Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Facts and Figures

I take all the signs and I add them up and I see what’s left. It’s like baking a cake without a recipe using whatever I have in the cupboard and hoping it comes out edible.

We don’t talk every day like we used to. I watch the little green icon next to his name on Gchat but no message box pops up. I send texts at midnight on Saturday, telling him that there are some girls from Seattle at the party I’m at. No response. “Where ARE you?” I try again. He answers, “Soooo high. Passing out.” It is infuriating.

But then there are the other signs. On a random Saturday afternoon he texts me about a delicious sandwich he just had for lunch. “What are you up to?” he asks. I tell him I’m about to pass the time playing beer pong with a friend. “Don’t judge me,” I tease. He writes back, “Remember the first time I met you? It was your birthday and we played beer pong and I sunk every cup and we won. And then you dipped out to your ex b.f.’s.” It’s the same story he brings up all the time.

Last week he called, and I missed it. “I’m at a movie – will you be around later?” He answered that he’d be busy making sushi with some friends. He called on his walk home from work when he had a free five minutes, the negative side of me said. And the positive side answered, But he called.

Things are not the same. I don’t get the 3AM, “Come oooover” texts anymore. Part of the reason things are different is because I feel different. I am so preoccupied with finding a new job, moving across the country, and dealing with drama on the home front that to occupy myself with him, too, is exhausting. I want to push him away until I can really pull him in. As much as he doesn’t message me, I don’t message him, either. It’s too much work.

For every point in the plus column, there is one in the negative. For every text sent there is one unanswered. I just have to believe that it’ll all even out in the end.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Punch drunk love...of a different era

Maybe some day my children can write my parents' story. I am too close to it, to heavily involved; my emotions and relationship with them colors my perception. I don't think I'd give it a fair shake, to tell you the truth. The story changes in my head each day. When I am angry at my parents, the story takes on ominous and treacherous blue and black tones. When things are going well, suddenly all is sublimely rosy. And so I don't tell it, because I don't trust my own moods. It is astounding how the same story can change in the telling depending on the teller at the moment of telling.

So whose story can I tell? Perhaps best to tell a story that has already ended. At least there's no need to leave the ending open then.

Even today she urges everyone around the table to eat, to take another helping, before she'll help herself. She hovers, waiting for a spot on someone's plate to look slightly empty, as she jumps up quickly and offers more. Her table is always overflowing; even if she ate three helpings before anyone else we wouldn't know the difference. But she never does. "I had to take care of the others. I was the oldest, how would the little ones eat properly if I didn't watch over them? Our mother was dead, who would take care of things?"Those days of making do and scraping are gone, but she's still taking care of us.

She lived with her aunt then. Her father started a new life with a second wife, and although everyone got along just fine, there just wasn't enough room. It was a boon, she says. Her father would never have let her stay in school. Her aunt was a school teacher; she became a prefect. I imagine her bubbly and vivacious, but with a hint of care at the corner of her lip. Hair braided neatly, a ready smile.

One day her aunt took her to a friend's house to meet the friend's brothers in law. They waited around and made small talk, but nobody showed up. They walked around thinking they'd meet them here, then there, but nothing.

Another afternoon they found themselves there again. "In our house playing with cards was such a sin! And there they were, all the brothers just gambling!" But snacks followed, and tea. And her aunt left. And her aunt's friend left. And slowly the brothers left. The tea grew cold and the crumbs stiff on their plate.

"Suddenly it was getting to be evening! I felt so embarrassed! How could I have sat there talking so much? I don't even know what we talked about! Who knows when the rest of them left. Oh dear, I didn't know how we came to just sit there talking!"

He walked her home in the dusk.

The next day someone at school asked her "so I hear you might be getting married?" She shuffled her feet, her cheeks warm. News spreads quickly in a small town.

She met his family, they approved instantly. She quaked then, as she realized her father was coming to town the week after and didn't have a clue. Twisting his arm, she bribed her brother to tell him. "How could I tell him myself! What would he say - you've gone and arranged your own marriage!"

But what about school? What about college? She was only sixteen. Would all those enticing books remain closed to her now? "I was lucky. I got a husband who wanted me to learn. I went to college. I was so lucky."

