The Crazy American Writer

Date and location of meeting: New York, NY, October 2016

I finally made it to New York (just for a short holiday). It was my last night in NYC and I was out with my girlfriend J, at her favourite Italian restaurant in West Village, L’Artusi. We walked in around 9pm on a Saturday evening without a reservation and were told it would be a wait of an hour and 45 minutes. As we walked in, we saw two men look over at us. After being told the wait, J and I discussed whether we should stay there or not, and decided we would wait and get drinks while we waited.

A few people were seated at the restaurant, and we moved up in the line. J went to go get drinks, and shortly after she was gone, one of the men turned to me and commented that wasn’t it ridiculous that there was a long wait for the bar? I remarked that it was, and he began talking about what a good restaurant it was. His name was John, and he was 35, and a former investment banker and writer for a well known financial review but was now working on a non-fiction novel and had his own PR company. He had previously lived in London, Singapore and Japan, and spoke Japanese, like me. I found him exciting and was surprised that we had things in common. I liked the sound of his voice and his offhand American charm. He was dressed in chinos, a blue pin-stripe button up shirt, and a khaki vest.Soon his friend came back and he introduced me to him- Matt, who worked at a hedge fund. I found M cuter, but M started talking to J when she got back, so our pairings were obvious. As we continued talking, our conversation started and stopped. I felt like he was either nervous, or uninterested. Eventually John and Matt got called for their table, and they said they would see us later. Shortly after that, J and I got called for our table. We ended up sitting at the end of bar diagonal from them, so we could see them while we were eating, but at a distance.

J and I had a perfect meal, and finished up and walked outside. I was messaging the guy I was meant to go on a Tinder date with that evening and J said she was going home, when John and Matt walked outside and asked if we wanted to get drinks down the street. My Tinder date hadn’t replied, so I thought ‘why the hell not’ and asked J if she wanted to go, while she exchanged a look with me that said she didn’t really want to but would go for my sake.

While we were walking to the bar, John turned to us and said his place was right there, and would we mind if he quickly ran up to get some cigarettes. I said it was fine, and Matt, J and I stood downstairs and waited for him. He took a lot longer than someone should to get cigarettes. When he came back down, we continued walking to the bar and chatting.

We got to the bar, which was on the same block, and they ordered a round of drinks. John was talking about how great the bartender was, and how he would make us great cocktails. This was the point at which I began to think he was a little odd.

He told me various things throughout the night, such as, “you’re a sweetheart”, “I feel comfortable with you like I haven’t with anyone,” as well as quoting lines from The Great Gatsby exactly WORD FOR WORD without looking it up, I kid you not, saying things like, “and so we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past..” etc.

We had had a few drinks, and then John decided to order oysters for the both of us- so there we were, eating oysters at 2am, while he talked about how nice it was, and continued to say flattering things to me. The things he was saying were getting repetitive, and as I gazed into his eyes, I realised his pupils were huge. He was also sniffing a ridiculous amount. I realised that he must be on coke, and that the run up to his apartment wasn’t for cigarettes. At one point, he asked if he could kiss me on the cheek before he went to the bathroom, and I allowed him to. Around this time, the things he was saying were also getting a bit repetitive. I mentioned to J that I thought my guy was crazy, to which she said, he just seemed a bit odd.

When he returned from the bathroom, my suspicions about him doing coke were confirmed when he asked me to go for a quick walk around the block, which I assumed was to cool down. We walked quickly around the block, chatting, and while we walked, he told me he had a rooftop at his place and could take me to see it. I said sure, and when we walked back into the bar, I asked J if she wanted to come back to John’s place for a bit. I could tell that she didn’t want to go but just went along with it because I wanted to.

