Monday, May 31, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We both thought it might be fun. Or rather, I thought we both thought it might be fun.
He tried on a couple, got frustrated ("I just don't look good in glasses"), and then proceeded to disengage. At first, I attempted to draw him back in - try these ones, I like those. When that didn't work, I went about my business, asking his opinion - this pair or that pair? After ten minutes, I couldn't take it anymore. The stiff posture, the glazed over gaze out the window, the flippant responses. I asked the saleswoman to jot down the style numbers of the two I liked, and we left. He grabbed my hand, and I made no effort to hide my annoyance.
"What was that all about?"
"I'm sorry, I know I was impatient, but you weren't going to buy anything just then. I wasn't going to buy anything just then. The ones you tried on were basically the same. I don't know what to say."
"If I'm going to spend $600 dollars on something that will go on my face for years and years, I want to be sure about it. Next time if you don't want to be somewhere just tell me; don't be a brat about it."
"You're right, you're right. I will."
"It's fine. We're learning each other. Now I know not take you with me when I actually buy a pair in July."
The words came out meaner, more embittered in person, but we laughed (sort of) and walked into Uniqlo. He pointed upstairs, and I let him go off on his own. When he found me again, I was standing in the mile-long fitting room line, armful of clothes. Raised eyebrows and a smile. "I'm in a bad mood. I needed a distraction."
A joint fitting room session, two button downs for him, and two dresses for me later, we were on the train uptown to meet a friend, slightly more upbeat. He didn't make fun of me for forgetting Lincoln Center is on the West Side, and he gladly gulped his wine in the 20 minutes we had before my friend left to catch a show.
Then we had some time alone. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was the beautiful weather. Maybe I realized I was a bit of a brat myself. Maybe he didn't want me to be upset with him anymore. We talked it out. We laughed (genuinely).
Monday, May 24, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Talking to parents, friends, colleagues, well-wishers, and pessimists often helps. Sometimes, though, inspiration comes from the unlikeliest of places.
In 1995, Iggy Pop answered a 20 page fan letter from a 21 year old girl in Paris. His scribbled note has some of the most eloquent, heartfelt advice I've read anywhere.
Words to live by: "take a deep breath and do whatever you must to survive and find something to be that you can love."
Monday, May 17, 2010
It was a classic New York moment. I was standing outside a bar in the East Village, on the phone with The Aussie giving him directions when I saw J.C. coming at me from down the street. I could barely focus on my speech as he caught my gaze and removed his headphones.
J.C. is a perfect example of someone I thought I could change, someone I thought I could convince that I was worth being different for. Over the span of a year and a half we met, went on a couple dates, morphed those dates into a purely physical relationship, stopped talking, started talking again, hooked up again, stopped talking, started talking again, and then ended it for good. "I don't want to do the casual dating thing," I told him, when I couldn't take it anymore. "I just can't be anybody's boyfriend right now," he answered honestly. There was no hostility between us. We were just two people with palpable chemistry who wanted different things.
When I saw him on the street it was the first time I’d laid eyes on him in over a year. He was elated to see me. He told me he was on his way to a party in Chelsea but he motioned to the bar I was about to go into. “Let’s go in!” he exclaimed, always the easy going optimist. “I have a couple minutes, I want to catch up with you.” He took me inside and bought me a beer and pulled me away from my group of friends.
After the requisite job, friends, apartment details, I asked about his parents. “How’s your dad doing?” He looked surprised. “Not bad, he’s still drawing.” “Good. I remember those drawings hanging outside of their apartment.” Again, the pause of surprise. “Really? You remember that?” He put a hand on my shoulder. “I have to go to the bathroom but when I come back, can I steal you away from your friends again?”
When he came back our conversation turned. “So, is this the significant other?” he asked, motioning to my friend, B. I told him B. was just a friend but the real significant other was on his way. “I hope that’s not awkward.” “No,” he insisted, maybe a little too emphatically. “No, that’s not awkward. Totally fine. No worries.” His eyes lowered. “You know, we’re still not friends on Facebook. After you de-friended me, you never re-friended me.” My cheeks flushed. “Oh, it’s just Facebook.” He put his hand on my shoulder again. “Well, you were a significant moment in my life. I’m really glad I ran into you.”
