ house in North Carolina. I have never once regretted not moving to Los Angeles. I have never once felt that I was not a strong woman. In fact, I feel it was a bold move to take a chance on real love. Twenty years later we have three beautiful children. We have lived through wonderful joys and terrible tragedy but always, when I see a silly Disney movie or hear a sappy love song my heart beats a little faster because I am always reminded of Rob. When I see him in the morning or at the end of the day I still get a giddy feeling. Catherine and Terry were both right.

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