tales of a girl in the city

juillet 13, 2005

Truth: A(Version)

I came to Central Park having made myself two promises. The first was that I would risk. That I would say to you, "I will go. Let's go together to London. Let's try. I want to take this leap."

We started our walk, our conversation about "The Hard Stuff," I held your hand in my left one and my first promise to myself in my right. Through the Park, as we began, that first promise felt easy, like carrying a single balloon. It felt yellow and floating and can't wait til we get there and will there be candy and how long will we stay.

In my peach party dress, I was ready. Impossible things had happened to me in that dress; I'd worn it on purpose. For luck.

As we walked, we seemed new--the two of us, together--and at first I thought that was because we were at a beginning. Having gotten very good at Ending Things, starting them is less familiar. Starting them with someone else is virtually unknown.

This newness made me shy but hopeful.

It also made me naive. In those initial few moments, with the beginning and the hope and the peach-colored luck, it felt as though my leap needed to be large enough to get me safely over just a very small puddle--not the shark-infested waters of Timing and History and Fear. Not the entire Atlantic.

I can do this.

It had never been more easy to be brave.

But those were just the first seconds. A risk and hope were two steps in a walk of thousands. The entire journey is far more complicated. As we are learning.

And, of course, as is the way with these things, we don't know where we're headed.


That night we went through the park and onto the street. We crossed Broadway. Left trees for sidewalks. We left sidewalks for benches in a different park.

We walked and leapt, but not high or far enough.

This is where we have landed.


Everything is the same since that walk, but also everything is different. And that's just one of many dualities that can both be true. A lesson I have learned: truth is technicolored and multilayered. It can change. It is not absolute. Truth makes a fool of Mr. Hemingway, who was always telling himself to write it and only it. One line of truth followed by another.

Let's try it and see: we ended on that walk. But yet, afterwards, and even now, we still have not ended. You listened. You didn't listen. I heard. I didn't hear. I cried while I laughed. You were present but already also gone.

You see, there are many truths.


Here is one:

It is beautiful in New York today. It's my day off, and I'm in my kitchen with my feet up on a chair and the windows open. I can hear the morning outside--a dim, low buzz from something that sounds like a lawnmower, but can't be. A car horn. The wind. I got coffee just now and loved the look of the milk swirling into the plastic cup. I went grocery shopping and bounced in front of the cheeses to Otis Redding and Aretha. Then came back, to sit here and write.

Here is another:

The first time I left you, it crushed me. I hurt for months. You know; you've read it. This time, it's different. In a manner of speaking, you have left me. But I'm more whole. Not broken. I don't understand why.

Here is one:

Since you left, I sleep less. I get up at five a.m. It's a change I've been trying to bring about for a lifetime, and now it's here, and not even hard.

Here is a truth:

I loved you very much. I love you, right now, in my windy kitchen. And as I sit here, just so you know that I'm not weaving half-truths, I will tell you that I still know what is flawed about you and me. I've embroidered my version of this with the wrong things about us, as well as the right. My truth is complicated, not easy. Not perfect. But real.

And one more:

I don't know that I feel cared about by you anymore. So. That has changed.


The second promise I made myself on our walk was that I would go home to my own bed.

Instead, I went home to yours. All night long, your body covered me like tracing paper. Because of the weight of your leg slung over me, I knew the spacing and shape of my legs. Your arm beneath, around me, your hand on my waist, and I slept knowing the curve of my own self. As well as yours.

Suspended in a place of nothing, we slept--and also didn't sleep--until it was time to begin our separate days.


Here is a truth:

I will not wait for you.


If nothing else is true, this is:

There is a story weaving between us.
I am braiding it with my fingers at this very moment.
I wove it that night as we walked.
I leave it trailing out behind me.
I leave it here, where you will find it.

So that you can find your way.