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My Best Date

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I have a distinct memory of being eight-years-old at my mother's friend's pool party. They were pretty great parties, all actors, writers and cops. My sister and I had our feet dangling in the Jacuzzi and someone came up to us and said, "You girls look so jaded."

"What does jaded mean?" I asked him.

"You've been there and done that," he said.

"We are not jaded," I replied attitudinally. "We're only eight!"

I guess he was trying to be funny, but the description felt like a death sentence. Although somewhere along the line of being a teenager, I did feel a little jaded. I remember wandering around blank eyed through high school completely bored by the guys I was dating. I wouldn't even call it dating, it was always 'hanging out.'

It wasn't until I got to New York that a sense of romanticism flowed through me. I think I went a little overboard with it and Jeff caught me at exactly the right time to sweep me off my feet, which, in the end, also ended up feeling like a death sentence. But that's another story...

Jeff went to Columbia and fall was turning into winter and the campus was so pretty I could have walked around up there all night, as we often did. This was right around the time in my life that my parents were trying to domesticate me. [I had an incident that got me suspended from school so we were all trying to tame a wild side that was getting a little out of hand.] My mom sent me to cooking class and I learned how to roast a chicken and my dad sent me, although I think as a joke, a white Henri Lloyd sweater with a matching pearl necklace. Jeff fit into this equation really nicely. It was Saturday night and we had a date planned.

But then I was invited to a party...so I canceled on Jeff. He was livid. He hung up on me and wouldn't answer his phone for the next hour. Meanwhile, I could not figure out what the big deal was. Screw him, I thought, I am going to the party anyways. There will be a million other Saturdays for dates (and roasted chicken.)

So I dressed for the party. The girl who had invited me had stressed that I have something great to wear, so I pulled from my closet a new dress, new tights, a short white coat, and turquoise suede heels, or for the song's sake, blue suede heels.

I got out of a taxi and approached the expansive building, texting my friend that I would be up shortly. At the instant that I opened the glass door to the lobby, Jeff called.

He apologized and told me the reason he was mad was that there was a surprise, that it couldn't be changed with short notice and I absolutely had to meet him up at Columbia in the next 15 minutes.

Fellow party-goers pushed past me into the elevator; they looked, fun.

'Can't I come up in an hour?" I asked him.

"No, it really can't wait."

I could hear the party from the lobby and I wanted to go inside but the truth was, I had been to hundreds of parties and not nearly as many surprises, for me.

By the time I got to Columbia it was close to 11:30 p.m. I stepped out of the cab only to get right back into another cab with Jeff and another couple, his best friends, whom I had yet to meet. I could barely pay attention to introductions because all I really wanted to blurt out was, "where are we going?" as we sped down the Westside Highway. They weren't quite dressed for nighttime, she was wearing Uggs and leggings. And they had a thermos. Jeff said to me, "You're going to love this. I hope you're dressed alright for it." I felt terribly out of place.

This thought grew exponentially once we reached our destination, just after midnight, and I said to them "I don't think Chelsea Piers is open this late,"

They all smiled as a man came outside to meet us. He unlocked the doors and led us into the ice rink, which they had rented out for the four of us for the next two hours.

I was ecstatic. And as I laced up my skates I realized and simultaneously told Jeff, "I'm dressed exactly right for this. I look like an ice princess!" By the way I will never skate in tights and a dress again but they fit into the absurdity of the night quite perfectly.

There was hand-holding and hot cocoa and other than our laughter there was absolute silence, a stark contrast from the party that was probably still raging on the other side of town.

-- By Anna Harari

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