Monday, August 31, 2009
Look before you leap. Sound advice for anyone. But what if you cannot look ahead? What if there is a mist, shrouding the path? How do you decide whether to take a step in one direction or the other when both are equally hidden in the billowing fog? A step in one direction could either lead me onwards and upwards or plunge me into a ditch where I would find myself in over my head. A step in the other direction could either be one of safety and cautiousness or one that eventually ends up retarding my progress. How do you pick? How do you decide? At what point do you make a leap of faith when you cannot look ahead?At what point do you decide to take the next step, and when is it more appropriate to rein things in, and say: not yet?
Sunday, August 30, 2009
But at the end of this lovely week unfortunately and unwillingly I thought: I am not the only one who ever fished and tubed and read and relaxed and ate and laughed with them. I wasn't the first. I am not the only.
People have pasts. They move on. Stop thinking about that so much. I know. I know. S is right, I should remember I'm the present. This is the present. But it nags at me once in a blue moon. At the back of my mind is that little bleating thought.
If I can compare him to that tall dark and handsome hero of my dreams, that unseen unknown prince charming of my imagination, how much more immediate a comparison with a real being. A woman who lived and breathed. Still lives and breathes. Real memories powerful with the gloss of time.
It doesn't matter. Not, apparently, to him. In fact, I'm not entirely certain it matters to me either. But sometimes...you just can't help but wonder, can you?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
The city races, its veins coursing with passionate, driven people. The most renowned fashion editor in the world. The most esteemed real estate mogul. The flawless runway models. The Wall Street tycoons. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice love, health, and happiness for success, better move to Topeka. The pressure to be great is staggering.
My father stares at me with a face so similar to my own, eyes blank. “How are you going to pay for this?”
“What? I don’t know, loans?” He nods, raises his eye brows. Yeah, right, Lauren. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
We get up to leave the lunch table and he mentions a golf event we should attend next August.
“I won’t be here,” I remind him.
“Why not?” I glare. “Oh right, you’ll be in San Francisco.”
I have come to abhor New York City for so many reasons but in the last five years it has taught me well. See something, go after it. Find a way. Get a second job. Take a chance. Risk everything you have because at this point, everything you have isn’t a whole lot.
"Maybe you'll go to Irish Culinary School." It isn't a hopeful suggestion. It's a crack at my previous plans to move to Ireland. Another pipe dream that turned out to be exactly that.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Why didn't I put on something less I-just-got-off-the-bus-from-New-York? Me in Toms, carting around an obnoxiously bright pink duffel bag; him pulling off his polka-dotted tie. Granted, he had had his first day of work, and I was coming from the aforementioned bus but... should I have made a more conscious effort? (Was this a date?)
Did I talk too much? Laugh too loudly? At times my enthusiasm can be too in your face... did he remark it as such? What does one talk about on these things anyway? (Was this a date?)
Was it ok that I paid? I was the one that offered to take him out for a celebratory first day drink... when he put down his credit card to split the bill, was he trying to give me a signal? Why then did he graciously accept my gesture? (Was this a date?)
Did I really vaguely salute him as a goodbye on the metro? Why didn't I go for the hug? The kiss on the cheek? The kiss? Why didn't he? Our giant hello hug lingered. (Was this a date?)
He is in my city. And so it begins.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Crushes are all the same. Distracted by daydreams, thoughts swarming of what it could be like.. what it would be like, if only.. If only I could have what I want. I always do this to myself, I let the projected image carry me away and seduce my affections.
See.. there is this dress. Bottega Veneta Spring 2007. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her in the pages of Vogue. She was sweet and sexy, pale pink the color of summer, peasant accents; I needed her then and I dream of her even now. As I plan my Marie Antoinette themed birthday picnic I envision myself only in this dress. She haunts me as if she is the only dress that will fit this occasion; the only dress that will give me that girlish twirl. The torture is ceaseless because nothing else ever measures up.
This is my life. I develop an intense crush on a concept or a piece and I know if I could just try it on, if I would only try it on, if I could just find what I am looking for, all of my lustful illusions would dissipate. However, it is only a figure of my imagination and will therefore live on to torture me through eternity. This is my relationship with style and fashion and this will probably never change.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick...silence. I took out the batteries. Crick Crick Crick Crick. Can't stop the crickets.
I get out of bed, I walk around the house. If only I lived in an old and mysterious castle, I'd hobnob with the ghosts.
And deep inside I see it. Curled up into a little ball. Inside my very insides. Soft and deep and dense. Small yet. But there, every day, there, making its presence felt. I catch my breath sometimes on this little misty ball of dissatisfaction. I try to ignore it. I will it away. I put a gloss of happy on it. And still it sits, deep, there, inside me.
I stare up at the ceiling in the darkness. Finally I let my mind wander where I'm afraid to let it go. Maybe making a list of everything keeping me awake at night will help. Maybe I can make a counter list to remind myself of everything that goes into the happy gloss.
I wake up.
I have breakfast.
I catch my breath.
And I know it hasn't gone away.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Look at me dreaming of you
All I could hope is to have you
To have you walking with me
Laughing so in love, we two
I did imbibe of this
Fantasy of you and me
Was I a fool to think?
The way you looked at me
I swear you did
But you looked away too quick
Was I a fool, was I a fool to think
That you would take me home
As if I was yours
Was I a fool to think at all?
Checking flights to Seattle daily. Considering spending $300 that I don’t have. Texting sweet things while I should be working. Rush of blood to the face at every message. Whole nights spent thinking about how lovely it will be when we’re finally together. And then the doubt seeps in… am I fool? Am I a fool to think at all?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
A couple days later, while in Chicago en route to a family wedding in Iowa, he sent me the photo at left signed "Chip-wichfully yours, P."
