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I was finishing up work on Friday when I got a text from one of my good friends, GF: “Want to go to a birthday party for my friend B tonight?”

I’d never met B, but I love an impromptu party. I responded to my last email, shut my laptop and made my way to Brooklyn.

B, an aspiring artist, lived in a two-story brownstone that he’d completely redone: The walls were vibrant with fresh, dark paint, the molding contrasting in white, the hardwood floors polished. I went upstairs—when was the last time I’d gone upstairs in someone’s home? I wondered.

The bedroom had amazing sunlight, perfectly lighting a collection of paintings selling for $200 to $500, a sea of abstract blues sweeping across plain canvases. “I just can’t stand my 9-5 anymore,” B said, shaking his head. “This is what I want to be doing with my life.”

Downstairs, I made friends with the only straight boy at the party, an aspiring illustrator. We gathered in the kitchen (why is it that the party always ends up gathering in the kitchen?) and talked about illustration and of publishing. We’d both moved to New York years ago to pursue our art, and now, a little jaded but still fighting, we clung to any work we could get.

I wandered outside (two stories AND a backyard!) and found a small group smoking a joint. Without a word, they held it out to me. Fifteen minutes later, I speculated on fucking an ice cream cake: “If you fucked an ice cream cake, would you rather it be the cake on the inside, or the ice cream?”

Nobody asked why I was fucking an ice cream cake, but someone said, “The cake should be on the inside, so the tip of your penis isn’t in the cold ice cream.” Genius.

A few drinks later, I wandered back into the gallery, mostly to make sure my bag was still intact. It was, so I sat next to a tall, blond boy, hair just as fake as mine, and listened to his conversation with an energetic brunette in a little black dress.

“Tomorrow will be the first time I’ve hosted a brunch,” he continued as I sat down.

“Is it for 8 or 10?” She asked. “That’s really important; you need to make sure you have enough sets of silverware. Number one thing people forget about when hosting brunch.” Floating in my own world, I listened to them talk about cutlery, not interjecting a word but occasionally nodding for support—and taking hits of the joint they passed around.

I thought of everyone there, full of aspiring, creative 20-somethings. Would any of us make it? Were we chasing empty dreams? Did he have enough silverware for his brunch?

I hope we make it. Sometimes it’s the hope that gets us there.

Realizing I should go home and write something, I picked up my backpack, waved a few goodbyes and wandered into the hot, sticky night, already dreaming of paintings and illustrations and cutlery.

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