tales of a girl in the city

janvier 28, 2004

One of the (ten-thousand-million-gazillion) good things about SNOW DAYS is that they allow you to go through all of your old diary entries and remember the bliss that is...


(Brief backstory: D was The Boyfriend Before M. I was: fresh out of college and just coming off of six months of touring with a show. He was: 30, a hot-shot in the classical music industry, and prone to going on two-week long bed and breakfast vacations with his mother. Who he referred to as his "soulmate." His father was still married to his mother, but was not invited on these trips. Which made two of us.)

*** August 6, 2002

It happened today. I took back the last pieces of my wardrobe. Less than one year later, and our entire relationship is pared down to fifteen awkward minutes in your apartment and one black Betsey Johnson dress.

When I asked if you were home, your doorman said, "They usually come in at night." I jumped quickly to correct him, "He's single, so it wouldn't be 'they.'"

I was wrong, as the picture in front of your desk (in direct sightline so that you can see her at any moment during your day. You must be so in love.) clearly told me. Her name is Erin, and she's gorgeous.

But, so am I.

I'm going to stop this now, because it's taking me in the wrong direction. The picture of your new girlfriend did not make me sad. You've moved on; I've moved on. And I guess I know a little about the shape of your love. I know that your mom still--always--comes first. That your dog, your friends, your job, are all priorities. That your words are always sweet and poignant, but, when it comes down to the moment when you're truly needed--the moment when my frightened phone call interrupts your meeting--all of your sweet words will become just so much noise.

I cried today not because I want to be back in your life, though admittedly, in that apartment, part of me admired the illusion of your new self. Your two new buzz words are "casual" and "simple": You quit your job. Became a bartender. Bought a bike. Shaved off your hair. The New You; The Look of Less Responsiblity. All of it so cool and colorful.

But the rest of me sees the cracks in the walls, the clumsy paint in the bedroom. God, and those silly stars you've put on your ceiling. There's something posed about all of it; a kid clomping around in his father's grown-up shoes. You're no more ready for the responsibilities that come with love now than you were six months ago.

I don't miss you.

I cried today because of what it means to have stood in your apartment, having no more to say to you than an awkward salesperson. It is the most horrible moment in the world, and it ran over me like water. The memories and the familiarity. The closeness. All of it tumbling into the terrific, uncomfortable gap between us. Piece by piece it crumbled and left only the knowledge that we (I had you inside of me. I tasted your tears.) don't know each other at all.

As I got into the elevator (I stood there willing it to come and take me far away and quickly) I was teasing you about your age. You replied, "To me you're always gonna be twenty-two."

Maybe the comfort is there. That, somewhere, frozen and packed away like ice-cubes, is the best part of our six months--a little time-line drawn on a wall far back in a corner of the universe, documenting just 'hello' and an afternoon or two in your white summer bed. Not at all part of any present. Just a fresh line in a corner, stringing together some few happy words.

All the rest should be left out.

I got out of the subway and stepped out onto Canal Street this afternoon after seeing you. The sun was bright and the street was bursting with foreign noises and paper fans. Tiny turtles swam in their plastic cases, held in the grubby fingers of children who were sure to kill them soon. Brilliant clusters of fake Prada bags. Shiny toys and noises. The hiccups of people jumbling together.

How can you be where you were? And how did you find the way--with your mind your only measure?

This is a strange place to me still. My new job in this new neighborhood, just like my new home in Brooklyn, has nothing to do with you. I find them both a bit strange and scary, a bit exotic and thrilling.

I stand in the street--on this day that has come (finally) After You--in a present that is mine to stumble into. Mine to own.