He left shortly after and then The Aussie came and it was a perfectly lovely evening. But that line stuck with me. “A significant moment in my life.” It’s hard to work through a breakup, or a relationship that was once incredible but turned sour, but for me it is the most difficult to accept something that had all the potential in the world and never had the chance to even get off the ground.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
When I was 18, I hated her. She was comfortable and familiar, and I got used to her but in the way that you get used to a limp. I wanted to leave her so badly, and when I finally got a break at college, I couldn’t wait to come screaming back. “Remember me?! I’ve changed. I’ve outgrown you.”
I’m twenty-five now, and I miss her. I remember her familiar curves, her radiating warmth and her distancing cold. I don’t want to go back to her. But my heart breaks when we’re forced apart.
On Tuesday morning, I sat at my parents’ breakfast table, far away from my childhood home, but not so far that her hold on me wasn’t achingly apparent. My mom packed up her bag for the day and I spooned cereal between my quivering lips. I started to cry. "I feel like I'm in third grade again," I whimpered. "Don't make me go to school, mom, I want to stay home."
I know that there are great things waiting for me out there. I am destined to be successful, as a chef, as a writer, as an eater, as an editor, or maybe as something I haven’t even considered yet. But part of me wants to slink back home to the predictability and comfort of friends who have known me since I was ten years old and love me whether I am an exacerbated version of myself, or not myself at all. Part of me wants to buy a car and move into a cheap apartment in the middle of streets I could traverse with my eyes closed. I want to sink down into the cushion of home.
I used to tell myself that there was another home out there for me. I’d learn to love a different city with different people, and I’d create a better life of my own, instead of claiming one that had already been created for me.
I’m not sure why I want her back. All I know is that I do.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
"Hey ... what?"
We were walking down the concourse, holding hands, bright pink duffel over my shoulder.
"Nothing. It's silly."
"No, tell me."
It had been a long day in transit.
I had missed my connection in Denver, which meant four hours to kill in an airport that should be cooler than it is. I wouldn't be home until 10:00 with work bright and early the next morning. So I began to scheme.
If I stayed at A's place, I could grab a quick bite. Sleep in. Walk to work. He could pick me up from the airport. Carry the gigantic suitcase I brought back as a favor for the high school best friend. We could spend time together after a long six days apart.
A few book chapters and a couple of white lies later (the family is immigrant-y after all), it was settled. I texted him when I got on the plane, telling him to be early. It would be the first time someone else - not my mom or brother - would be waiting for me.
I was restless the entire flight. When the power went out at the gate in DC and my fellow passengers had to use their cell phones to search the overhead bins for their luggage, I cursed Frontier Airlines for my last row seat. The last to exit the plane, I speedwalked through the terminal, and there, just past security, I could make him out. Wavy brown hair, white undershirt, jeans. I almost skipped before falling into his arms.
I made my eyes big and laughed: "I think we're falling in love!"
He shook his head and laughed, too.
"I don't think you're silly."
We continued to walk, and then he stopped and kissed me.
That night, after we had made love, he turned to me.
"You know that thing you said at the airport ...? I agree ... I think you just caught me off-guard. Usually people say things like that at moments like these, but you're not cliche like that."
"I guess not."
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I find the corners of my mouth drooping silently. I fold up shirts and socks.
I find my eyes getting heavy. I place a pair of jeans on top.
I find myself sitting there staring. I handle a soft dress delicately.
I shake my head. These bags have got to be packed.
My photographs come out of their frames and into a notebook for safekeeping. The cards that lined my shelf in the living room get tucked away as well.
I make a list: pick up dress, buy macarons and chocolate and cheese, mail my box of things that won't fit, buy a book for the plane.
I sit on the sofa then, suddenly tired.
I pad over to the desk where D is studying for his exam. I kiss his shoulder. I shake my head when he looks up. I wish this hug would never end.
My bright orange living room smiles at me reassuringly. You'll be back, it seems to say. But not to live - at least not soon, I cry back. And silence.
I don't have any music as I pack. I find it makes me too sad. The happy upbeat tunes seem out of place and the melancholy ones feed into my mood too much. Me and my thoughts, then, folding, placing, stuffing, closing.
My bags are almost filled. And yet somehow my life seems to be flitting around, evading my reaching hands, refusing to be packed away just yet. Come on, I say. We've got places to go. We'll do brilliant things and have some fun. It's been a good ride, I think to myself. I just wish it didn't have to end just yet. I know exciting things await, but. Some part of me, it's here to stay.