The most beautiful women I had ever met was turning thirty, and she had personally invited me to the party. I had nothing to bring her, but I was determined to go anyway. After having been married for seventeen years, and then a bachelor for nearly two, I was happy to be invited anywhere, but this particular invitation was special, and I wasn’t about to turn it down.
I had met Jessica four months before while I was working on a little internet radio show called, “The Town Cryer.” Dave McMahon, the Jon Stuart to my Peter Jennings, had invited one of his lady friends to sit in on one of our recordings sessions. I remember it was the night we recorded the episodes about Dick Chaney’s first speech after heart surgery and the Secret Service’s prostitution scandal. The night Dave announced to the world that I did the best Clinton and worst Obama impersonations.
Our producer Bobby D was catching crap from both of us, as usual, even before the mics were hot. Emily Grey had dropped in that night as well, and we had a blast. Jess tried not to laugh, not realizing that it was ok to do so, until finally I announced to our listeners that she was in the room, and I gave her permission to laugh. What a sound. Her laughter was a living river to my parched soul. I did not tell anyone this.
Her stunning beauty, both external and internal, did not knock me off my game that night. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed and myself in front of a microphone. Instead, of making me self-conscience, she had the opposite effect. I forgot myself for a couple of hours. It was amazing.
After the recording, we all went to the parking lot, where Dave grabbed a smoke and I grabbed a seat next to Jess in her Infiniti.
“Where are we going?” I asked the bombshell next to me.
She laughed, “I don’t know… where do you want to go?”
“Anywhere you are,” I said, smiling.
Dave was not smiling as he walked toward us, ripping open the passenger side door.
“Get out,” he said.
I shrugged at Jess, and stepped out of the car.
A few weeks later, when Jess and I had communicated a couple of times after she and Dave were no longer going out, she made it clear that she and I were only going to be friends.
“I don’t date my ex’s friends,” she had told me.
“That’s fine. I’m just happy to get to be a part of your life.” I meant it.
I do not have any memory of what I had been doing that day in August of 2012, but I vividly remember arriving at the property Jessica was managing just before dusk. My friend, Pez, was living at the apartments, and so I had invited her to stop by after she got off work. For now, though, it was just going to be me, Jessica, and her several friends I had yet to me. My heart was picking up speed.
She looked dazzling. With her hair curled up, wearing a little black and white dress, I was memorized. I was introduced to faces and heard some names, but as far as I could tell, it was just Jess and I. In fact, I learned several months later that my cousin was there and I did not realize it. At one point during the night, she took my tie from around my neck and wore it.
I am a grown man. I‘ve flirted and been flirted with. For some reason, when she took my tie, she also took my heart, and never gave it back.
It was ten months before we dated. It was seventeen month, two weeks and fifteen minutes after she took my tie, and my heart, until I asked her to marry me.
I went to her party thinking I had nothing to give her, but as it turned out, I was wrong. For her thirtieth birthday, I gave her my heart. No exchanges; no returns.
It was her birthday, but I am the one given a gift.