I Will Either Marry This Man or Kill Him
by Elissa Schappell
Friday after work, I headed to Penn Station. It was a mob scene. Milling beneath the departures and arrivals sign I spotted an intense-looking guy with unevenly cropped blondish-brown hair that stood up on end. He was wearing a torn-up Harris tweed coat, safety-orange socks, high-tops, black pants, and a turtleneck sweater. Sticking out of his pocket was a biography of Jean Cocteau.
I barely had time to check him out before they called my train. Walking down the steps to the platform, I heard a voice say, "This is hell, isn't it?"
It was the boy in the Harris tweed coat.
"It is," I said, my heart beating fast. I was suddenly aware of the large, dorky, tortoiseshell barrette holding back my ponytail, the stripe of white hair hanging in my eyes, my untucked turtleneck and linty black pants. I looked really awful.
He sat across from me on the train—a move I thought rather bold. I don't talk to strangers, I thought, my cheeks and ears burning. On our way south, the train broke down repeatedly. During our six-hour journey, he told me he was a writer, that he'd bailed out of graduate school a few weeks earlier, and that he now worked in an art postcard factory. To illustrate this point, he reached into his bag and pulled out a postcard, a Robert Doisneau image of a French couple kissing. I blushed. It was so corny, and so forward, and so…sigh.
"Take it," he said, when I handed it back to him. "It's for you."
BOOM. It was like a bag of flour fell on my head, and in that moment I thought, I will either marry this man or kill him, because no one else is ever going to have him.
Elissa Schappell is the author of Use Me, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and
editor at large of Tin House.
What the Doormen Saw
by Jill Rosenberg
In early 2002, Ralph and Chris, the night doormen at my apartment building, took it upon themselves to assume a second job—as matchmakers. They started by trying to talk me into a blind date with a guy on the 19th floor.
Then they told me the man they had in mind was named Sonny. "That's weird," I said. "I knew a Sonny in Hebrew school on Long Island 15 years ago. Ask him if his real name is Philip."
A few days later, Ralph and Chris practically assaulted me. "It's him! It's him!" I was about to tell them that Sonny just wasn't my type—he was shy and quiet, with an ugly eighties bowl haircut—when they proudly announced that they'd already given him my phone number.
One night I was talking to Ralph when I noticed this really cute guy at the door with Chris. I asked Ralph who he was, and he got so excited that he scrambled up on the lobby desk and started waving at Chris, who dragged the poor guy over. It was Sonny—a tall, gorgeous version of the guy I knew on Long Island. He was still shy; I was mortified. We mumbled hello and then went upstairs to our apartments.
When the Jewish High Holidays rolled around, I told Ralph and Chris that I was driving home to Long Island and joked that they should ask Sonny if he wanted a ride. They did. Sonny took the invitation seriously; he picked up the phone the next week.
We talked for two hours. We went out for drinks. We talked some more; we went bowling, to the movies, to a gazillion restaurants. We were instantly inseparable. Eventually, we moved out of the building, and then one day I got a call from the old address, saying they had a package with my name on it. Sonny offered to walk over with me. Ralph was at the door, not in his uniform (later I found out it was his day off and that Chris was desperate to be there, too, but had to be at a family party). I hugged Ralph.
As I opened the package, I didn't notice that Sonny and Ralph had maneuvered me to the very spot where we'd re-met. Sonny got down on one knee.
I started screaming, "No, no, no" when, of course, I meant yes! We're getting married November 26.
Jill Rosenberg is the production manager of O, The Oprah Magazine.
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