They lived in two rooms: 3 brothers and 2 wives. Those weren't the days of affording personal space. "We were all brothers and sisters then, it was fun" she says as I cringe at the horror of sharing a bathroom with three boys. "We'd have so much fun, all five of us - it was awkward of course, sometimes, but we made it work."

They made it work.

Four daughters and eight granddaughters later, they sat on the balcony one evening, sipping some tea. "I'm happy," he said, as he held her hand. They were still talking forever into the dusk.

The next day he died.

Her smile is only half real these days. The sparkle in her eyes is almost a reflection now, of what what was once a brilliant fire. Her lips turn down when nobody is looking. She stays alone in her own place now; there's personal space to spare.

Maybe I shouldn't call it a story that has ended. Just one where the keeper is left alone, watchful, into the dark of night, with only memories now to hold her hand.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Calm during the storm

My dad asked me to fill out the census.

Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else?

I let out a short laugh. Oh, the irony of it all.

I found out my mom and a suitcase had left our house during a work trip, specifically in a wine bar in New Orleans. I rejoined the group of Europeans and attempted to make small talk, while the tears welled in my eyes. Politely excusing myself, I made my way to the bathroom and called him (first, again). Stammering, sobbing, incoherent.

She has been with my grandma for a week, and I am now more frustrated than upset. Careless and haphazard are the two words I use to describe the situation. Still, my mind reels with questions ... what is my role in this mess? will she ever come back? what of my future? will we ever be "the same"? Yet, in spite of this black hole of uncertainty, one aspect of my life is stable.

When I come over for coffee before work, he has a latte and pain au chocolat waiting for me; when I wear long white socks under my boots, he teases me; and when he asks if I want to talk about it and I say no, he leaves me be. We discuss health care legislation, hang out with mutual friends, and make love. Ours is an island of peace.

One day not too long ago, I apologized for the black cloud over our very new relationship, for dragging him into my misery. Without hesitation he responded: "It's part of the deal, no?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Punch Drunk Love

She sat at the bar with another single friend, glancing around the dingy place with annoyance. She was almost twenty-six years old and so over the bar scene, but Suzanne had begged her and so she went. Two men approached them, one flirted with Suzanne and the wing man entertained her friend. But he was drunk. He was too drunk to be focused, interested, attentive. He asked her out for lunch the next day and she said yes, even though she assumed he was just another jerk from a bar. She’d met them all before.

She sat at a table by herself the next day, waiting patiently for him to arrive for lunch. He walked into the restaurant, looked around. Looked around again. Looked right at her, and then scanned the room once more. She glared daggers at him and in her iciest tone asked, “Looking for someone?” He’d been too intoxicated at the bar to remember what she looked like.

Lunch progressed and against all odds, they got along. He was the opposite of the typical guy she dated; he was all straight and narrow, neckties with perfect knots, a well-spoken History major who arrived in a VW Beetle instead of on a motorcycle. He told her he had tickets to the ballet, even though he didn’t, and asked if she’d like to go. She hated the ballet but agreed to go anyway. There was something about him that she liked.

A year and three months later they were married, and thirty-one years later they are my parents; all because of a drunken encounter at a bar.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Just for me

I had this discussion with S once. Late into the Parisian night we sat in a cozy cafe, its walls lined with books. Candle light flickering between us. I sipped my glass of wine, she wrapped her hands around the warm cup of grog. A salted almond, delightfully sharp on my tongue, then mild.

Name one thing that you've ever done, ever, that has been all about yourself, where you haven't taken a single other person into consideration? Just one decision that's been only and all for you?

One flat second and S had her answer.

I leaned back in my chair, slightly, absurdly, bewildered. I had uttered the question in the course of conversation, not really realizing its import. But her response made me pause. Did I have my own answer? Did I have at least one such decision? One such action?

I said no to her then.

And weeks later I am still racking my brain. Because it can't possibly be true, that I have never done any one thing purely and solely for myself. I'm not talking about the mid-afternoon nap or the rebellious hot chocolate date with myself instead of class. I'm talking about something real. Something impactful. Something that stays with me. Something I can almost hold in my hands, the memory of which is tangible and solid in my mind. How can it be that I have never done something like that with only myself to consider?

I am not selfless. I am not the kind of person who doesn't mind if her boyfriend munches up the last piece of chocolate when I've been looking forward to letting it melt on my tongue accompanied by some tea. I am not, in my own estimation, one of the more considerate people I know.

