Just The Three of Us

Genuine friendship. That’s what I longed for, what I imagined would be so easy in a new city full of life, energy, and, well, people. Lots and lots of people. Despite the endless faces racing to beat you to a seat on the subway and passing by you on the city’s incessant streets, I found it hard to make friends in New York City.

A Long Island native who spent her girlhood riding the train into “the City” every chance she got, I dreamed, like so many other young dreamers, of living in New York. I didn’t think about the job, the boyfriend, the circle of friends, the writers group, the running club, or the met-through-cheese-making-class acquaintances I’d surely meet. They’d come naturally once I left the suburban island and officially crossed over into the much more glamorous one.

But those things were… harder to come by than I thought.

I found myself often riding the train in the reverse direction on the weekends, back to Long Island—the way I thought I’d seldom go. I found myself with my mom at an empty hotel restaurant for my first 4th of July because I didn’t have any other plans. I found it awkward and frightening to enroll in that cheese making class with perfect strangers.

I found myself alone.

One impossibly humid July day, a boy, certainly a few years younger than I, caught my eye on 14th Street. Bra-less and carrying too-heavy Whole Food bags filled with overpriced produce, I looked away and concentrated on navigating my way into the subway.

But he approached me. “I just have to tell you - you’re beautiful,” he said with a sly smile.

I just had to tell him that I was sweaty, tired, and had a real aversion to men who offered their unsolicited thoughts to me on 14th Street.

I kept walking.

“Excuse me,” he said, catching me by the arm. “Let me get your number. I’ll send you a text and if you don’t like it, you never have to hear from me again.”

“Sorry, but I have to get home,” I tried, looping around the green structure leading into the underground train and taking the steps down.

“Hey,” he said, in one last confident plea. “Give me your number and I promise if you end up hating me, I’ll leave you alone.”

I stopped on the fourth or fifth step down and peered at him through the green pickets. I had no friends as of yet in the city - definitely, no boyfriend prospects. No 4th of July companions.

“Alright,” I sighed.

He took my number and, a few hours later, had me agreeing to a date the next weekend.

We sat at a bar table in the Lower East Side in the scorching summer heat. He was less attractive than I would have liked, but had a cool confidence and carried a decent conversation. It was 45-minutes or so before he told me his friend would be joining us.

I assumed at first this was a male friend who happened to be in the area, but a pretty girl in a short skirt sauntered into the bar. She took one look at me - at the two of us together - and I knew her thoughts mirrored mine. 

What is this bitch doing here?

She sat down slowly and we made uncomfortable introductions. It became clear that he had invited us both on the same date.

Where was the exit?

Laura was sweet, sure of herself, and had a charming Colombian accent. We drank and laughed. We hadn’t been in the bar long before the guy went to the bathroom and Laura met me at the bar. She leaned in close and said, “I don’t like this guy at all, but I really like you.”

“I really like you too!” I said, surprised with how frank and vulnerable she was.

That was three years ago. Today, Laura is one of my best, truest, dearest friends. She’s simply my match. We adore the same things and have a ball together. She cheers me on more than anyone in the world besides my mother. She knows my deepest fears and is there to quell them.

Insert every cheesy thing you've ever heard about a best friend.

When people ask me how Laura and I met, I think about peering at that guy through the green pickets of the subway. I don’t quite remember his face; he’s blurry, but I remember pausing to think about taking a chance and not knowing where it would lead.

Cheese making class with strangers might be scary. Accepting a date with a dude on the street might end in disaster.

But sometimes in New York City, you just have to go for it.

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Written by Samantha Brix

Samantha Brix couldn’t get more Long Island if she tried. An award-winning reporter in a previous life, she’s now a copywriter at an ad agency in Manhattan and calls Brooklyn home. She fiddles with stand-up comedy, writing personal essays, and working to become a Snapchat celebrity. Follow her on Snapchat and Instagram @sambrix