I’d like to believe he was wearing his best suit, returning home from a long day on Wall Street with the top button of his oxford shirt undone and blazer haphazardly draped over one broad shoulder. I’d like to believe he’d offered a smile, his signature, pretty boy smirk, to every gal he passed on the walk to his TriBeCa highrise – eyeing each of them lustfully from toenails to topknot from behind the veil of his Ray-Bans. I’d like to believe he breezed by the doorman, fist-bumped a neighbor bro, and was only a few strides from the elevator in his palatial marble lobby when the building concierge cleared his throat.
“Excuse me, sir,” The attendant interrupted his tenant hesitantly and discreetly. “But you have a delivery.”
My coworker-turned-close-friend had been canoodling with the investment banker for almost a year. I remember the night they met, an August happy hour illuminated by Hudson River reflections and his unexpected charm.
“I saw you from across the bar,” he said, masterfully lassoing her heart with his necktie. “I just had to ask: do you have plans tomorrow night?”
In the weeks immediately following, they shared dinners, Broadway shows, pillow talk, and a weekend getaway to the Hamptons. Romantic evenings with him were punctuated with promises and kisses, and happy hours with her girlfriends were punctuated with the lingering question: Could he be the one?
The color of the leaves began to mirror the orange hue of city sunsets, and his passion subsequently cooled with the season. He’d been overlooked for a promotion at his firm, he’d told her. He feared she’d captivated too large a portion of his attention. He felt their tryst had compromised his success.
“But we should still be friends,” he suggested. “You know, see each other, have a drink sometimes – and I’d hate to say goodbye to our sleepovers.”
A clean goodbye would have been easy on her heart, but hard on his libido. He’d spent weeks establishing himself as “Prince Charming” – why discard his efforts and transform into “Prince Departing?”
From that point onward, he implemented his professional knowledge as a banker into his romantic wheelings-and-dealings – minimal investment, maximum return. Knowing full well that a Park Avenue princess was underestimating his flaws and overestimating his affections, he allowed mere lust to fuel meetings after midnight.
Six months deep into their routine, the twosome engaged in tradition that defines American romance – dinner and a movie. Hopeful and high on their rare, non-sexual interaction, she reached across a shared tub of popcorn during the opening credits and grabbed his hand.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” He whispered, laughing casually. “I’m not into the whole hand-holding thing. Remember, I’m not your boyfriend.”
They may have ventured from between the sheets to the New York streets, but he confined all intimacy to the bed in his bachelor pad.
Perhaps he only desired a toy – a toy of which he’d once grown tired, but continued to enjoy at each passing fancy.
Toy, he wanted? Toy delivered.
I’d like to believe that when he acknowledged the concierge, he thought the package bearing his name contained toilet paper or shaving gel or condoms or whatever other miscellaneous personal grooming supply he’d recently ordered via Amazon Prime. I’d like to believe he covered his open mouth, face flushed, when the item – hand delivered by his former girlfriend’s closest gal pals an hour earlier – was presented. I’d like to believe he was shamed off the elevator as he carried it to his apartment.
And I’d like to believe that, in the absence of my friend who finally dumped him, he’ll enjoy his newest toy and very special delivery: A brunette inflatable doll with knots replacing her severed, PVC hands.