tales of a girl in the city

mars 25, 2007

The History of Loss

I have done this thing before. If I want to remind myself of all the times I've said the words, asked the questions, made the phone calls and taken the walks, all I need to do is scroll down the list of dates next to this entry. There they will be:

The night in Riverside Park. October and Dan. The end of my first relationship with a grown-up (read: someone who had more than ketchup and beer in his fridge). Struggling for weeks to identify what it was I was feeling. Why it was that, suddenly, I was back to college and sitting by my phone, waiting for Dan's call, when, for all the months before, I had felt so confident. So certain I was cared about. And then this odd change in his behavior, taking me from my happy role in my new adult relationship, to memories of dorm rooms and confusion and smoky bars and Left Behind.

I remember when I realized The Talk with Dan was necessary. I remember understanding all at once that he had introduced me to a new way of being loved: to dinner parties and dates arranged ahead of time and this lovely thing called Intimacy that went along--like an unbelievable wine pairing!--with Sex. It hit me so hard that I picked up the phone almost immediately. He had raised my expectations, and now I could not go back.

"We need to meet," I told him. Riverside Park in October and good-bye to Dan.

There have been so many others since then. Train station (David). Via email (M the time he cheated). Silently (Aron). Gradually (M the time he loved me back).

I have stood on street corners and felt the moment brand me, knowing from then on that His will be the face I will look for--on purpose, on accident--in every crowd. I've stared at my feet and mumbled the difficult words, knowing as I've said them, that they are fossils already, hieroglyphs and cave drawings, on the walls of my mind. I will return to them a thousand times. Holding up my sputtering candle, I will attempt translation. I will unearth. Then bury. Then unearth again.