Chicago is too small.
After this post, I may need to a) change my hair color, b) change my name, c) leave town, d) all the above.
When I first moved to Chicago, I had a brief, but intense relationship with someone I was absolutely crazy about...the break up actually lasted longer than the relationship The fact was, however, that I moved to Chicago exactly three days before meeting him and was not in any way ready for a relationship like the one he was offering. I was in the middle of a very difficult time in my private life, one that got TERRIFICALLY worse for about a year. Although it sucked to lose a truly great guy who really cared about me and vice versa, I needed to learn some really important lessons on my own, before I could even consider that type of relationship. I wouldn't be quite so strong and sure about myself if we had stayed together. In any case, I'm sure the whole experience was hardly a drop in the pan for him and that he hasn't passed a seconds thought on me for years. I think I'm still suffering from bad dating karma after the crap I drudged him through.
It's been about 3 1/2 years since I last saw him. In the meantime, I haven't seen any of his friends, met anyone that knew him tenatively, not a single chance path crossing. Until about two months ago, when I met Leonard.* The first night that Leonard and I hung out, I was at the Kid Cudi concert in Millennium Park. I was by myself and the guy standing behind me introduced himself. I ended up telling him where I went to university to which he replied "do you know NAME?" Yes, the first time in four years anyone has said NAME to me.
The second time Leonard and I hung out, he took me to After Dark at the Art Institute. It was Leonard and I's first official date. He met me at the entrance with a vodka tonic and looked absolutely adorable. As we were talking, I happened to look up for a moment and noticed someone looking in my direction. He looked vaguely familiar and it was apparent that he was trying to place me too. Then, I started thinking to myself, "that looks just like NAME's friend..." As my eyes scanned down to his table...there he was...NAME.
I have no idea what my date was saying to me in that moment. I just suddenly exclaimed, "Hey! I haven't seen the upstairs gallery at the Modern Wing yet! Wanna check it out?" As I whisked him towards the stairs, an avalanche of people came tumbling down. Leonard didn't want to fight upstream like spawning salmon. I, however, would've taken the hit. I suddenly realized that I was NOT wearing enough clothes for the first time I saw NAME again...I had been trying to look hot for Leonard! I was on a date, darn it!
Leonard, looking awesome as always, wanted to stand where? Oh, yes. Right by NAME's table. I made the decision to just pretend I hadn't seen him (he'd had his back to me anyways) and get on with the show. No eye contact, no awkward.
So, anyways, why am I writing about this a month later?
I have been working with a girl at the Art Institute on a super awesome collaborative project with another RedEye blogger (details to come soon). She asked if I wanted to come to After Dark this Friday...I responded with the above story (slightly abbreviated)...in my "blog voice"...trying to be funny. Guess who NAME is dating now? Oh....her cube mate's best friend.
Moral of the story: ALWAYS use fake names in stories..ALWAYS!!!!!
Oh, and I should also point out that Leonard grew up in the same town as NAME and knows NAME's brother. And Leonard ended up doing to me almost EXACTLY what I did to NAME...for the exact same reasons.