"It's going to be a good winter for us, I can feel it. I think we had to endure such a difficult autumn, but now things are going to turn around."
There's still a month of autumn to go, but I believe Roommate Rachel. After our collective moping of the last couple of months, yesterday we both had good days.
It was nothing major. Work was pleasant, then I had an amazing workout before meeting Rachel and a friend for drinks. Rachel's meeting ran late, which gave me an hour to wander around Union Square. I bought a pair of boots on sale, some specialized shampoo I had been hunting down for the last two weeks, a new lipstick. Rachel finally made it downtown and she, her friend, and I had a lively conversation in a cozy pub. The subway ride home was smooth, and Rachel and I chattered away, our moods boistered by a stress-free day and the bottle of Riesling we shared at dinner. I persuaded her to go for one more quick drink at Bar S, wanting to prolong the evening's fun just a bit further.
Bar S is two blocks from our apartment, and its proximity and relaxed European vibe make it one of my favorite local places to go. We settled at a small table, I smiled at the Velvet Underground song being played, and Rachel and I talked about everything and nothing while extending our buzz. What's this, is it possible I felt the traces of happiness? Wonders never cease.
"All we need now is a cigarette."
"Yes!" Rachel agreed, "But I left mine at home."
"Me too. Luckily, we don't have far to go."
We smoked our cigarettes on our front stoop. Shortly after we lit them, a neighbor came out to take out the trash, and introduced himself to us.
"I'm Neighbor Neil."
He shook hands with both of us, and stayed outside to chat.
Neil was cute! Tall, slender, with dark hair and eyes. And he seemed straight (the other men in the building I encountered haven't been). Not to mention friendly; this was the first neighbor either of us really talked to.
The only thing better than getting to know a neighbor is getting to know an attractive neighbor. The three of us made small talk and I don't know if I managed to flirt at all, because after weeks of seeing no cute guys anywhere, I was so surprised to find one living across the hall from me.
"Did you also not have heat in your apartment for over a week?" I asked.
"Yeah, it was pretty bad."
"Wasn't it the worst?" I might have had a little too much enthusiasm in my voice.
Neighbor Neil and Roommate Rachel talked for a few minutes, and I wondered if he was more interested in her (presuming he was interested in either of us). As he was going back inside, he turned around and asked,
"Have you two been watching Favorite Show?"
Roommate Rachel and I have, in fact, been indulging in mini-marathons of Favorite Show; it has been our happy place in recent times.
"Yeah, I own all the episodes and have been getting Roommate Rachel into it."
"I have all the episodes of Favorite Show, too."
"We're in the middle of Season Four right now. You should come over and watch Favorite Show with us some time." I'm sure I wouldn't have been bold enough to say that if it hadn't been for that last drink.
Neil and I geeked out on the show for a few minutes, and he went back inside for good.
"He likes you," Rachel said, barely two seconds later.
"Shhh!! He might hear... You really think so?" I whispered.
"Oh definitely. He wasn't interested in anything I had to say, but when you talked, he gave you his full attention."
The rest of our conversation was hushed, because his bedroom window, like mine, faces the street, and that any talking outside the building can be heard clearly.
Later on, I also recalled that he didn't seem to have that much trash in the bag he brought out (and seriously, who takes the garbage out at midnight?). Which means he might have heard us chatting and came outside with the intent to meet his cute female neighbors. Of course, I could be over-thinking it. Either way, it was a nice surprise and a perfect cap to the evening.
To me, happiness isn't about having grand life events occur; it's about the accumulation of small, pleasing things, paired with hope and anticipation. Having a good day like the one yesterday was like seeing a trailer for future happiness.
"When it comes, you'll recognize it and appreciate it so much more because of everything you've been going through."
Rachel's right. Who knows, maybe the wretched autumn will indeed make way for a cheery winter.