What do you get when you match up an Orthodox Jewish New Yorker with a Southerner from the Bible Belt? A struggle that burns so hot that they recognize love is worth overcoming their differences. After things begin to untangle, Zev and Chris must fight against all odds or else risk Zev living a loveless life, a life of lies, while Chris mourns letting the love of his life slip away. Can they adapt to the other’s traditions or will cultural limitations and family strictures win out over love?
Chris and Zev meet at the iconic steps of the Metropolitan Museum made famous by the Gossip Girls and experience a life no less dramatic than those young women, men and their families. DIFFERENCES = romance + love story. There are no one-dimensional secondary characters as every one of them is painted with a full palette.
I’d been doing my evening laps around the Central Park reservoir, taking advantage of the fall weather. It was still warm but a lot less humid than it had been. And, as my roommates had been reminding me, I’d been using the summer weather long enough as an excuse not to get out here. If I was gonna do the triathlon with them I’d better get in shape or risk being humiliated by those two overly competitive guys.
I liked to run at dusk when, in stark contrast to this lush environment, the City’s skyscrapers began lighting up around the park. And, in winter, it was an even more exciting tableau with the snow blanketing the ground and icicles decorating the trees. Though, then one didn’t have the extra added pleasure of seeing men in the most abbreviated outfits and too much about them had to be left to the fantasies of my imagination.
I finished my workout with a cool-down and then did my stretching against the railing on the pedestrian bridge over the bridle path. My unwinding was not unnoticed by several good looking guys who shot me approving glances as they crossed the bridge as well as a few more looking up from the path below. This never surprised me: I was far from bad looking with my dirty blond sun-streaked hair and damn good body, and gay guys in New York were always on the lookout for new hookups. But I felt too tired to act on it. This being Manhattan, all that would always be available. Some of these men had cruised me before so I acknowledged them with a smile, knowing they’d be back here. I didn’t want to appear too easy – or, God forbid, desperate.
I exited the park and sat on a bench on Fifth Avenue, near the steps of the Metropolitan, famous even to anyone who’d never been to the Big Apple, but had seen the über-bitches-in-training on Gossip Girl. It was just across the street from the long solid wall of luxury residential buildings filled with multi-million dollar co-op apartments, broken only by the Guggenheim, the Frick and a couple of other museums and a few old mansions. Most of those long since taken over from wealthy families by institutions or foreign consulates.
Watching life go by was my reward after exercising. I listened to my music and observed the passing scene as people stopped to look over the work of artists who set up their stalls every day by the museum, and tourists threw coins in the gurgling fountains surrounding the building’s steps.
As I was sipping from my bottle of water, a fine-looking young guy in a suit and tie, wearing one of those Jewish beanie things approached the bench.
“Hi.” He had the most dazzling smile.
I removed my ear buds and returned the friendly greeting.
“Can I sit down here?” he asked.
“Sure.” I smiled my most seductive smile. “I don’t own this bench.” Even if I did he still wouldn’t need permission. I would have even been tempted to ask him to.
He unbuttoned his jacket. The suit showed off a great chest and shoulders. He extended his hand as he sat down. “Zev.”