Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"So where's my surprise?"
"I'm not sure, babe."
"What? Not sure about what?"
"The surprise is not in my hands anymore."
"I'm so confused."
One month into our relationship, I went on a 10-day work trip. Just before I left, I sent him a postcard acquired in Hungary (of all places) - a black and white photo of "je t'aime" scrawled on a wall. It read: "I miss you already!"
After a recent trip to the Phillips Collection, I spied a postcard of the Chagall above. I immediately called him to tell him he'd get a surprise. When? he asked. When you deserve one, I replied.
Four months into our relationship comes another long work trip. I met him for a quick coffee at our cafe before my morning flight. On the walk there I dropped his Chagall postcard in a mailbox. It read: "I think you're wonderful - don't change."*
*Lest you think I'm ever so poignant to come up with such a phrase, think again. Thanks, Josh Rouse.
In my head, I would never see him again. I liked how it ended: with a hug and a look that meant, “This is it?” It was storybook. We were in Ireland, in front of the massive gates at Trinity College, and I remember the long walk across the campus, back to my room, thinking that I could go home happy now. I used the last few precious minutes on my Irish Nokia cell phone to call him, hours before my plane took off, and joke and laugh and put an extra sheen on the experience that was meeting him.
It was so lovely. Wrapped up in a package, neatly sealed, tucked in a corner of a country that I would visit again but never really experience in the same way. He was a part of that. The perfect day, inside the perfect 6 weeks.
Today I got a Facebook message.
I dont know how far along your "leave New York, go to culinary school" plan you are but if you're still in NY, I'm heading over to stay with some friends of mine on sunday. I'll be there for 2 weeks (4th-18th), if you’re around we should get together at some stage.
Hope you're well,
It’s been four years. And now that I know he’ll be here soon, I feel like I can’t wait another day.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I lay back down in bed, my eyes heavy with exhaustion and begging for sleep. I began to drift off when my phone beeped. A picture message. “Yum Cobb salad!” Cobb salad. The LDC was texting me at midnight to show me his dinner, and all I could think was, “Cobb salad? Who gives a shit about Cobb salad? Let me know when you’re eating scallops with champagne sauce. Jerk.”
I was wide awake. It took me another thirty minutes to drift off to sleep again, and around 3:30 I was startled awake one more time. This time it was my subconscious that roused me but I was thinking about the text. His stupid text. Whatever the meaning behind it, I was angry. And I was up again.
Another glass of ice water, but this time I perched on the easy chair in the living room, next to the only window in the apartment that provided a trace of a breeze. I sat motionless in the dark, letting beads of condensation roll down the glass, across my sticky skin, and through the thick air to the wood floor below.
I don’t know if it was the ill-timed text or the ill-timed sender, but at that moment, in the heat, I felt lucky to be alone.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Growing up, and even in my 20s, I had very few straight guy friends. I spent most of my time in dance and theater, where guys are few and far between or, although it is a stereotype, gay. My heterosexual male friends were kept close and valued for the advice they gave and the offers they extended to pummel any guy who treated me poorly.
R. is one of those incredible, reliable guy friends that I’ve stuck close to since high school. He is a serial monogamist and, not surprisingly, proposed to his longtime girlfriend last year. They set a date for August and sent out ‘Save the Date’ cards soon after. I wrote the date in my planner: August 21. But something inside of me knew that I wouldn’t be attending.
R. is marrying B., who has a drinking problem. At one point, her problem got so bad, that R. and B. split up. “I can’t handle her when she gets blackout drunk,” R. said once. And every time B. drank, she binged to the point of blackout. During their split, she worked on “giving up hard liquor” and once she did, they got back together. “It’s only hard liquor that makes her black out,” R. said. This past January, on B.’s 25th birthday, she got blackout drunk off of beer (what happened to that hard liquor rule?) and kissed another guy. She never told R.
Up until this point, I have been elated for all of my friends who have gotten married or engaged. Everyone has seemed to fit so perfectly together, to complement each other, and really benefit from their unions. Except for R. and B. I can not go to a wedding and pretend to be happy for my dear friend and the woman he is settling for.
That little RSVP card sits on my dresser, asking far bigger questions than “Yes” or “No.”
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I clicked through the one where my awkwardly raised arm consumes the rest of me. The one where my nose appears massive and oddly-shaped. The one where his jawline looks chiseled. The one where we're laughing about his new phone addiction. The one of really nothing at all.
A black and white camera phone photo of us in a friend's kitchen. I sit on a stool, reading a recipe from an iPhone. He stands just behind, his arms wrapped around my waist. He kisses the top of my head, reading the recipe along with me. Us being us.
Beauty in small things.