After the dressing room disaster, Nora’s back in her business casual, hauling herself and her equally weighted Longchamp bag down 14th street to catch the bus. She's still half a block from the stop when it pulls away. A sign from The Universe she needs the extra cardio?
On second thought, what is she thinking? It’s - wait a second - it's finally not cold! It's not exactly warm, but this Southern bird will take it. Spring is here, betches! If you’ve ever lived in New York, then you know how special this time of year is. After six months of icy misery, the City finally becomes bearable again. The energy is palpable. Every neighborhood turns into its own version of a Disney village.
A spring in her step, Nora leaps over a small puddle of questionable origin. A homeless guy claps. She can’t help but smile. Maybe this night is turning around after that minor blip on the public humiliation radar. Sure, she can’t ever show her face in the Union Square Forever 21, for like, forevs, but maybe that’s for the best? Yes. Something magical is around the corner.
She’s almost home. Quick shower, a swipe of God's gift to makeup, and throw on her favorite jumpsuit, the one that instantaneously makes her feel twice as glamorous, and her night will be off. Sequins or no sequins, Chadwick is going to be eating out of the palm of her hand.
Speaking of, she still needs to figure out where exactly they're meeting up. She pulls out her phone to text him. A darkness creeps over her face.
“Sry, can’t do dinnerr… tomorrow mb?” the message reads.
AHHHH. Nora turns to her left. She’s face-to-face with a giant dancing pizza. Plan B.
Way too many minutes of indecision later, our dear Nora realizes this is why God gave us two hands. Then a few steps after that, she’s in front of her door, double-fisting slices, which you'd think would make the impending climb to her fifth-floor walk up better, but you'd be wrong. It is an eternally awful commute.
But what's that? At the top of the stairs she hears voices. Sashi's actually home? Hooray! The number one perk of living with your best-friend-since-middle-school is having a permanent slumber party. And tonight, that's exactly what Nora needs.
“Sash!” Nora shouts as she enters.
Sashi looks up from the ground where she's simultaneously following an online yoga class while listening to a Finance podcast on her phone. She mouths “Hi” from her upward dog pose as the voice rattles on about market predictions.
Meanwhile Nora removes her bra from underneath her shirt —while maintaining her grip on both pizza slices — we all have our strengths.
"Yay, you're here! I thought you'd be in the library all weekend, but I'm so glad to see you!“ Nora pauses for a bite.
Sashi shuts down her multitasking as she studies Nora’s emotional condition.
“So you haven’t seen Facebook yet?”
“Not since earlier, my phone was about to die. What’d my mom post now? I swear, if it’s another 'Throwback Thursday' to when I had a mullet…Wait a second, it’s Friday.”
“Our 10-year reunion is Thanksgiving weekend.”
The pizza falls from Nora’s mouth and lands on the ground. Five-second rule, right? While she blows it off, Sashi heads into the "kitchen," aka what they affectionately call the wall of appliances directly next to the sofa. Nora's been home less than a minute and she's one slice down. With her free hand she opens her laptop and pulls up an awaiting Bachelor episode.
“I had been saving this ep all week to watch with Chadwick, because obvi he’s secretly addicted, but jokes on him. Two can play hardball."
Sashi returns with two glasses of wine, zero desire to talk about Chadwick, and a fun idea.
“How perfect would it be if we found Romy and Michele dresses to wear to the reunion?”
"I'm not going."
Nora pauses the Men Tell All Special. “Because that's why Facebook exists. So everyone doesn't have to rub their happiness in your actual face. My view is fine here."
"So it has nothing to do with Josh? You're still feeling okay about him and... everything?"
Nora notices how tight Sashi is gripping her laptop. Something’s up. Nora snatches the laptop from her before she can protest.
Her eyes triple in size like she's just chugged a venti iced coffee before an impatient TSA officer makes her throw it out in the security line.
“JOSH GOT ENGAGED??”
Nora’s unable to look away from the People.com browser window featuring her high school sweetheart Josh embracing Caleb Jenkins, the first black Sexiest Man Alive. Seeing pictures of them together always confuses Nora — she doesn’t know who to be jealous of.
“Nora, take a deep breath. Don’t go there.” But it doesn’t matter what Sashi says, Nora’s already gone...
Prom night ten years earlier... Nora, covered in Early 2000s iridescent glitter, stands among a sea of students. Her boyfriend Josh has just been named Prom King. She and Sashi hold hands in anticipation of hearing the Prom Queen announcement.
“Sashi Hendrix!” - the name bounces around the room. Nora hugs Sashi. She’s so happy for her best friend. Everyone loves Sashi. She’s captain of the drill team, not the editor of the yearbook, of course she’d get it. It’s fine. Wonderful, even. Tonight will still be perfect. She loves Josh. He loves her. They’re going to be together forever, yes, just like Cory and Topanga.
