Saturday, April 26, 2014

This could be something

She is nervous. So nervous she can’t stop talking. Talking. Talking  in neurotic circles. She is hyper-aware of her every word, motion, and face expression. She takes off her cardigan and tucks her leg under, a move that usually helps her feel more in control, then puts the cardigan back on. What is she so afraid of? No matter. Whatever it is, as long as she keeps saying things she doesn’t have to face it. So she talks, and talks and asks him endless, hair splitting questions. When he answers, her brain is so flooded with panic juice that she can’t muster up any follow up questions. Every question is self-labeled as either banal or stupid before it leaves her mouth. And now she has trouble recalling basic facts about her life. This feels ridiculous to a point of physical discomfort.

She: Can I just say...I am nervous. And I am not usually nervous. I don’t know what is going on. I am usually not like this. That sounds weak and insecure and neurotic again!
He: Hm...I think you are nervous because you think this could be something. And I think you are right.
Queue in brain explosion.
She: You know, it’s funny that you said that, because I have been thinking that. And queue in his loss of interest due to her oversharing.

He: You have green eyes.
She: ... sometimes.
He: Now, you have green eyes right now.

He has long legs. He stretches them out under the table and her knees are now between his, touching lightly, easily.

An hour later, they are on a park bench.

He: I’ve been wanting to kiss you for hours now.
They move closer to each other. She can smell his face and likes what she smells. They are very close.
He: Pretty much ever since we sat down to dinner.

And then they kiss. It is slow, tender. His hand is on her neck, and then cheek. It is romantic. She likes it. Very much. It is not necessarily a passionate kiss. It is a happy kiss. It is a “this could be something” kiss. Their kissing styles match immediately.


… on the subway he holds her hand. She likes the way his hand feel in hers.

* * *

Dinner number two is much less nerve wracking. Most of her sentences are perfectly coherent. A couple of times on her way from the bathroom she lightly touches his neck and shoulders, sending shockwaves down his body. Her gentleness drives him crazy. And then dinner is over, and they are walking, and their hands find each other. And she feels it. He feels it too. She feels her dreams, fantasies and life plans flow into her palm and then into his. Every now and then she catches herself holding her breath.

He: You feel really nice
She: What do you mean?
He: ... it’s just a nice feeling.

They are at that stage of physicality that she's always loved and many men skip. A time when your elbows touch and you want to take your clothes off, but you don’t, because you think this could be something and there is plenty of time for that. His advances are both confident and respectfully hesitant.

* * *

Before walking into the party, he sits down on a bench and pulls her towards him, as if in a dance. They kiss. And she feels it in her entire body. She feels his hands on her face and in her hair, and on her earlobes; she moans. He moans.
He: “You really turn me on”

After some more kissing....

She: Am I an oat?
He: What?
She: Are you sowing your oats? Am I an oat?
He: What do you mean?
She: I mean, “just want to have fun, doesn’t matter with whom...”
He looks into the distance and thoughtfully says:
“No. My longterm relationship did end eight months ago, and I have done a lot of thinking this past fall. And yes I have not really figured out what it means to date yet. But you are the first person I am excited about in a long time.

She: ...
He: Reactions? Thoughts?
She: Well, I guess then we dance.
He: Hm?
She: Literally and figuratively.
They were both terrified, excited, terrified of being this excited, and alive so very alive. They went back to kissing, enveloped in a veil of thought. This could really be something.

After the party, they stand outside the house and kiss. Then they kiss some more. She is flying. Swarms of butterflies take residence everywhere in her body. Everything is tingling and she is holding her breath again. She wants to do everything and go everywhere with him. It is all so romantic.

* * *

They meet, a light kiss on the lips hello. They proceed to pretend that they are not thinking about diving into the abyss together. They have a polite, normal dinner, make conversation...what have you been up to? And you? Then there’s an excuse for their fingertips to touch...and it starts. Their hands refuse to let go of each other. I like what you are doing there. Distracting? No, just feels really good. They stare at them, the hands, then at each other...not sure what to say, even with their eyes…Ready to go? Yes. They start walking and his hand finds hers. She has to take an unplanned breath. He lifts her hand and leads her into a graceful dance turn, and she is facing him and they dive. They kiss for a while, their mouths pressed so hard against each other that the lips stop moving. It’s good, really good. Again. He whispers, I do like kissing you. She says me too. They kiss and kiss. Their bodies get closer, slowly, gradually. The embrace tightens. He moans. She moans. His hands travel up her sides, as if to pick her up, and stop politely when they reach the sides of her breasts.

