“I flew to Hollywood to meet a stranger.”

One night in March, I received a text from him saying: “I need to see you …”

I responded to the text with a phone call, my heart pounding.

He said to me, “I’ll pay for your plane ticket, I’ll pay for the accommodation. I do not care. I just need to see you.

I said yes.

I told my manager I needed a week or two off work. I packed my bags and flew to LA, where I met him in Hollywood.

As I stood in front of him, under the hedge arch in front of our Airbnb, seeking shade from the scorching California sun, I noticed the slight freckle on his nose and how clear his brown eyes were in person. . We couldn’t get away from each other. It was instantaneous. The spark had been nurtured in person.

That night, as I sat next to him, our knees touching, his face lit by the soft pink light from the patio, I decided that I had found love just as I was. had stopped looking. Plus, he had been there the entire time, just not available to me. I savored the mysterious order of the universe and the irony of the situation.

We spent days eating sushi, walking along the Venice beach, drinking beer. He taught me how to play on the stock market by listening to our favorite B-sides. It was good. We felt good.

One evening we were at the Rainbow Bar & Grill, looking each other in the eye, his hand rubbing my thigh under the table. Then his phone rang. He left me sitting alone in the cabin for half an hour. The waiter walked over and slid a huge pizza onto the table in front of me and two rounds of vodka.

By the time he returned, sliding against me in the cabin, the ice in his drink had melted considerably. He apologized but gave no further explanation. The energy had changed. I wanted to ask him what the real story was. But I didn’t, because I already knew it, but by then I had slipped. I fell.

The next day we were driving through Beverly Hills when her phone rang. He stopped and responded, then unplugged it from the car audio – right after I heard her greet him. She looked happy, light. He got out of the truck. I watched him – pacing the phone – until it hurt to look.

Looking at the palm trees, I fully understood how LA was a place where people came to make their dreams come true and how many ended up suffering from heartache, failure and displacement.

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