But apparently I have never done a single thing in my life without considering the impact of that action, of that decision, on at least one other person. Apparently I have never actually made any decision absolutely and utterly for myself and none other. What does that make me? What does that say about "my" life decisions?

So now I sit here, an unfinished take-home exam in front of me, a melancholy song playing wiltingly in the background, wondering how I can do something that is only for myself.

And I can't come up with a single thing.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go get myself a cup of hot chocolate.

Why Not Me

This weekend I went to spend some time with my best friend. She was my very first best friend, the one who packed a bag full of books and stuffed animals and “ran away” with me when I got mad at my mom, the one whose house I ate dinner at almost as much as my own. She is the one who knew me from diapers to braces to crutches to heartbreak. There were times when we drifted, but then we grew up and drifted back together again. We only live three hours apart now but we don’t talk as much as we should. I drove up to Albany on Friday, mostly to visit her and catch up, but also to get to know her boyfriend, the one she tells me she’ll marry someday soon.

My last morning in Albany, over far too much breakfast meat, I regaled her with stories of the men in my life. It almost seemed trite. She’s been dating her boyfriend for almost two years, living with him for six months. And here I was, whining about a first date gone wrong or a crush I had on someone in another state.

But then I remembered why she is my best friend, why I tell her any of this in the first place, and why I will continue to seek her advice long after our own kids are packing their stuffed animals and heading for the next block.

“It’s weird,” I said. “Even though you know the relationship wasn’t right, you know you weren’t meant to be together, you still watch him with someone new and you think, ‘Why not me?’”
“But then you meet the right person,” she said calmly. “And you’ll be completely over everything that happened to you in the past, and you’ll be happy again, and then that Ex will look at you and think, ‘Why not me?’”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Old habits die hard.

We were at a party, and something wasn't quite right.

"Are you upset with me?"
"No. Don't worry about it."

He wasn't the least bit convincing, so I pushed.

"Are you irked at me?"
"Eh... not irked..."
"Are you miffed at me?"
"Yeah, miffed. I would say so."

I asked, even though I kind of already knew.

Remember this?

Maybe I shouldn't have invited my friend who maybe possibly has a thing for me. (But we are so clearly friends! And he's seeing someone now!) Maybe I should've told the middle school boyfriend that A and I are together before he got there. (But we aren't anything anymore! And he totally has a man crush on you!)

Before A, I'd been single for nearly three years... I'm allowed an adjustment period, no?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here's an idea...

The best of intentions and the worst of effects

You know you should apply for a job in...
You know what you should do, you should apply for internships in...
But why don't you apply for this...
Oh you know what, you could work for...
Have you looked at jobs in...

I'm sure you'll find something, I absolutely know it
I feel it in my bones, you're definitely going to find something
Oh stop it, you're 100% going to get something wonderful
Just watch, you'll get something amazing!
I'm sure it's going to be fine, you should stop stressing about...

I know they're meant to comfort and to encourage. And I know I say them too. I know they come with the best intentions. And I know they're out of concern. I've uttered these words multiple times to multiple people myself.

But I'm going to stop.

Because whenever someone says these things, I may smile and nod, but in my mind I have but one response:
Just shut the f*** up.

Now let me just go and crawl into my little hole and wither away to dust.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And a rovin', a rovin', a rovin' I'll go...

Me (in blue jeans, blue shirt) and my study abroad group on the Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland

I’m not sure how a place can have your heart, but Ireland has mine. And not because St. Patrick’s Day mirrors any of the qualities that I love about the place (except, of course, for the Irish people’s affinity for drink), but I felt like it was my duty to post today in honor of the Emerald Isle and my deep affection for it.


Monday, March 15, 2010

It Is Finished

I cannot begin to ask the questions why. They’ve already been asked and there is no answer…something just wasn’t right. He was so kind to me. The gifts he gave me I will always cherish. I told him it’d be hard to ever date again, because he’d set such a high standard for me. How he’d accompany me home on the subway, all the way up uptown, and if not he’d pay for a cab. He sent me flowers to Scotland, the poems the songs the music he gifted me. His witty and engaging e-mails every morning and every night, I will miss them every day. Amongst all of the things he blessed me with, the greatest gift was the way he saw me. He did not subjectify me, which so many do.. he truly saw me for who I was and dug to find out more. The random nooks and crannies of my personality he cherished even the parts of me that confused him and caught him off guard. There is something so right about him and just not right about us. I cannot put my finger on it nor discern the reason.

