China Club 1992

D. Greene

© Copyright 2022 by D. Greene


Photo by Michael Discenza  at Unsplash.
Photo by Michael Discenza  at Unsplash.

Sitting in the China Club. New York City. I came here with Sarah, my roommate and theater school classmate. The place is packed when we get there. I always feel uncomfortable the first couple of minutes weíre there Ė I think everyone is looking at me like I donít belong. I want them to think Iím ďsomeoneĒ, but I always feel like Iím an imposter.

We walk around, Sarah knows all these people and I say hi to them, I feel like the tag-along friend. I AM the tag-along friend.

We make fun of people half-heartedly to see if they bite. I see three guys making fun of us. We donít bite. Some guy (later we find out his name is Zion) and his friend start talking to Sarah. I see an absolutely gorgeous guy that looks like Bobby, a guy I met there a few weeks ago. Bobby is a pirate, he tells me. A Pittsburgh Pirate, that is. Heís newly drafted. Waiting for his shot. Sarah introduces Zionís friend to me. He looks disappointed. Heís nice enough to me, but is clearly interested in her.

I sit on the couch, waiting for Sarah to use the restroom. Sheís gone for a long time. Two girls from the group of strippers that are there come and sit next to me, men talk to them, look at me like Iím taking up too much couch space. Two older men that looks as thought theyíre in the mob, or day traders, come and stand by me, unusual to see someone of that age here. They are in the mob; Iím convinced. Or day traders exploring the night life with zeal, looking for a way to spend their dough. They have a young guy whoís a runner, he talks to people, reports back to them. Are they recruiting?

One of the older men asks me what Iím thinking ofÖwell, Iím pretending not to hear their conversation, thatís for sure. I say Iím ďjust letting my mind wander as I wait for my friend in the restroom.Ē He tells me (friendly) that I shouldnít think too hard. He asks where my boyfriend is. I tell him I left him at home, itís girlsí night out. There is no boyfriend at home. We both know that.

Sarah comes back. He asks us if weíve ever heard of this other club, ______(redacted for security purposes).

I say no, Sarah says yesóitís amazing that we moved here at the same time, yet she knows far more about the club scene and itsí inhabitants than I do.

He talks about the club as I grapple with my social knowledge inadequacies. Sarah tells him weíre waiting for a friend. He says ďDid I ask you to go with me?Ē Then turns and asks me if Iíd like to go to the club with him. Figures, the only guy that hits on me all night is over sixty years old. I say sorry, waiting for that friend. Iím twenty-one.

Zion joins us again, talks to Sarah to the side, Iím not included in the conversation. Stuart, a guy who was the sports all-star everything in my high school, who now lives here and whom Iíve gone out to dinner with once (enough to learn he was a snob, no matter how homesick I am I refuse to go out with him again), is there. Later, Sarah, Zion, his friend and I are at a table and he keeps walking by. I go and talk to him more to escape Zion and friend than to be nice. I canít believe heís such a loser now, in high school (when I was a freshman and he was a senior) he was a God!

Zionís friend takes off because Iím talking to Stuart. He was nice, but nothing exciting. Iím sure thatís what guys say about me all the time. And so it goes.

I leave about 3 a.m., after having given poor Stuart the brush off for what I hope is the last time. Zion is all over Sarah.

Sarah doesnít come home that night, she left town with a bunch of guys and girls, spent the night in some wildly exotic place north of Manhattan and comes home late the next day.

I feel like the ugly step-sister.

Sarah becomes a single mother at age twenty-four. Stuart escapes the collapse of Tower Two World Trade Center by running for his life, his high school athletic training carried him like the wind, he said. We touch base occasionally. Heís tolerable with the span of the country between his coast and mine.

I graduate, leave the city, move to Hollywood and become the ugly step-sister you see in all the movies.

The Ďsomeoneí whose name no one can remember.

My writing education consists of reading scripts and books of clients and plying agency readers for tips as a receptionist at ICM Partners talent agency for seven years in between acting roles.  
I was the recipient of a full scholarship to the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.  
My literary aspirations can be traced back to my childhood of books and my cousin, the late author Ken Kesey, whose writing inspired me to dream further. 
 Iím also an aspiring screenwriter, SAG/AFTRA performer and, above all else, a book lover.

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