While we were walking back to his place, which was on the same street, John mentioned something about how he indulged in drugs “occasionally”, and I replied, laughing (probably hysterically) that I knew he had done some coke that night, and John said he would give me some. While we were walking back to his place, he mentioned he had a female friend, Madeleine, staying with him who was going through a divorce, and she had all her stuff all over his place. I thought this was kind of weird, or that this person must be lacking some kind of decency. We got back to his place, on the same street that the bar and restaurant had been on in West Village. J and Matt sat in the living room chatting, while John took me upstairs to the roof. Sure, there was a rooftop, but there wasn’t a great view.

While we were on the rooftop, I was strolling around inebriated, enjoying the breeze, when he took my face in his hands and kissed me. We stayed like that for a few moments, kissing on the roof, until I managed to disentangle myself and said I wanted to go back downstairs. When we came back into his apartment, J was gone and Matt was sitting alone. I asked him where she went, and he said, “home.” Feeling uncomfortable that she was gone, I recall trying to leave, but John saying everything was okay and that I should stay. He said something to Matt, which I don’t remember, but after he said it, Matt got up and left. I thought he looked irritated but in my drunken state, I couldn’t be sure.

As soon as he left, John went to another room and pulled out the coke. He had a small bag of it, and placed it on the table. I was about to tip it out to line it up, but he said he would do it for me, and stuck his finger into the bag, and then placed some in each of my nostrils consecutively. It was a small amount, but it was strong, and in no time, I was shaking and my eyes were wobbling. We sat down on the hard seat that J and Matt had been sitting on before, and he asked me if I wanted a drink. He only had beer, which I accepted and began sipping on. As we sat there, drinking beer in his apartment, I put on Talking Heads ‘This must be the place’, and we sat there discussing the meaning of the song. We talked about how it was such a great song, and I said it was about someone who’s never been in love before and who is guessing they must be in love from what they know about it.

At that point, I must have been expressing myself in an opinionated way as I was shaking from the bumps of coke. I started to feel sick to my stomach so I rushed to the bathroom to vomit, and was in there for less than five minutes when John followed me and knocked on the door asking if he could come in. I said yes, and then he came in and asked if I was alright and stroked my hair. I said, “I want to go home, I feel sick.” He said, “stay, I just want to spend more time with you since you’re leaving tomorrow.” I came out of the bathroom and again said I was going home. John walked into the bedroom and stood slightly past the doorway, and said, “just stay, we don’t have that much time left together. I don’t want to do anything. I’ll take care of you.” The things he was saying were ridiculously corny, and no one I had ever met on the first night had ever spoken to me like that. Nevertheless, I liked it.

We went to sleep spooning, with him holding me. I fell asleep almost straight away, and true to his word, he didn’t try anything.

The next morning, I woke up very early to the sun streaming in through the windows, and him holding me in his arms. I said something about how could he sleep without curtains, and he said he normally didn’t have a problem. We lay there talking for a couple of hours. Even in sobriety, he continued to say ridiculously corny things to me, such as, “you’re so thoughtful and genuine. So different to other girls. And you like cool music like Talking Heads. I wish I met you earlier. I’m going to miss you when you go back to Sydney. I wish you didn’t have to go back. We’re going to stay in contact. I’ll come visit you in Sydney.” And so on, and so forth. I didn’t think he was being genuine, but I played along anyway. And then the things got even more ridiculous. He said, “I want to do new things with you. Have you been skiing?” When I said no, he would teach me how to ski when I came back to NYC. And he didn’t stop there. He said he would take me to the south, to Charleston when I came back, and that I would I love the food there. I found all the things he was saying so unbelievable and nonsensical that I half wondered if he was going to ask me to marry him, the things he was saying just seemed to increase in absurdity.

I was on my side, facing the wall, and he was spooning me from behind. During the night, he had removed his pants, so he was just in underwear and his shirt, slightly unbuttoned. All my clothes were still on, and he slightly tilted my head to his side and kissed me. I pulled away first every time he did this, half because I wasn’t that attracted to him, and half because I had morning breath. I made the excuse that I didn’t want to kiss because I hadn’t brushed my teeth, and he said, “I don’t mind, but brush your teeth, if that’s what it’ll take for you to kiss me.” So we went to the bathroom and both brushed our teeth using the same toothbrush (he only had one).