We had the discussion last night. Something in me feels remorse, yet settled. We hunkered over candles at our favorite French cafĂ©. We broke the fast with a glass of wine. We stared at each other with painful stares, we reminisced and I told him all the ways he’s impacted me. He told me he wasn’t a great friend and probably wouldn’t be in contact for a while. We spoke of all the things we never said and he prayed blessings over me before we parted. With tears in my eyes and pain hidden behind his, we hugged in the rain as he put me in a cab. It is finished.

More friends tying that knot

Another friend is engaged. That's three close friends in the past three months who have decided to take that leap - and made it official. I've been the mental equivalent of a five-year-old who sticks her fingers in her ears and stamps her foot, yelling "Stoppit stoppit stoppit!" but it may be time to change my tune. Maybe I should take this as a clue: we're no longer 'too young' or 'not old enough'.

There is more to this. I don't have the time, nor do I have the energy, to think and organize and write about it just now. But there is more to this than just another diamond on another friend's finger.

Friday, March 12, 2010

When It Don't Come Easy

I had had too much to drink. I attended a swanky St. Patrick’s Day party at Cipriani and the quality champagne was flowing and the Irish men were so charming and I let one of them walk me to a cab and kiss me goodnight. I should’ve just gone home and let the lovely memories of the evening and the champagne bubbles carry me to sleep.

But I didn’t. I texted the LDC. He wrote back immediately and when I asked what he was doing he said he was at a basketball game. It was nothing out of the ordinary. But when I said, “I should stop texting before I say something I regret”, he wrote back, “Okay, have a good night.” And because of the champagne and the Irishman and the ache in my bones when I think about the LDC, I lost it. I cried and buried my face in the pillow and woke up with puffy eyes because I want something I just can’t get. And the little moments where I want him to care as much as I care and he doesn’t, to feel burdened by this as much as I am and he isn’t, feel like weights added to one side of the balance I’m always holding.

I feel myself slipping. I’m holding onto this, white-knuckled, fingernails scraping, but I’m losing my grip. I thought I knew the best way to handle it but it turns out my positioning is all wrong and it’s getting tough to keep it steady. All I know is that whatever happens, I can’t let go now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's in a name?

I probably met him during my first week of work. But I also met everyone that week, and I'm not the best with names. I could be the worst, in fact. So I am not really sure.

Fast forward a year, (holy crap, I've been working for a year!) he distinguishes himself. He works in the Video Tape Library, and I either order and pick up tapes from him or he picks up tapes from me. One day, I went over to pick up some tapes and no one was there. I waited 5 minutes. And then he showed up.

"Hey sorry, have you been waiting long?"
I laugh. "No, not really."
"Well if you had, I wouldn't have cared."
Jaw drops. "Oh, reeally??"
He laughs. "I'm just kidding."

Sass. And really cute when he laughs. And then the crushing started.
The next day, I was in a hurry and he was in a hurry. On my way to pick up tapes I just ordered. He was on his way out, but saw that I was coming so he turned around grabbed my tapes and walked me to the elevator. We chatted during our brief ride. He told me about he had to feed the meter in his car, and how he drives in only when he works the overnight shift. (my coworker said I should have offered to walk him to his car, but it's not my style).

I got excited when we crossed paths. I would volunteer to go to the VTL any chance I could. But I still didn't know his name. A month ago, I discover that his name is D. But he doesn't know my name (or does he???).

Last week, he picked up tapes from me at the end of the night. I had other stuff I had to do. So I called him back an hour later.

"Hey, may I speak to D?"
"This is him."
"Oh hey, it's JEN FROM NEWS."
"Oh hey, what's up."
"I'm double guessing myself, did I give you two tapes? One for x and one for y."
"Yeah, you're good."

So now he knows my name.

I drink much more than I ought to drink because it brings me back to you

My communication with the LDC comes and goes in waves, and I’m finally learning to be okay with it. I didn’t hear from him at all on Friday and again, he was silent on Saturday. Around 2:30 Sunday morning I was jarred awake by my ringing phone.

