Life at Sloane House YMCA


Sloane House Triangle

Things changed a bit at Sloane House YMCA when Laura came to Sloane House. Who was the “bitch”, as Dawn called her. Laura was the ultimate girl who every man dreamed of: she was 5’11”, a long-legged blonde beauty from southern California. She was dead gorgeous. There weren’t a lot of girls like her at Sloane House…there weren’t a lot of girls like her anywhere. Needless to say, she attracted a lot of attention. I even sensed some jealousy from my culturally-enriched French girls.

There was a compelling reason why Dawn didn’t like Laura: Laura “stole” her boy friend Talla, according to her. But nobody at Sloane House believed this was the case. Talla quickly had a change of heart when he laid his eyes on Laura. You could sense there was a silent race among the students at Sloane House for Laura.

Laura was astonishingly beautiful and you wondered why in the world she worked at Sloane House. She could get any job anywhere! Mr. McAfee walked to the counter and pointing to Laura half jokingly said to me: “Peter, I want you keep an eye on Laura for me. Make sure don’t let the boys near her.” Laura was a daughter of Mr. McAfee’s friend. She worked part time at Hospitality Center so she could stay at Sloane House for free. People treated her like she was the Princess of Sloane House and she acted like she was. She has a sense of entitlement. I am sure we all have seen one, or more in our lives. Hence she didn't have friends, or a friend. We got along well. Whenever she was behind the counter, every male friend of mine in Sloane House would come to the front desk, pretending to have a chat with me, just so they could get closer to Laura. Who could blame them? In that regard, Talla had a huge advantage. He would stop by every day. Soon enough, Talla and Laura hooked up. Talla was the envy among Sloane House male population. When he and Laura stood next to each other, it was beauty and beast up close. That broke Dawn’s heart. Whenever she saw Talla and Laura hanged out at Club34, Dawn would make a quick exit.

One day I was doing laundry in the basement. The laundry room was “L” shaped. I always chose the one load at the short end. It had more room to spread out my laundry and the wall provided some privacy. Dawn came down to talk to me. It was more like tracking me down. She hadn’t been at the lounge much lately, to avoid unpleasant scene I guess. So I knew she wanted to talk to me badly. She sure did not waste any time and began venting about Talla and how suddenly he stopped seeing her because of Laura. I did not mind listening to her complaining. Because doing laundry was the least favorite thing I like to do. Having someone kept me company in the laundry room was better than alone. 2 hours later, after I finished my laundry. Dawn left and I was ready to go to bed. There was a knock on my door. It was Laura. She looked very serious and I couldn’t tell what was going on. She told me she heard every word of my conversation with Dawn in the laundry room. I was surprised and wondering how she could hear my conversation. She told me she was doing her laundry at the other side of the laundry room where neither Dawn nor I could see her. I felt I was living in a soap - Sloane House Style. I was embarrassed and shocked at the same time that she would eavesdrop on me. Thank goodness I didn’t say anything stupid. She was furious about Talla and questioned me the nature of Talla’s relationship with Dawn. I wanted to protect my friend so I answered her with bunch of bull. She left half an hour later. I warned Talla about my conversation with Laura as soon as he got back. No drama afterwards. Laura continued seeing Talla after that night, until she met a wealthier person while working as a make-up consultant at Herald Square Macy’s. A smart blonde!

Short-lived fairytale of beauty and beast played a joke on Talla. It was his turn to have a broken heart. It was brutal to see how Talla tried to hang on with hope that someday Laura would come back. He dragged me to Macy's where she worked almost everyday, hoping he would see her. By the time Talla realized his hope was just a wishful thinking, he went back to Dawn. But Dawn already moved on, seeing a young art student living on the 5th floor. Talla, on the other hand, did not waste his time either.


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