The New York Transplant
One of my first cyber-dates was with a former New Yorker living the good life in sunny southern California. I make it a rule never to ignore emails from East Coast transplants. I remember fondly my humble roots and love to share stories of living in New York, frolicking around and looking for a taxi at 3:00 a.m.
The “New York Transplant” and I met at an outdoor café in Venice, California. He wasn’t my type, but I was just getting started and thought we could compare New York deli sandwich and Broadway show stories. After some small talk, he told me his wife had died in her 20s. How sad and tragic, I thought. I felt so badly for this poor widower who raised his son on his own as a single grieving dad. I had to stay and listen to his story and be sympathetic as he was just starting to date again. I couldn’t imagine experiencing such a loss and tragedy.
My “New York Transplant” proceeded to tell me how he impulsively met his wife while he was stopped at a red light, and asked for her phone number. She rolled down her window and called him at the number he provided, and they were married the next week. Was this a true romantic I was sitting across from or was he just an incredibly impulsive guy? How could I not like this man who followed his heart from the stop light to Vegas in less than a week? I let him continue his heartfelt story.
But all of a sudden, out of nowhere, like in a bad movie scene, the other side of this gentle man emerged, and he told me that I looked like his dead wife. I really didn’t know how to respond and I pride myself as being an excellent communicator. I even have a degree in communications. I was speechless. He then opened up his wallet and showed me a photo of the recently deceased woman. Sure enough, she had long brown hair like I did and there was a similarity; however, she was a much thinner version of me. He told me his wife tragically died from anorexia, just like the singer-songwriter Karen Carpenter. Now I realize I may be on the thin side and my family has thin genes, but I have never been anorexic and I enjoy a good meal. But suddenly, I lost my appetite that day sitting at the Rose Café in Venice.
My date abruptly stood up at the restaurant, and announced in a very loud voice, “You look like my dead wife” to all the patrons and showed the other diners the photo of the deceased woman. He repeated this line at least six times before I quietly told him I was sorry for his loss and gracefully exited the restaurant.
Although she looked like she could have been my sister from the photograph, I couldn’t seem to calm my date down. I never found out if he found another thin brunette to fall in love with, but I often wonder when I stop at a red light, if the “New York Transplant” will be in the car next to me.