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Moments ago, I received a particularly goosebump-inducing text. Let me paint you a picture.
I’m currently sitting in bed in my pajama set, a chalice of wine on one side and the Playbook on the other. The Playbook smells musty and hopeful all at the same time, its pages crinkle like a well-worn novel. I’m consistently shocked at how substantive the Playbook feels against my skin – considering, you know, it’s all in my head.
Anyway, it’s only 8:30 p.m. on the west coast but I’ve hunkered down so far into my comforter that I’m not sure anything could persuade me to leave. Okay, certainly there are a few things that could persuade me to leave – ice-cream, some sort of natural disaster, a shirtless man offering me a jalapeno margarita, and so on. But until those things appear, however, you’re stuck with me.
I had been sitting in bed for a few minutes when my phone buzzed.
Do you know those machines they use in the hospitals, the ones that resuscitate someone? “Clear!” they yell, hoping the electric vibration will be enough to re-start the heart. That’s what my phone did the minute it vibrated.
“Clear,” my iPhone buzzed, instantaneously resuscitating memories of a romance long forgotten. Ironically, of course, my heart nearly stopped in the process.
“So… I hear you’re moving back to D.C.” he wrote.
Trevor and I stopped dating for a reason. He was too old for 20-year-old Victoria, too equally infatuated and dismissive of my argumentative, tireless inquisition. I wanted all he had to offer, every part of him, and he was hesitant to give that to a girl. I don’t blame him, not at all. I was, indeed, just a girl when we met.
But now here I am. I’m that same girl only slightly grown, a little buzzed on a glass of cheap wine. I feel this urge deep inside my bones to enter Trevor into the Playbook record.
So, that’s what I’ll do. I’m here for the cause and Trevor is part of the story. I present to you (with a whole lot of trepidation): The After Hours Office.
Set The Scene
I haven’t seen Trevor in three years and still, he gives me goosebumps. I met him when I was an intern and he was working in D.C. We bumped into each other at a bar called The Big Hunt. When I say we bumped into each other, I mean we quite literally ran into each other. He spilled red wine on my black blazer.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” I laughed. “I’ve spilled a lot worse on this thing… haven’t dry-cleaned it in a year anyway.”
Immediately, I was mortified.
“Ahhh, an intern?” he laughed, extending his hand. “I’m Trevor.”
“Victoria…” I said. The chemistry was palpable the minute we touched and I left that night with his number.
And yes, okay, fine. I also left with him.
(I know I was young because I remember being particularly impressed that he had an extra toothbrush for me in the morning.)
For the next two months, Trevor and I dated, and we dated hard. I’m talking dinner and concerts and hikes. The chemistry was distinct and the conversation was unending. Until, one day, I was talking about my job and he had nothing to say.
“I feel like I don’t know what you do all day,” he said.
“What do you mean? I go to school then I go to work. I’ve told you what I do. Plus, you never talk about your work! I don’t know about any of your colleagues…”
“Fine,” he said.
If I’m entirely honest I thought, in that moment, we might break up.
“Tomorrow night, you’re coming with me to my office.”
Shoot Your Shot
I got off the metro at 8 p.m. and met Trevor outside his office. He kissed me on the mouth. I remember, because he always used to grab my lower back and pull me in close. I miss that. He had a bottle of wine in his briefcase.
“Did you leave the office, go buy wine, and walk back here?” I asked, poking fun at an incredibly serious man.
“Shush, follow me,” he said, grabbing my hand and pulling us into his office building. He nodded at security and scanned his badge. The elevator took us to the 40th floor.
We stepped off the elevator and I couldn’t help but giggle as he scanned his badge once again, deactivating the alarm and unlocking his office door.
“You said I didn’t tell you about my work, so here we are,” he said, leading me through the office. “This is where I come every day.”
There was something about walking through an empty office that made me giddy. The lights were dim and the computers were humming. Sure, we were allowed to be there, but it kind of felt like we were breaking the rules.
Trevor led us to an office, unlocking the door with yet another key.
“This is where I work,” he said, lowering his voice. He motioned for me to sit in one of two chairs overlooking the city.
“Most days, while I am in this very office – I think of you. I think about what you’re doing, and what you’re wearing, and if I’ll be able to see you for dinner.”
I smiled a big, wide smile. I mean, wouldn’t you?
Trevor poured us each a glass of wine and we cheersed. Then, because I have a problem with pushing the envelope, I went over to his computer and clicked the keys until the screen lit up.
“Show me,” I said.
“What?” he laughed hesitantly.
“Show me. Explain to me what it is you do. Show me an org chart, tell me about your assistant. I want to know these things,” I said, staring him straight in the eyes. I wondered if I was pushing it too far.
Trevor paused, my words lingering in the air. Then, he laughed. He laughed a kind of guttural belly laugh that I had grown to associate with him letting down his guard.
“Okay then,” he responded, pulling two chairs in front of his monitor. He entered a long password into the screen.
“This is what I do…”
For the next hour we talked about his work, about his colleagues, and what he did day to day. He explained to me his most stressful projects and that his receptionist, after five years, was leaving for good. We went on LinkedIn and stalked his boss and he showed me the spreadsheets that were causing him particular headaches.
By the end of the bottle of wine I truly, deep down, felt like I knew him better.
The following week we snuck into my office and we did the same. Granted, I was an intern and had a lot less to present, but it felt good. We were teaching each other about our lives.
Those were two of the best dates I have been on and, as I sit here in bed (wine almost gone, by the way!) I can’t help but wonder if I’m a different girl than the Victoria that Trevor knew three years ago.
I haven’t responded to his texts, I don’t know if I will. My return to DC is supposed to be a fresh start – a new chapter in an unplanned story.
I can’t tell you what I’ll do. I’m going to sleep on it for now. In fact, my pajama set is feeling warmer and more comfortable by the second. I may very well fall asleep laptop in hand.
One thing before I go, however, if you’re in a relationship (whether it be a committed courtship or a new fling) and you too feel that silence, that lingering space you don’t know what to do with. If there’s a gap in your partners day that you feel you don’t understand – maybe, instead of calling it quits, just take her to your office.
Spreadsheets become far sexier over wine and a little conversation. .