“Hi,” I croaked.
“Were you sleeping? Why don’t you leave your phone on silent when you sleep?”
I’ve explained so many times that I actually don’t mind when he wakes me up but he hasn’t grasped the concept yet. I think he just feels bad waking me up. But when the person you most want to talk to is three hours behind, you learn to be okay with the being-woken-up thing. Sometimes those are the best conversations of all.

Around 4:15 there was a lull in conversation and he yawned. “It’s probably pretty late, right?” I asked, no clock in the vicinity to check. “I should probably sleep.”
“But we’re almost at the two hour mark, you can’t leave now.”
“Two hours?! We’ve been talking for two hours?!” My mind jumped back, tried to remember what exactly we had even been talking about. It began with movies, metamorphosed into relationships and marriage, swung around to careers, and then looped back to movies. We had disagreed on the quality of the Sherlock Holmes movie, agreed that relationships are only successful when both parties have their own lives, and disagreed again on the benefits of working for The Man.

Somewhere in there he told me he was so impressed by my food blog. “I think you have so much potential,” he said.

Around 5 in the morning I finally went to sleep with my contented smile pressed into the pillow. That phone call was worth more than all the Gchat conversations in the world.


I had a stuffed cat, which I filled with things. It wasn't a toy, but an actual cat. All kinds of precious things. I don't know how I put them in and how the cat was alive. And then one day I came home and found the cat dead. Its eyes wide and staring, its fur almost wet - or maybe even gelled. I could see that all of my wonderful things were inside it. I just had to reach into its back and take them out. And I just couldn't do it. Its dead eyes were staring and I couldn't fathom reaching into it. I couldn't go near it. I also dislike cats intensely. I don't like being near them. They give me the creeps. One of my favorite cousins is one of the last people I'd visit because of this. This is the reason I'm never 100% comfortable at D's parents' home. So I stood there looking at it and its dead open eyes. Finally I had someone else take all of my precious things out of it for me. I don't know if I even touched those things.

A few nights ago I had a dream. And that dream is giving me shivers even today when I think about it.

DreamDictionary.Com: To see a cat in your dream, symbolizes an independent spirit, feminine sexuality, creativity, and power. It also represents misfortune and bad luck. The cat could indicate that someone is being deceitful or treacherous toward you. If the cat is aggressive, then it suggests that you are having problems with the feminine aspect of yourself. The dream may be a metaphor for "cattiness" or someone who is "catty" and malicious. If you see a cat with no tail, then it signifies a loss of independence and lack of autonomy.

So...I had put everything that was precious to me into my independent spirit, my feminine sexuality, creativity and power? And then it died?
So...misfortune and bad luck? But it's dead?
Someone was being deceitful and treacherous but now no more?

I don't usually examine my dreams too deeply. This is mainly because my dreams are hyper-influenced by whatever is going on around me. If I stub my toe, there's about a 90% chance that I'll dream about pain or toes or some combination thereof that night. If I watch a movie about murder and mayhem, I can pretty much guarantee that I wake up sweating in the middle of the night. Jurassic Park and Sound of Music are films that have produced dreams I still remember today.

But some dreams stick with you.

Like the one about traveling in a train wearing a burka with a huge black dog at my feet.
Like the one where I held one grandfather's hand as the other one lifted off in a huge hot air balloon.
And others I don't like to think of too much.

So today as I sit here still getting the creeps about this dream I am tempted to look into the dream dictionaries that scatter the internet. Perhaps it's just a function of the hundreds of moving parts in my life, the hundreds of unanswered questions, the millions of uncertainties. I am a creature of habit and planning, and in my planner everything after July 31 just disappears. Is this why I'm searching for meaning in a dream? Is this why I'm taking the least concrete thing in my day to day existence and, in a fit of silly moping, laying a foundation on it?

Or maybe it's the fact that there is a part of me that irrationally, superstitiously, impossibly, believes that dreams can tell us things. Call it intuition gaining a visible form in the subconscious. Call it mere imagination more powerful because of the stage set by sleep. Call it silliness. But somehow, I can't quite believe that a dream is just a dream.

