hen Marissa outgrew the rough outer suburbs of Chicago there was only one place to go. She thought of New York as the city to end all cities, and though had friends there, the practical Midwesterner inside told her to feel it out before making the move.
She packed her leather jacket and her favorite jeans (the ones that made her mother shudder, and her brothers whoop with laughter and sideways comments) and touched down on the first Friday in April.
On the subway ride from LaGuardia Airport to her friend’s place in Brooklyn, she read and reread her horoscope. Marissa was conundrum even to herself. Her practical Virgo nature ought to refute any celestial reasoning that couldn’t be proven on paper, and yet over the last year she’d been plagued by a vague sense of restlessness that could be neither explained nor ignored.
She had a challenging job, a family she adored, and a city, Chicago, which if tiresome at times had never failed to impress her with its charms.
And yet there she was, potentially en route to a new life. Even the stars seemed to confirm she was going in the right direction.
She’d planned on leaving everything, including romance, to fate. But during the final hours of procrastinatory packing she’d taken a moment to update the location setting of her online dating profile. She was now in located in Brooklyn. You never know…
Her friend awaited her on the stoop and they shared a bottle of wine while she unpacked her bag and settled in to makeshift office space/guest bedroom at the end of the apartment.
She turned on her computer, almost unwillingly (as there would certainly be lingering work emails and concerned notes from her family), and sure enough came ping of new mail.
But the ping was a wink from her dating website. A “wink” from a man who lived in Brooklyn, one neighborhood over, and thought she was cute.
She was pleased, though most winks, she knew, went nowhere. She was about to shut the computer, but her tipsy friend encouraged her to take a second look.
He was a Libra and that spelled trouble. Dangerously sexy, but evanescent as wind.
Marissa was ambivalent. “I’m here for you, and for myself,” she told her friend. “I don’t need a man messing up the mix.”
But then they looked at his photos.
He was hot. Closely shorn hair, an angular jaw-line, and eyes that teetered between blue and grey. Their glint was deeper than the screen. She wrote back.
He won’t respond, she thought, Libras are here one day and gone the next.
She was wrong, or maybe the stars were wrong.
They began a banter that lasted through a second bottle of wine. Soon enough, they’d planned to meet the following afternoon.
That morning Marissa did yoga at length and engaged her most sensible, Virgo side. They would meet, have a walk, and she would feel him out. She was determined not to ruin her three-week New York trial run with a man whose passions would certainly dissipate.
She wore a sundress and shorts, and at her friend’s urging took along a cardigan.
“You don’t know how long this date could last,” she said, “It gets chilly at night.”
“It’s not going to last,” insisted Marissa (and only for a moment did she wonder if she wanted it to).
“Just take it.” Her friend was a Pisces. While realism played no role in her view of romance, weather certainly did. Her moon and rising sun were in Leo, which meant she would not let up anytime soon.
So Marissa took the cardigan and her slightly cynical heart out the door and walked to the Brooklyn Heights waterfront where they’d planned to meet.
His eyes shone as they had in the pictures, and when he kissed her hello, something inside her unhinged with a gentle click. They walked and talked all afternoon, stopped for a sandwich, and walked some more.
He kissed her again as the sun set over the river and she watched the ripples of yellow and pink over his shoulder. She wished she could stop worrying about how long this could possibly last, the promise she’d made to give New York a problem-free trial run, and how she didn’t want a man in the mix.
Which is when the mix began.