Nora tries to get Josh’s attention on stage, but for some reason he’s staring at Tom Roggons.
Sashi shakes Nora back to present day. Nora downs her glass of wine.
“You’re right, Sashi, it’s no big deal. I mean, sure, I lost my V-Card in my high school sweetheart’s closet, and now he’s a famous actor engaged to People’s Hottest Man Alive, but I'm doing just fine too. Don’t worry about me. I’m breezy!”
Nora does a little jig — complete with jazz hands — to prove her okayness. Sashi casually checks her watch then sends a quick text to her boyfriend Brian. “Not making it back over…Nora's doing her 'I'm fine' jazz hands...”
Nora pours another glass of wine as she opens up Instagram, because of all the social platforms to scroll through while you're having a personal crisis of self-worth, that’s a great choice.
“Why hasn't anyone every proposed to me? Am I not lovable?"
"Step one: Find someone who respects you enough NOT to show up wasted at 1AM on a school night.”
“Chadwick is a good guy. He just works on a lot of client accounts that make him… go to the strip clubs... it's a lot like Mad Men.”
“I'll pretend for a sec that Chadwick is hot enough to be Don Draper, that is not Relationship Goals, Nor. You should know better by now."
“Well, sorry not all of us emerged from our Quarter Life Crisis cocoons as self-aware butterflies!"
“You could’ve chosen grad school too instead of 'finding your voice as a writer'."
“What is it they say in the Bible? She who has to worry about student loan debt shall cast the first stone?”
“And what kind of financial position will you be in when writing recaps of your failed relationships ruins your actual career? Why couldn't you just write about fashion and makeup like smart digital entrepreneurs?"
(Did we fail to mention our dear Nora has a dating blog? The Guide to Manhattan. Oh dear indeed.)
Nora flops back onto the cushions. “Whatever, Google results are like cellulite - at this point everyone has some - no one cares. Especially no one I work with. They’re all so blinded by money, it’s gross. It’s all anyone at the office ever talks about.”
“Nora, you work in Investor Relations for Big Pharma! Of course they talk about money. Stop crying about your soul dying. You need to grow up!”
Nora storms out of the room, comes back in an old sorority shirt and pajama pants. She looks about as pathetic as she feels.
Sashi tries another approach and softens to Good Cop.
“Listen, we - your mom and I - just think going to the reunion will be cathartic for you. Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone when you’re back in town. Not that I want you to leave the city, but maybe a new area code could be good for you? ”
Nora is not in the mood for their Texas propaganda right now.
“If you're going to RSVP for me, make it a plus one. Chadwick and I will be serious by fall.”
“He doesn’t own any dishes, Nora! He's incapable of commitment!”
“He’s saving water!”
“I don’t even know where you manage to find such a populated selection of bottom-feeders in this city. Is there a special app just for dating Man Children? Maybe called Ptr, as in Pan.”
Sashi tries to get Nora to laugh at her joke, but instead Nora’s eyes well up and clouds of self-pity roll across her face. Sashi comes to sit next year, draping her body around Nora's.
"I DO want to grow up," Nora whispers.
“I believe in you, Nor, whatever you want to do with yourself. But it also starts with you. You have to respect yourself before anyone else will.”
The pity party continues. “Now that Josh is off the market, it means literally everyone from our high school class is engaged but us. And all my sorority friends from college. Even my Junior League friends up here... When is it going to be my turn?”
“Why does getting married have to be the goal?” Sashi asks. “We’re better than Bed, Bath and Beyond registries.”
“Says the girl who’s going to get engaged, like, tomorrow.”
Sashi tickles her feet. Nora kicks her away.
“I’m just saying, dream bigger. Raise the stakes. You say you want to make a living as a writer, put your head down, and don’t look up until you’re there.”
Nora nods. “Yes, in theory, that sounds amazing. But what if I throw myself so hard into a new professional identity that I wake up forty and single because I never made finding love a priority? Like that client I work with, the loneliness in her voice on conference calls is heartbreaking.”
“Stop worrying, and stop comparing yourself to other people, Nora. Focus on you, set some goals for your own life, give yourself a deadline, and make something happen for yourself.”
Light bulb moment. Nora jumps up.
“You’re right. I need a deadline!"
Sashi stands too, proud her little pep talk has helped her best friend. She's going to kill it as a manager once she graduates next month and gets promoted.
“Okay, so what’s the plan? A draft of a novel by New Year’s?”
“I’m going to turn my life into a 90s Rom Com: I’m going to get engaged in time for the reunion."
Sashi doesn't know what to say. Nora continues brainstorming.
"I’ll blog about it... It’ll go viral. I’ll become a famous writer... and I’ll get a husband!"
Sashi shakes her head. Nora has officially lost it.
“Buzzfeed’s gonna break down our door to get a piece of the action. I'll be the next Brother Orange! I'm a genius!”