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Choosing Us

Last night, Hal and I had big plans to get all dressed up and go to a holiday party. It was 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night, and per usual, we were exhausted.

“I just want to stay home,” I said.

“Me too. Going out is the WORST,” Hal moaned. “Should I make coffee?”

“You’ll have to or else we’re never getting out of here ever again.”

“That’s fine with me.”

“I know, right?”

When our babysitter arrived, Hal and I were still in our sweatpants and socks.

“Ugh. I don’t want to take a shower. It’s too much work!”

“Then don’t.”

“I won’t.”

“Good. Neither will I.”


Hal and I stood around being old and lame for another 30 minutes before sucking it up and (finally) getting dressed—I, in one of my fanciest dresses and Hal in his seldom-worn tie. The theme of this particular party was “casino night,” so we decided to go all out—black-tie prom dates ready to take on the town!

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I teased my flat hair and managed to make it look somewhat normal (I had worn a beanie all day so that shit was flat) and Hal spritzed some cologne in his pits because, you know, long day.

In twenty minutes, we were Producers Guild holiday party-ready. I even wore a purse for the occasion. A black one.

“This is going to be fun!”

“Yeah. People-watching at its finest.”

We high-fived each other, kissed the kids good-bye and climbed into the car. HONK HONK!

We used to do that often. We’d get in the car with no plans and end up somewhere. In those three months before I got pregnant, we spent our time breaking every plan we tried to make.

Twenty minutes later, as we were pulling up to the party, Hal turned to me and I turned to him and we did one of those, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” things that we just do now because we’ve been married for ten years which is an eternity (to us, anyway). Without saying anything, Hal threw his sedan into reverse, and off we went, down Sunset and in the opposite direction of the party.

“So, now what? Now where?”

“I don’t know. Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know, dinner?”

“Let’s get gas first.”

So we did. We got gas. And while Hal pumped, I checked the Internet on my phone for nearby restaurants.

“We could go here? Or there. Or here or there or here?”

“Put that away. We’re just gonna drive.”

We used to do that often. We’d get in the car with no plans and end up somewhere. In those three months before I got pregnant, we spent our time breaking every plan we tried to make. We spent an entire week getting lost back in the summer of 2004, ending up in Big Sur, and finally San Francisco, on the couch of an old friend of his.

Our life doesn’t allow for that kind of spontaneity anymore, so last night, as we drove in circles through Brentwood, Westwood, Beverly Hills, looking for something new and exciting that we had never seen or experienced, it felt like … well … then.

It took over an hour of driving before we settled on a place on Robertson. It was small and cozy and overflowing with very old, very well-dressed couples. A real departure from the usual Hollywood scene where old pairs with young and young pairs with very young.

“I think we managed to find the only place in Los Angeles where old men have old wives.”

We assumed we’d be completely overdressed but on the contrary—Hal was the only man in the room without a pocket square and my vintage dress was, in fact, relatively new.

There was one table available and it was “just for us,” the owner nudged. He was an older man, too, and he asked us if we’d like to sit next to each other instead of face to face.

“Sure,” we agreed.

We spent the rest of the night side by side, in a restaurant whose name I have already forgotten, on a corner, not too far from our house—a corner we didn’t even know existed until last night.

And we drank our drinks and ate our food and shared dessert and watched and talked and laughed and listened and agreed that THIS was exactly what we needed.

To get dressed and go out.

To make a plan and then break a plan only to end up … wherever it was we ended up, together. In our own little world.

“I’m glad we did this tonight.”

“We needed this.”

“It’s been a while since we ditched the dance and chose us.”

“To us.”


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