And for now those dead cat eyes still stare, and I am still standing paralysed ten feet away.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

He is away

He is gone this week, away on business. He is sick this week, a fever, a cough, an upset stomach and he is away. I meant to have a very somber, maybe tear-filled, possibly difficult talk with him on Sunday. But, it didn’t feel right. Maybe it was the timing, perhaps it was the fact that he is consoling his best friend, our mutual friend, who had just broken up with his girlfriend. I don’t know, but the words would not come, the moment didn’t lend to the discussion I felt we needed to have. Now he is sick, he is in some hotel in California feeling horrible, telling me that he has a hard time receiving, but from me it seems so much easier. We’ve been conversing over e-mail. I love his beautiful off the cuff prose and I hate that he is sick. I feel tortured in this purgatory of love, some form of love and this eminent looming separation. The close and tender care is still there, although, an end seems inevitable.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I got rejected from a grad school yesterday, and without thinking, I called him first. He didn't answer, so I sent him a text.

Then I waited.

Three hours later, he called. I was already upset about so many other things.

"I called you first."
"Are you upset with me?"
"I don't know."
"Can I tell you where I was and then you can tell me if you're still upset?"

He helps low income families with their taxes one night a week in a basement of a library. The thought had vaguely crossed my mind, but in my disheartened state, it was quickly ignored.

"I called you as soon as I got out. Are you still upset?"
"No ..."

"... I still think it's fucking huge that I called you first."

On paper

You do well on your quizzes. You ace those tests. You get into good schools. You add lines to your resume. You're great on paper. And even if nothing else is perfect, at least there's that. At least you can pull up your transcript and stare at it for a moment. At least you can draw a deep breath and say "I kick ass". At least you can believe it. Because even if you forget for a moment or two, there's hard proof. Something objective. Something that helps you ride out that moment of disillusionment, that second of despair. So long as you're approaching perfection in at least one area, at least one thing, you're fine, you're a-okay. Because it's right there on paper, and what's on paper - well, it's concrete.

So it's okay that you don't really talk to your dad. And it's okay that you could be a better friend. And it's okay that you never beat your sister in a race. And it's okay if you're lonely. And it's okay that you can't bake. And it's okay if you never completed the dozens of scarves you began knitting. Because there's a way to work on all of that when you know you can do at least one thing well.

And then one day you look at that paper and you see it dissolve. You're not approaching perfection anymore. No, you're diving deep into the other direction.

And suddenly you feel like you might just crumble. Because if there's not even that...then...what?

Monday, March 8, 2010

You Should Know

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chattering away

I curled myself up into a ball on the sofa. A lazy Friday night, visiting my aunt and my cousin. So much better than going out for drinks. One weekend night without a party is actually worth more than it sounds.

We talked about uncles and aunts. Long-dead great uncles. Favorite grandparents. We talked about the lovers in their street, how two families lived across from each other and rarely exchanged a world, how small the world was, how small it is becoming. We talked about people we knew, and some we didn't.

But my aunt is a gossip. She doesn't mean ill, she just has stories. That's part of the reason she's fun to talk to. That's part of the reason there's never a lack of conversation. But as you listen to her little scraps of stories, about how this one gained so much weight after marriage and how that one has such a talented and gifted child, about how X was supposed to marry Y, you get on your guard. Because slowly and naturally the subject turns.

So what happened with K? So mysterious some people are.

I shrug my shoulders. It doesn't matter whether I know what happened with K or not. That's his story, not mine to tell.
Yea, it's a complete mystery isn't it! Some people really know how to keep secrets, I smile. Who knows what his reasons were.
Maybe I do. Maybe I know one or two.
But I shrug.

And your dad, he's so!
Haha, yea totally.
I know a different father. Not the one she describes. She's got half of his personality from when they were all kids. I know him as the man he is now. And maybe not completely either.
But I shrug. I nod. Oh man, yea, haha.

Because it's not my story to tell.
Because words mean one thing to me and another to her. If I say X is super neat, the next telling of the story makes his kind of a neat freak. The next almost someone with an OCD.
There is so much more than the stories we tell.
And if it's not my story?
A shrug, I suppose. A smile and a nod. A well placed "hm" - that is all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

This is new.

He was on his way to meet our close mutual friend for dinner.

4:58 PM me: come kiss me and then gohaha
4:59 PM A: haha i would love to, just meet me at...
Friends to more. Maybe it's just this easy.

