We look up old boyfriends and girlfriends with the highest of hopes that the old magic will still be there and the old spark will be rekindled. But what if your old love is a candidate for "The Biggest Loser," "Intervention" or "Hoarders"?
Shortly after being informed this summer that her husband of 24 years wanted a divorce, Talia decided she'd had enough of the pity party she'd been throwing nightly and was going to take a trip, and not just a trip: a trip combined with a romantic adventure that might lead who knows where. In other words, she went looking for love in one of the old places. She contacted Tony, an old college boyfriend who was also divorced and lived in New York City. What a great town for fun, sights and maybe more.
She says: "We emailed, called, texted, and plans fell into place. He warned me that his apartment was 'humble,' but I figured most people paying $1800 a month for an apartment in New York had a humble living space. But he carried on about his wonderful neighborhood, all the great places we would eat and drink. I bought a couple of new outfits as the trip approached, got my nails done, got waxed, the whole nine yards."
Talia flew from Chicago O'Hare Airport to LaGuardia Airport on a Saturday morning. It was an easy flight, and she arrived to perfect weather. She called the car service Tony told her to use. Once she arrived at his apartment building and called him, he went down to greet her.
She says: "Red flag No. 1 Tony looked nothing like his picture on Facebook. He looked much, much worse and his picture wasn't that great. I figured it was just a bad angle."
"We hugged, shared an awkward kiss, and then he walked me into the hallway of his building. We climbed the stairs to his second floor apartment. When we get to his hallway, I saw piles of boxes, crap, stuff, general mess and chaos. He led me into his apartment, and I was overcome by shock. The odors, the sights, the fengshui of the place made the hair on the back of neck stand up.
"Tony is a bona fide, ready-for-reality TV hoarder. His place was consumed by albums, books, magazines, piles of junk, dust bunnies, cat litter, wrappers, rags, and garbage. From floor to ceiling! There was barely an 18 inch path to walk from room to room. And he told me how busy he'd been cleaning and getting ready for my visit! I was speechless."
Tony asked Talia if she was hungry. She said yes. He offered to fix her something. She said an emphatic no and suggested they go out. They went to a local bistro.
She says: "As I ate, it started sinking in that I had gotten myself into a world-class mess. But it gets even better. Or worse. When the check came, he informed me that he was flat broke. I paid the bill. I now realized I'd be paying for both of our meals, drinks, and outings for the next three days. Utter dread took over every fiber of my being."
To be continued ...
Have you contacted an old lover? Send your tale, along with your questions and problems to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.