I kind of thought Rita looked like an elf. She had that slim build, sharp features, and short, dark hair. She could have been a Vulcan, but Vulcans didn’t smile that much.
On September 11, 2001, I’d spent that particular day assuring everybody I was fine and calming down those who didn’t see it like I did. I told myself that their fear was more justified than mine because they didn’t see what I saw, and on that day I drank as soon as I could. Two days later, when I finally made it home, I found my stash of marijuana and lit it up. The rest of the time I consoled my girlfriend Andrea, whose birthday was September 13.
And so, two weeks later, when Katherine O’Shea threw a party for herself and everyone who missed out on their own birthday, I sought out the most cheerful people I could find. That person was Rita and her companion Anne Marie, out on the smoking deck.
I was on fucking fire. Were I not attached, I may have made a move on either of them. And, frankly, I feel lucky that it was them, because they took it in stride. My flirtation didn’t come across as creepy so much as it did all in good fun. Fun is the operative word here, because that’s what drew me to her, time and time again. And it didn’t hurt that she was cute.