A Dream Deferred

Sep 27, 2022 by Karen Janowsky
So, I didn't win the drawing to meet Chris Evans. I totally had a plan, and it wasn't to literally take a picture with him, then go watch the movie premier by myself. Alas, some unworthy other person won. My middle school friend (also named Karen) assured me that I'd have made much better arm candy, and he'd have been smitten within a few moments. A chance to meet Ryan Gosling was thrown into the drawing at the last minute, and too many other people decided to enter. Thus, the incredible odds of me winning were diminished greatly. I'm not bitter (sniff).  Anyway, I wrote out the two scenarios that could have happened had I won, which I should have.

Okay, fine, I'm a little bitter. I’m pouring my bitter disappointment into a brief play with two scenes. Let us open the curtains for Sour Grapes Theater. I fully expect a Tony nomination out of this:

ACT 1 (what likely would have happened):
Scene: Red carpet outside the fancy schmancy theater where the screening takes place; Karen is brought over to Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling (Sigh. He was the third wheel for the prize, so I’d have had to share Chris with him).
Chris and Ryan: (Action: Chris reaches out to shake hands.) It’s nice to meet you um (peeks at my i.d. badge/pass), Karen.
Karen: (Action: Extends hand, which is shaking so hard both men have a hard time grabbing it. When Ryan does, I’m looking at Chris, which causes me to trip over my own feet (while standing still), knocking Ryan into Chris. I fall on my ass). Oh my god, I’m so sorry. I mean um, nice to meet you too.
Chris: (Helps me up.) Are you okay?
Me: Oh, yes. Thanks. How are you today? I mean, I’ll be fine. Hi, I’m Karen. Nice to meet you.
Both men: (Stare at me, probably wondering if I’ve been drinking—I haven’t been—yet)
[Press begins to shout questions as selfies with both actors commence, as per drawing prize. It lasts about 10 minutes. I look like a startled squirrel in all the shots, which are plastered all over the internet within the hour].
Chris: Well, I hope you enjoy the movie.
Ryan: Have fun. Have a safe trip home.
Me: (I grab a very large glass of wine. Then I'm led by security into theater, where I watch movie all by myself . The prize never said the winner got to watch the movie WITH the actors; only that the winner got to watch the movie. I am under the impression that the winner isn’t supposed to be within groping distance of Chris or Ryan. I mean, really, Chris surely wouldn't be able to keep his hands to himself, and I'd never get to see more than a couple of scenes of The Gray Man. I'm sure that's why I'd have to watch companionless--see ACT 2. I drown out my embarassment by chugging my wine in a few big swallows. Before the movie starts, I run into the ladies’ room, barely avoiding puking on Ana De Armas’ shoes before I make it to a stall.)

ACT 2 (How I imagined things would happen): I am brought to Chris for introductions as he gets out of the car he’s arrived in. Miraculously, Ryan Gosling had a last-minute thing, as did Ana De Armas, so it’s just the two of us. Although, Rege Jean Page happens to be around and spends some time chatting as well, in a side scene.
Chris (smiling): It’s so good to finally meet you. I’ve been looking forward to it. I saw your profile on Facebook (he’s not on FB, but whatever, this is my fantasy, dammit), and I just had to read all your books. They’re amazing! (he doesn’t make the connection between the main character in the superhero romance books and the uncanny resemblance to himself).
Me: Thank you so much, that’s so kind of you!
[press, posing for pictures, etc. He’s got his arm around me and is leaning in so I can hear him for one of the shots. The picture looks like he’s totally into me. I look fabulous. I’m also about 15 years younger in this version of events, by the way. It spreads like wildfire all over the Internet in seconds, and every woman in the world understands they need to back off him now].
Chris (holding his arm out for me): Let’s go find us a seat (finds seats): I’m gonna go grab drinks. You like chardonnay, right?
Me: You remembered (yes we just met, but again, this is my fantasy)!
[Watches movie with his arm draped over my seat the whole time. Movie ends]
Chris: I wish there were an after party. I would really like to have spent more time with you (looks genuinely disappointed). Let me at least drop you back at your hotel. [arrives at hotel. The whole trip should have taken about 20 minutes, but it takes 2 hours because it’s L.A. traffic. Fantastic conversation happens easily the first hour. We're making out by the start of the second hour]. I wish the evening didn't have to end.
Me: I’m sorry for the evening to end, too [I am so freakin' cool, calm, and collected in this version of events, at least in front of him]
Chris: How about this? Let’s have dinner. If you don’t mind, I’ve got stuff we can make back at my place. That way we won’t have to be interrupted by photographers or fans. What do you think about grabbing your stuff from your room and checking out? You can stay in my guest room, and I’ll take you to the airport myself in the morning?
Me [does best not to run at top speed into the hotel, stuff my things into my duffel bag, check out by phone, and get back into car with him].
We have dinner. I do not spend the night in a guest room (d'uh). We change my flight to forty-eight hours later. I leave with us having exchanged phone numbers. A few months after seeing each other exclusively, we get married (sorry, real husband, who I swear I love lots and lots).