When I opened the email at work the next morning, I gasped, shook my head in disbelief, and laughed to myself. Could he be any more thoughtful? adorable? sweet?
He moves here in a week. I guess I will just have to wait and see.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The spark. The chemistry. The connection. It screws me every time. With E. it forced me to pretend his relationship with his ex-girlfriend didn’t bother me. With J.C. it pushed me into believing that he’d want a relationship eventually, even though he told me flat out he didn’t. With J. I overlooked his blatant lack of interest in my personal life because of it. How far am I willing to go for this apparent spark?
It is currently forcing me away from “real life” guys… the Long Distance Crush. When my phone rang on Tuesday night and my caller ID announced his name, my heart ‘duh-dunk’ed straight past my lungs and out through my rib cage. Texts, Facebook messages, yes. Phone calls? Never. For a millisecond I considered letting it go to voicemail. And then I answered. “Heeey,” I cooed happily. “What are you doing?”
We talked about the weekend, about his potential layoff, about moving to California, and about everything in between. After an hour he finally announced that he should probably go. “I’ll talk to you later, though,” he promised. I hung up and collapsed face first on my bed… grumbled out loud, “Oh God, this is bad.”
The spark. I felt it with the LDC two years ago and this weekend the spark turned into a tiny little flame. Birthday candle sized. With the phone call he fed the flame enough to turn it into a campfire. And now what? Was I supposed to continue on with this painful non-relationship and ignore the men in my life who could actually take me out to dinner and cuddle with me on the couch? These men who have all of the skills but none of the sparkle? I have never known how far to go for this feeling… maybe I never will.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"Haha, yea, I know, next time."
"Yea, without my approval no marrying any boys no matter how great they are!"
"Marrying?! Who said anything about marrying?"
"Um. I'm thinking of asking him to come with me next time so he can meet my friends and family here, but..."
"So - you're not getting married?"
"No! I mean, I don't know, who knows. I haven't thought about it. We haven't thought about it. It's too soon. I mean, I don't want to think of it yet."
"Oh. But. But then?"
"What do you mean 'but then'?"
"Well no, I mean, I just thought...since you're meeting each other's families and stuff. You're thinking of bringing him half-way across the world to see your home, meet everyone. You're going on vacation with his family..."
"Yea but I mean..."
"No, I mean, I just wondered. I mean, I thought you guys were serious."
"Yes, we are, of course, but just. I mean. Well in any case who has the time to think of all these things, I can barely take responsibility for myself, let alone a whole marriage! Forget about it! Haha, let's get my sister married off first, and what about YOU, Miss-I-don't-like-anyone! Let's get you married off first!"
I laughed, we joked about how her uber-conservative slightly cross-eyed neighbor would be the perfect match. Swine flu is taking over the world, the rains weren't enough this year, her upcoming trip.
I have no answers to her questions. She doesn't see the point of dating if you're not going towards a goal: namely, marriage. I don't see how you can make that goal unless you're with someone for a while.
We never finished that conversation.
Monday, August 10, 2009
“I remember the first time I met you.” Few lines resonate in me the way this one does. He remembers. He remembers me. He remembers me before I thought twice about him.
The long distance crush. Six months later, only our second meeting. He put his hand on my lower back and it was like shouting out loud in an empty warehouse, “I like you!” The tiniest gesture that had the greatest meaning.
Three months later, a Facebook message. “I’m kinda upset we never hooked up.” Blunt, juvenile, intoxicated. And the follow up: “Hey, sorry about that drunken Facebook.” I shouldn’t have been flattered but I was. This unspoken attraction that had been going on for almost a year was now vocalized. Pinwheels spun inside my chest.
And then began the downward spiral. He sent messages every once in awhile, asking how I was and what I was doing. The next time I saw him was a year and a half after our initial meeting and his new girlfriend joined him at the New Year’s party. Despite the other woman, he sought me out to ask when I was moving to Seattle, to put his number in my phone (“for when I’m in New York next time”), to make it clear once more that he was interested. Cue pinwheels.
By the time I left Seattle, the first month of 2009, I knew this was someone who wouldn’t disappear from my life so easily. And then began the texts. Late at night, in the middle of the afternoon, first thing in the morning. To say hi, to ask about the New York weather, to tell me he was thinking about me. We started e-mailing so we could write in more detail about what we were going through in our jobs, in our families, in our lives. From physical attraction to sincere friendship. Then he planned his trip to New York and told me he couldn’t wait to see me. He started texting me every day to remind me that the day was getting closer.
He arrived in town, staying with our mutual friend. While everyone suspected she was in love with him, she denied it and denied it, over and over again. “Does it bother you that he and I keep in touch?” I asked her once. She assured me it didn’t. I was giddy to see him. I felt his eyes on me at the bar and caught his smile from across the table. Two years of waiting for this moment and it was closing in on me like a hurricane.
Friday night. At the bar. He kissed me. Finally. Two years in the making. It was perfect. He told her he wanted to leave with me, that he liked me. She started to cry. “What?” he asked. “Why?” “Because,” she answered. “I like you.”
And you know what they say about the best laid plans…
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Slink down in sticky movie seats, gnoshing on popcorn, completely at ease when the kernels tumble down my shirt. He couldn’t care less.
With every reach for the popcorn tub my arm brushes his. Does he notice? He must notice. On purpose? On purpose. He makes no motion to move the tub closer to me. Skin on skin. The touch barrier broken. The second date.
“That was a great movie.”
“I know, I loved it.”
“She was horrible. So selfish.”
“Eh… she was just being honest.”
The short walk home. He should go left but takes the right, walking alongside me without being asked. Face to face. Leaning in. The first kiss. Turning away, walking up the stairs, opening the door, and grinning all the way.