In line for the bus to Southbury, CT, two Fordham students stood behind me. The boy said to his girlfriend, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but if you hadn’t told me you got your hair cut I never would have noticed.” His girlfriend said, “Dannnn! I cut it, like, five or six inches!”
I read Not That Kind of Girl and obsessively listened to the first episode of Serial, then arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. My college roommate, Melissa, was coming in three-day-weekend traffic from Boston and would still be 45 minutes, so I took a seat at the poppin’ hotel bar.
A man next to me wearing a bandana Bruce Springsteen-style with an 8-inch beard offered to buy me a drink. I accepted, and we began talking about the lumberjack profession, and growing up in Maine, and California, and is this the only bar in town because it’s pretty busy? He said I was very pleasant to talk to and I talked about how bartending has made it much easier for me to talk to anyone I encounter. “I treat everyone I meet exactly the same,” he said.
Melissa arrived and she hugged me deeply before we hopped in her car and headed to our Airbnb apartment in Torrington. It can only be described as “Connecticut chic.” There were hipster elements such as a rusting metal letter K (our host’s first initial) and trunks and stacked old suitcases, but also pillows emblazoned with “New York” over and over, mirrors that read “Dream, create, inspire,” and a book titled “Pillows and Throws.” A whole book about pillows and throws. We shared a bottle of wine and talked late into the night. I looked over at her and saw the 18-year-old girl that cried quietly after her mother had left her at our freshman dorm room.
The next day we grabbed bagels and coffee from “Coffee Plus,” the only breakfast place in town, and headed out on the Connecticut Wine Trail. We drank wine and ate cheese and laughed and took selfies with leaves and marveled at the inherent goodness of fall for six hours, until those wineries kicked us out and our lungs seemed filled with dairy. We joined bachelorette parties and moms’ getaways and couples with their babies and groups of sharply dressed gay men desperate to fill out their “wine passports,” a gimmick to promote the CT wineries (get all the stamps in your passport and submit it for extravagant prizes!).
After dinner in Litchfield, we once again found ourselves on our rented apartment couch, cracking open just one more bottle of wine, nestled under blankets, talking for four hours straight. It’s wild how much you can share with each other when the television doesn’t work.
We had the kind of soul-filling suburban diner breakfast you just can’t find in the city before I once again found myself on the bus to New York City, listening to a lot of Bon Iver.