* * *

Before their next date he asks her to take a walk. They walk. He tells her he is still in love with his ex and plans to try to get her back.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Hearing someone she once wanted with every inch of her body, although maybe not her soul, say that she was a four-month-long-guilt-driven-fling slammed her to the ground. Everything stopped. She felt like she was standing on one of those plates spinning on sticks, caught in a block of cement. She was numb, unable to move or breathe. 

She pursued him for a year, then they went out for a month, then he hit the brakes, then he gave in and they went out for four months, then he shattered her heart and she cried harder than ever before or since, then he moved to her city and she fell again, full force, no hesitation, ready to start all over again. She wanted him. She always wanted him. But why? They didn't even have good conversations, which was always her metric for attraction. She was perpetually intimidated and nervous, and trying. Trying to win him over. It was a constant chase. And then she realized it wasn’t just about the chase. Crap. He was the only, or perhaps one of two guys whom she liked doing things to, not just what he did to her. He later said he felt he always gave more in bed than she did. 

Early days...spent the last three nights with him. They talk and spoon and kiss till four in the morning. He actually calls and texts these days. She is scared of getting close and getting her heart broken. But she can't stop. 

Beach. It's overcast, but nice. They meet at his place and he gives her an awkward hug hello. He is tall, very tall. She is not, not at all. His hugs feel forced. He sticks his chest out and it pushes her away. Tomorrow she will spend another night with him. 
She: “OK I am going to kiss you now.” 
She does.  
He laughs. 
She: “Stop laughing!”
He: “That was cute” 
She: “Well I wanted to do that all day, but you started the day with that awkward hug...”
He: “When did I do that? Come here.”
He twirls her. 
He: “Is that a little better?”
She: “You can't just twirl everything ok!”
He: ”But you are smiling”
Tomorrow they'll study together and maybe watch a movie. 

And then he breaks her heart. He hits the brakes, delivering the news as soon as they wake up. It’s Monday. 

Shameless pursuit. She becomes forward, determined, relentless, creative. She is hyper-aware of everything she does. She looks at herself through his eyes. Paying attention to how she walks in heels, how she bends over. Even the way she arranges her hands in her lap while sitting in the passenger seat next to him on the way to Salsa night is strategic. She is aware of how she laughs, how many degrees she turns her head, how she sounds while talking to other people when he is within earshot. She wants to sound kind and thoughtful, because thats what she loves in him. She sinks deeper into a marsh of mush whenever she sees him laugh. He closes his eyes so tightly when he laughs, like a little boy making a Birthday wish. 

Thursday is salsa night. She lives for those nights. She gets hysterically tense when there’s even a shadow of a possibility that it won’t happen. She is amazing on the dance floor. He watches every time. She leaves the club with someone else. He sees it, she hopes.

Concert. Standing room only. He is behind her, his hands are on her hips. They are dancing. 

Another Salsa Thursday. She dances like never before. Eight spins in a row. She is in heaven. People are asking him "who is that girl?"
She comes back to the table, out of breath, flushed, high, dizzy, beautiful, and happy. It's hot. 
He: It's probably cooler outside. Shall we? He takes her glass of wine and she follows him outside.   
He: “You looked amazing out there.”
She: “Thank you.” She could fly off the railing. Right that moment.
Wine and spins do not mix well. She feels sick. He drives her home. 
She: “Can you stay with me?” 
He hesitates a moment and then,
He: “Yes”. 
She gets back in the car so he can park. And, he kisses her. It's a good kiss, very good. He caresses her body all night, they have a good conversation and fall asleep. She still can't sleep when he is next to her. 

On the dance floor again. 
She: "You should stay over again" 
He: “It's a possibility” 
He doesn't. When she asks if it's because he is tired, he says mostly. 

