The sofa was a blue velvet Castro Convertible. It had a camel-colored motif that was supposed to look Deco but actually resembled a paperclip. I was into Deco at the time.
My living room was as wide as the sofa. It just barely fit. Overnight guests slept on its thin and uncomfortable pullout mattress. One night a friend of a friend (of a friend, possibly, I’ve forgotten the connection) called me on the landline, which we called, simply “the phone,” stranded at an airport. Could she come to stay, just for a night? There was a static-y story about a delayed flight and then a missed flight and then the prospect of a night spent on the molded plastic chairs in the airport lounge.
I was just barely an adult, just barely affording my rent, but I felt all grownup instructing her to jump in a cab and buzz me when it pulled up to my building so I could run down to pay the fare. No problem, I said. Happy to do it for a friend of this friend (of another friend, quite possibly).
I’ll call her Kristi.
Because that’s her name (I told you this would be a vindictive story.)
An autumn night, still warm enough to run down in flip-flops, PJ bottoms and my boyfriend’s t-shirt and as I did I liked the picture of me in my head: so comfortable in this city that I could be on the sidewalk in my PJs; so self-sustaining that the giving over of a $20 bill was no big deal (it was a little deal, however, this was the 80s and I was making $14,000 a year).
Kristi wore a denim jacket and shouldered a tatty backpack. She looked collegiate while I, as I believe I mentioned, was a grownup.
My boyfriend joined us. In a suit, with a briefcase and a six-pack. So handsome, also a grownup.
We drank the beer. Kristi told tales of her semester in Spain. She was pretty in a not-sophisticated way with hair that curled around her face and full lips. She seemed unsure of herself (especially as compared to me). I thought she admired me or at the very least the things I had acquired: the job, the apartment, the handsome boyfriend with the briefcase. They stayed up talking after I went to bed, but not before I left a second $20 bill on the kitchen table with a little note. Safe travels, I wrote. Keep in touch! I wanted to make sure she had a way to pay the fare back to the airport.
Years later I learned that Kristi and my boyfriend had sex that night on the couch with the vaguely Deco motif. While I slept with just a couple of walls and not 10 feet between us. He, so reckless. She, so ungrateful.
Here is a picture of her I pulled from her Facebook page, for all to see. Not really outting her though, as she’s wearing a disguise, a witch/pirate/hot mess costume. Not because it’s Halloween but because she works in a bar, taking full advantage — by the looks of her — of the free-flowing beverages that must be one of the perks of this kind of career, if you can call it a career.
More intel purloined from her Facebook page:
A post directed to someone called Harvey: “Lubrication may have made the entry easier?”
Another, promoting a “hooter happy hour.”
Another from someone called Clay: “Kristi’s so nasty!”*
*Clay, we think alike! I’m going to friend request you.