We were sitting in a Portuguese restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. My friend Rachel, her two New York friends, my sister and I. I liked the place. It was cozy, spacious, wonderful menu, and, the cutest female bartender, who barely spoke English, which made flirting with her a pure joy.
Having let my body go, and, my muscles being in a constant “flabby” state, I had been drinking, as I was doing for a while now. That night, I had started on bourbon, and, continued in the restaurant. Sometimes it was easier to pretend that alcohol made the lower back pain go away.
I looked at my sister. She seemed tired, but, when I asked her, she told me that she was fine. I repeated the same phrase that by now had become nearly a mantra for me. “You know that I love you. No matter what, I’ll always be there for you”.
Something that my parents never said to me, and, something that I felt my sister had to be constantly reminded of.
“Yeah, yeah, I know”, came the fatigued reply.
“How’s life?”, I asked.
“Fine. Work is good”.
“What about personal life?”
A smirk appeared on her lips, and, in this moment, I was reminded how acerbic my sister can be. Nobody has ever claimed her to be the funniest person in the room, but, every now and then, she uttered something that made you double up with laughter, and fall to the floor, clutching your sides.
“Just ducky. I’m dating my Blackberry”.
As we were driving out of NYC the next day, sobered and somber, I reflected on what my sister said.
How many women find themselves in her situation?
How many women work their asses off to establish a decent career, bust their butt in the gym to appear more attractive to opposite sex, only to find themselves past 30, single career gal, with their parents gentle prodding of “When are we going to see our grandkids?”
Their girlfriends have gotten married some 10 years ago. Their friends are either confirmed bachelorettes, or are going through their second or third marriage.
They get together for that “once-a-month” lunch, share the stories of “how rotten the kids are”, “how inattentive their husbands are”, and, nothing makes the woman’s stomach turn more than the prospect of misery.
Is that what is waiting for her? All those stories of knights in shining armor, all the tales of their grandmother’s happiness in marriage, what happened to that?
Why is it so difficult to find marital bliss? Does it even exist anymore?
And, so, the modern career gal breaks open another half-a-gallon of Breyers ice cream, turns on the romantic comedy, and, hopes that there is a real-life Josh Duhamel, who’ll sweep her off her feet just as she’s running off to work…