We went back to cuddle in bed, and kiss a bit, and I could feel his erection pressing into my back the entire time. He said, “I’m sorry, I hope I’m not being too forward.” I replied, “I don’t sleep with people the first time I meet them.” He replied, “I know. I guess I’ll just have to wait.” I tried to creep out, more than once after this, and I said a variety of things, “I’m super tired and have to pack, I don’t want to miss my flight,” etc. but he insisted on taking me to lunch that day, “to spend more time with me”. Eventually I agreed, and we lay in bed cuddling for couple of hours, chatting about ourselves, and stuff like our past relationships and favourite books.

However, in the light of the day, I saw things that hadn’t been so obvious the previous night.

There were several pairs of shoes strewn around his bedroom, and more than one handbag. There was also a picture of two girls on the mirror. “If your friend is staying in the other room, why would she put all her stuff in here as well?” I actually strongly suspected that he was hiding the fact that he lived with his girlfriend, but I didn’t want to accuse him outright. He replied, “I don’t know, she just did. “So who is that in the picture?” I asked. He said, “Madeleine, and her friend.”

Not satisfied with the answers he was giving me, I went to the living room while he was in the bathroom and continued looking around. There were letters on the table, with a woman’s name on that address. There was an ID on the table that also matched her address. “Why do you have this person’s stuff?” I asked him, in an accusatory manner. He said something like, “I told you my friend was staying here, I don’t know whose stuff that is.” And while he was saying it, he had a crestfallen look on his face, so much so that I pitied him, and still went out to lunch with him.

We walked to a nearby Italian restaurant called Morindi, and were seated immediately. As soon as we were seated, he said again how sad he was that I was leaving, and that he was going to miss me. He then asked, “how should stay in touch, email?”

“I have Whatsapp,” I replied, and with that, we exchanged numbers. He texted me ‘hey there’ right then, and I saw his full name pop up. I kind of liked him at this point, despite his shadiness, but I still thought he was a liar. He asked me when was a good time to visit Sydney, and I said if he liked beaches, probably December or January. He even asked if there were tickets available around a thousand dollars, and I said probably. Although I would have liked to see him visit me, I found it highly dubious. At this point, I was wondering if he did really indeed like me, or if he was a master of deceit. He even took photos of me while we were eating!

After we finished lunch, I reached for my wallet, but he said, “Don’t worry about it – it’s our first date.”

After lunch, I was thinking of getting the subway back to FiDi but decided to book a VIA instead. It wasn’t to arrive for another 15 minutes though. While we waited, we stood on the street corner in the sun, chatting. He would lean in intermittently to kiss me as we waited. When the car came, he gave me a quick hug and kissed me goodbye. Before 20 minutes had passed, he texted me saying, “have a smooth flight, pretty girl”. I replied “thanks, it was great meeting you :)”, a few hours later, or the next day. He didn’t reply.

I had pleasant thoughts of him going home, and the next day, I landed in Sydney and went straight back to work. I immediately experienced the onset of post holiday depression and decided to Google him for fun. I had seen his full name flash when he had messaged me on Whatsapp. When I googled him, I was surprised to see that he had a Wikipedia page, and unpleasantly surprised to find a nasty article about him.

The article said he had hit a girl with a beer bottle (more than once!) at a club in NYC after the girl had rejected him and that she was suing. I was so horrified to read this I kept the article open and continuously searched him while at work the next couple of days in some sort of shell shock. The article said the girl was suing him, and the club, whose bouncers reportedly helped him escape before the police came. Another article I read said he was on “medication” when he hit the girl.

To add to this, I also found pictures of him in 2013 with the girl whose name I had seen on the letters to his address, which really irritated me. So basically, I spent the night with a violent drug addict, and very possibly used his girlfriend’s (?) toothbrush. But oh well, life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall…

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