The Doldrums

I told him I was feeling “yellow light” about our relationship. I expressed openly that I felt he was running too far ahead in his mind, too fast. I feared he was picturing me with a ring on my finger in the first month! Now it has been three months and I feel as if our relationship has not progressed at all. He still barely touches me, and I too take his queue and barely feel comfortable touching him. We share about our lives and write lovely prose to one another daily.. but I don’t sense any emotional depth developing. He feels like a really good friend. We see each other just about once a week. Maybe two times in a weekend and we sit across tables at restaurants and talk. He tells me he misses me via text and sometimes I think.. I just don’t miss him.

A month ago I had sent him an early e-mail joking about showing up unannounced at his apartment and how I pictured him hunched over his computer fast at work, with his mother’s recipe for cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. As if he was waiting for me, hoping I’d show up. That night when we’d planned to hang out, I showed up at his apt. and there were cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.

On Valentines Day, I was in Scotland, Edinburgh, to be exact, visiting a friend. This would have been the very first Valentine’s Day that I would actually have a valentine and possibly a date. He made me the sweetest hand typed valentine encased in the envelope of a “Modern Love” by David Bowie 45 record. He gave it to me before I left on my trip. Once the 14th of February arrived, so did a bouquet of deep red tulips.. IN SCOTLAND!

On my return from this trip across the sea, arriving at Newark airport, looking quite a fright after a very early, very long flight, I dizzily exited the terminal looking for the air Tran only to find him standing there with a sign, with my name on it, waiting to greet me and take me home.

It is now almost a month later and so far from his sweet attempts at showing his affection. I thought we were unmoored, in a good way, detached from the harbor prepared to let the current take us away. Maybe we hit stagnant waters; maybe we drifted into the unseen doldrums. I am seeing him tonight, after not seeing him for a week and next week he is away on business. I am curious to see if my affection is enflamed by his absence or if this slow stream screeches to a halt. Only God knows the path of the currents.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?

When I was fifteen years old my dad lost his job. Tried as he could to find a job in Rochester, the only positions he could land were located in Kansas City, San Francisco, or New York City. He took the year long commitment in California, hoping that after that time something would open up closer to home.

But it never did. And for five years my parents endured their own long distance relationship. As far as I knew, there was no mention of divorce or separation. They simply made it work. I went through my formative dating years under the bizarre and misinformed assumption that a happily married couple could remain just that way, at first cross country and later cross state. “We’ve never really had to work at our marriage,” my dad once told me. He looked at my mother. “Right? Have we?”

“Well, it was really tough when you got cancer and you had to go through the radiation.”
“Were you going to divorce me when I got cancer?!”
“Well, no! I just mean that it strained our marriage.”
“But that’s not what I’m talking about. I mean we’ve never talked about getting divorced.”

But I knew that was a lie. After the fourth year of my father’s weekly six-hour commute from New York City to Rochester (every Friday there, every Sunday back), my mother sold the house in Rochester and moved to New York so they could finally live together. She was miserable away from her friends and family in Rochester and suddenly the word divorce hovered around that house like a ghost. But it came with melancholy, not malice. “Sometimes I think your father would be better off without me holding him back,” my mom would say. And my father would say quietly, just to me, “If it wasn’t for me, your mother could still be in Rochester. And happy.” But divorce was just a far away, simple solution that no one would ever capitalize on. They could never be without each other, for better or for worse.

I never realized how this affected me or my views on relationships until I started to examine what I have with the LDC. What’s so wrong with long distance? With the way I grew up, I may never know.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I'll Be Seeing You

There was something intoxicating about the moon last night. I laid in bed watching TV in the dark and noticed a spotlight transcending my curtains. I crept out of bed and pulled back the curtain. It wasn’t a spotlight. It was the moon. It was big enough that I could make out all of the craters on the face, and it was bright enough that rays pierced the blackness of the sky on all sides. I was transfixed. I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

I got back under the warm blankets of my bed and watched that bold faced moon until it slid away from my view and into someone else’s. And once it was gone, all I could think was, “I’ll find you in the morning sun, and when the night is new, I’ll be looking at the moon but I’ll be seeing you…”

Monday, March 1, 2010


This morning, my Romanian colleague sent this martisor to the whole organization. A symbol of friendship and love, appreciation and respect, it's given out on the first of March to celebrate the beginning of spring.

Lovely, no?