At a classmate’s party. She gets up to leave, he takes her hand. 
He: “You are not walking alone. It's late”
He walks her. As they pass by his street, he says: "I'd ask you to stay over but I can't handle rejection tonight. 
She: “Is that a backhanded invitation?” He doesn't say anything. 
She: “Let's see if at the bottom of the hill I want to invite you over.”
They come to her door. 
He: “Should I even ask?”
She: “Let's see”
He: “Can I come up?”
She: “What do you want the answer to be? Truthfully”
He: “Yes”
They go up. They kiss and talk and touch. Topless. It's not great. It's awkward. She doesn't want him any more.

Another night together. It's late and they keep dozing off. They get closer. She stops.  
She: "It shouldn't happen like this. You mean more to me than this." 
He: "We tried abstaining from each others beds, and it makes our relationship superficial. I don't like that. It doesn't make sense to spend the next four months in a superficial relationship." 
She agrees. They fall asleep. 

Morning. It's good. Very good. He lies on top of her, a lot. He offers to go out for coffee. To avoid an awkward conversation she declines. 
She: “I should go.” 
He walks her to the door, and kisses her. She is over him. 

His place. It's getting late. Tomorrow is the 4th of July BBQ they are hosting at his place. 
She: “Oh shoot, I have to ice the cake for tomorrow. Walk me home?"

Endless ‘sushi + movie’ nights. They never finish the movies. She initiates the end of watching every time. Every morning she wakes up terrified, almost holding her breath, slowly turning to look at him, ready to hear: ”I can’t do this”. The projected screech of the brakes is deafening.

Thursday night, post dancing. Ice-wine, his bedroom, he photographs. Then the camera is suspended from a ceiling fan and they are intimate. She is wearing red.  

Thanksgiving. They go to his parents’ for dinner. She feels legitimate. He kisses her in his room. Two years later he will tell her that his family loved her. 

Christmas. He takes her to a ballet. They have dinner at a Greek restaurant.
He: “Let us go darling. We have a show to catch”
She is floating. 

Job offer. The job offer. She has to move. She doesn’t want to go. 
He: "I’ll fold you with my own two hands, pack you into a box and mail you there, if you don’t go. You can’t pass this up."
She: "If things were different....?"
He: "What do you think?"

Her last night there. They have sex. 
He: “It was as wonderful as I imagined it would be” 

She moves. They talk less.
He: “I am not moving mountains and that probably means something...” 

Three months pass. He comes to visit. Stays at her apartment with her. In her bed.  She is beside herself, ready to pick up where they left off at the airport in New York. He is distant. 

He goes out on a date while she cries in bed, harder than every before or since. 

She: “I think I loved you”
He: “I think I knew” 


A year passes. Their mutual friend: “Guess who is moving to New York!”

After sitting on her hands for a couple of days, she texts him. “Hey, welcome to New York. Let me know if you need anything.” 
He: “Yes, a salsa club and a partner please :) ” 

He remembers and brings up little things, inside jokes they used to have, some of which even she forgot. The one about the bed that would follow them around, so they would never have to get out of it. Or the one about the rule of ‘no clothes allowed’ when together. Brie puffs. He says that after she left, he used those as a litmus test for whether someone could make him happy. 

And then a street corner and she is spinning, in a block of cement. 

Email: Despite my stated uncertainty about our earlier relationship, I have no doubt in my mind that the smiles, laughter, brie puffs, beers, wine, walks, twirls and naughty bed behavior were all genuine, joyful and beautiful, from the beginning to the end. You had great effect, as you still do now. I share in delight in those memories as much as you do.

I admire at once your emotional depth, vulnerability and strength. I possibly failed at each of those last night. So I apologize again, first for being an inconsiderate and poor reflection of a previous intimate partner and more importantly at simultaneously failing to be a good friend. Though I don't expect and understand if you don't accept, I humbly submit my apologies.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reckless naked sprints

