Eloise was positive that Albany, New York was the fresh start she needed. No one in Albany knew her; neither did anyone in the rest of the state for that matter. There were people who knew her in Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida but she had never travelled as far north as New York before, and that’s why she thought it was the perfect place to start over.
“A new town, a new job, a whole new set of people to meet! They may even find my Southern accent cute!” she said as she pulled up to the apartment she had found online to rent.
A baker by trade, Eloise had lined up work in the city’s fanciest restaurant. She was going to wow people with her pastries, make everyone fall in love with her because of them, and who knows…perhaps find someone she could love in return.
One month into her new life she found herself bored. Everyone at work seemed nice, but they had already established their own little cliques, so no one wanted to hang out afterwards. She was going to have to look elsewhere for companionship.
“That place looks just as good as any,” Eloise said of the five-star hotel across the street from her restaurant. “I bet it at least has a nice bar.”
It had a very nice bar, a bar that was filled with women dressed as though they were on their way to a charity gala and men who looked as though they closed huge business deals before breakfast was even over. The outfit she had changed in to after her shift wasn’t anywhere near as impressive, but it was decent enough to allow her entry. She found an empty stool and ordered a martini.
Five minutes later a gentleman who had been sitting all alone at a table near the back sat down at the stool next to Eloise. He was handsome, almost movie star so, and his suit was definitely not off the rack.
“I’m not going to ask you what you’re in town for because that would sound like the start of a bad pick-up line, so I’m just going to say ‘Hello, I’m Martin,’” he said, assuming she was a guest of the hotel’s.
“I’m Eloise,” she said, smiling in return, even though she knew what he had just said was a pick-up line in and of itself. But he was well dressed, and Eloise had a thing for well dressed men. She liked how it made them look successful, how being next to one made her feel successful, how the presents they bought her made her feel loved. They had all been married, of course, and this one likely was too. But four weeks was a long time to go without having anyone to talk to, so why not enjoy a bit of conversation and a drink or two?
“You know, there’s this great music club a few blocks from here. I’d love to take you dancing,” Martin said after an hour. “Care to go?”
Dancing sounded wonderful, but just as she was about to say yes, she heard another voice.
“It doesn’t matter where you go, Eloise. You always bring you, don’t you?” it said. It was the voice of reason, warning her that if she hooked up with this married man, then she’d have the same problems she had when she hooked up with those married men down in Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. If her life was to change, then she had to change.
“Thank you, but I think I’m going to call it a night,” Eloise said. “All the best to you, Martin.”
“And all the best to you, Eloise,” he said as he watched her walk out of the bar.
With a change in ways, maybe she’d one day come to know what that’s truly like.