It was in 2006 that I met Jennifer for the first time. Fifteen years to that day, and I still remember our first meeting. Years have passed, things have rolled up, but the memory— the memory stays alive in my heart, forever.

Fifteen years ago, I was invited over to Lisa’s place for Thanksgiving dinner. She and I were best buddies in high school. We spent every vacation exploring different parts of New York, hung out late at night in the streets of Hollywood, and had our evening coffees at Central Perk. From our school days, to our graduation ceremonies, to the job promotions, we always had each other’s back. And today, we were meeting to celebrate her last Thanksgiving dinner in the city before she moved to Manhattan with Mike. So this one was for her new beginnings!

* * *

The navigation ended. My destination was on the right-hand side. 13th Street. 47 W 13th St, New York. I took a deep breath. And another. And another. I was meeting my best friend after two years. There was a lot to tell, a lot to share, but more than that, I just wanted to see her. 

I got off of my car, picked the presents, and walked towards the door. A simple wreath was hung on the front door, and a jumble of pumpkins was kept on the steps. I walked in through the front door. Lights were dimmed and a soft melody was playing in the background. The temperature was adjusted according to the chilly weather outside, and everything was in the shades of red. I saw people all around. Some were familiar faces in the crowd, while others were acquaintances. I exchanged a few smiles and kept walking. A few steps further, I saw Lisa, busy with the waiters and servants, making sure everything went smoothly.

She saw me, looking at her, walking towards her to give her a tight hug. I missed my best friend. So much! As we grew older, we grew apart. A-call-a-day had become a-call-a-month. Looking at her, I could feel a rush of emotions inside me. “Hi, how have you been?”, I asked her. “Couldn’t have been more terrible, David!”, she replied. “My wedding is in a month, today is the grand dinner, and these servants, ughh I tell you!”, she complained as she checked out the dinner table arrangements. She hadn’t changed; at all. She was still that perfectionist, spontaneous, and idealistic person. “Oh, I am sorry, David… How are you!?”, she looked at me. I could see in her eyes that she missed me too. “I am fine… Great… ya… I am doing great!”, I said nervously. There was so much to say, so much to tell. I was meeting my friend after 2 years. We had so much to catch on to! Oh my god, I missed her! “David, here, come with me, let’s sit and chat. It’s been heck long!”, she held my hand and walked me through the doors. We sat on the couch, with a glass of wine, and talked about our lives. About everything we have been going through, with all the details. The entire conversation went as if we never really disconnected. We were there for each other even when we weren’t present physically. So engrossed in the chat, we had lost the track of time. We didn’t realise when two hours passed. We stood up and started walking, “David, I want you to meet my friend, Jennifer.”, Lisa said as we walked through to the dining hall. I had heard her name a few times in her conversations. She seemed to be a pretty awesome person in her stories. “Hey, Jen! Meet David, the one I have been talking about in my talks, remember?”, Lisa said as she introduced me to Jen. 



“I’ll just go and check on everything. Till then you guys enjoy. I know you’ll love each other’s company.”, Lisa affirmed as she left us alone. With her leaving, there drew an awkward silence. Jen and I looked at each other and exchanged awkward smiles. 

“So, Lisa told me you work in the IT sector?”, I asked.

“Haha, yes I do. For the past 5 years now… and you?”

“I have my own company of sales and marketing…”, I replied.

“Oh! That’s great. I have always wanted to have my own company, you know. A brand, and various small companies under it… But then I had to take this job for a start.”

“Oh… I understand. I had some difficulties too at the start. Turned out it was all worth the pain.”

“Ahmm…”, she nodded in affirmation.

Gradually, Jen and I started talking. The awkward silence started developing into a real conversation. She came out to be exactly how I imagined her; chatty, innocent, and childish. Her piercing big, green eyes, with a smoky touch of purple shade on the lids, and bold eyeliner, perfectly fitted with her red lipstick. She bit her curved lips, sandwiching it between her canines, before speaking her mind. I could feel she was nervous; hesitant to come out. I decided to give this some time. There was something different I felt with her, that I felt with no one. I sensed a touch of belongingness, a hint of affinity. Something I never felt so early in any of the past relationships. I decided to go on with my sixth sense. Anxiously I asked, “Can I have your number?”. She looked at me with a smile. “917-566-4742”, she replied with a blush. And in her reply, I could sense that she wanted this too. I was sure she saw something in me, too. But I didn’t want to turn this moment into awkwardness again, so I asked her for dinner. She smiled and held my hand. I felt goosebumps in my body. Her hand felt so soft, little, and gentle. Her fingers were in between mine as we walked towards the dinner table. She took mashed potatoes in her plate, while I had roasted butternut squash soup. We sat together to have the meal. Every moment with her felt special. Slowly, the tension between us started to fade away.

The night had drawn upon. It was time to say goodbye to Lisa. Jen accompanied me and we both wished her luck for her new journey. I gave her a tight hug and promised to meet her more often. She saw that Jen and I found a company in each other. She passed a smile to me and I walked Jen to her car.

“It was great meeting you, Jennifer,”

“You too, David. And you can call me Jen. I’d feel good that way…”, she blushed as she said.

“I will, Jen.”, I said with a smile.

She smiled and looked down. She bit her lower lip and she struggled to find something to talk.

“I’ll miss yo— talking to you”, I said.

“You… have my number. I’ll wait for your call…?”, she said bitting her lips.

“Ahaha… ya…”, I said with a blush.

“I think I should… leave… it’s late-night… and also chilly…”, she said.

“Uhmm… yes. I’ll call— I mean I’ll text you… tomorrow… evening”

“Ah… yes. I’ll wait.”

She got into her car, adjusted her seat, started the engine, and waved me goodbye. I waved back, with a smile. I didn’t want to leave her. It felt very brief. I felt I had known her already. She felt like a part of me I’d always been missing. And finally, when I think I found ‘her’, I didn’t want her to go.

* * *