She loved him. She missed him, longed for him, ached for his warm velvety voice that brought her so much comfort when she was sick or just down. Hearing his voice on the phone... it was always on the phone... was like closing your eyes and taking the first sip of a truly amazing wine, or biting into the sweetest slice of watermelon on a warm summer day, or sinking into a comfy armchair next to a crackling fire at a cabin in the woods; with matching sweaters thrown in for good measure. You just want it to happen again and again. And it did. She heard his voice a lot. On the phone. There were no boundaries between them. No reservations, no fears, no brakes, no speed bumps. They were naked, exposed, desperately in love, sprinting towards each other recklessly. She could call him eleven times in a row without hesitation, and he drove sixteen hours nonstop to wish her Happy Birthday. She plotted with his mother how to break his legs so he wouldn’t have to go back to the front, and he stood at a pay phone calling her for thirty minutes straight, while she screened, thinking it was a prank caller. She cried all night when it became clear that her train to Savannah, to spend Thanksgiving with him, would not leave the station that day; he sent her purple tulips from the front. She named their children and daydreamed about coming back from work and running into him, Kristopher and Viktoria on their way back from a museum, where he had an assignment for his graduate art class; he crossed an expansive ballroom to ask her to dance. He was her boyfriend. She was going to marry him. It was conventional, understood by everyone, no stipulations, nothing to qualify or explain; a boyfriend. Except that they spent most of their time on the phone, talking about what they would do to and with each other once they were together; writing each other letters every day, sending each other pictures of the most mundane, but given the circumstances, most precious moments of their separate lives. They taught each other their respective languages, and fed each other. They cooked together and made the bed together. They watched The Sound of Music together...on the phone. It was a long f*****g movie. And, given the size and density of the cheese ball that she was, she loved telling everyone that he was the first and only guy with whom she experienced the proverbial “love at first site”. The mythical story went like this. A girl was having a post thanksgiving party at her house. Everyone was supposed to bring their leftovers, but brought dessert instead. So there there were, no food, 5 pies, and all guests present but one. The last guest brought curry and his best friend. She opened the door, he smiled, she took one look at him, he made sure she ate that night in addition to hosting. For two and a half years he owned her heart. And then she couldn’t take it any more. She wasn’t unhappy with him, she was unhappy without him. And she was without him a lot. Then she destroyed his heart. Then he came back from the front. And then he was asleep on her lap, in the back seat of their friend’s car. And then they were on the roof and she was once again so close to the warmth of his broad chest, where she once wanted to be so badly. But could they go back or move forward? The answer turned out to be no.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dark Chocolate

Stage One: Wide-eyed Wallflower.
He was impressive. Impressive indeed. ...He could be their future president, if they are lucky... She was at stage one of her very own brand of infatuation. “Wide eyed wallflower”. Too smitten to say anything, because the pressure to say something brilliant and funny and earth shatteringly profound and situation appropriate was too great. So great in fact that all hope for anything resembling a coherent sentence was lost. ...Nature clearly does not want me to procreate. Why else would it wire to me to default to this state any time I met someone I could potentially want to procreate with?... So she sits there, smiling widely and laughing profusely. Wondering when someone at the table will realize that she has not said anything in dozens of minutes. Analyzing the expression she is making with her own face. Her face is all she has now, because her brain and therefore mouth are paralyzed, void of words, void of thoughts, just void. Forever. Or...


Stage Two: Spear-eyed premature familiarity.
At this stage, the annoyance with Stage One gets the best of her and she focuses with all her might on getting out of it. And what’s a more suitable way to break through the awkward glass of wallflower greenhouse than by acting as if she’s known him forever and they are best buds who’ve been sharing secrets and braiding each other’s hair for dozens of months.


Stage three: Kind-eyed nurture and concern.
This is where conversation turns to family and siblings, nieces and nephews and holidays. Sometimes health issues or recent deaths in the family are also mentioned and her eyes begin to radiate care and concern.


Stage four: Shut-eyed daring leap.
Aside from the official, semi-scripted interview and a very brief post lunch chat, they had not had any conversations one on one. The prospect of it terrified her. She also couldn't help but picture a seemingly inevitable outcome. After a few feeble attempts to reach through the nervous haze that is her brain, for something intelligent to say to him, she will resign to watching him talk about a myriad of political and socioeconomic issues in various countries she will later have to look up on BBC News, blinking rarely, and maintaining a concerned and pensive look.

There she was, sitting under a canopy of exotic flowering trees, on a continent where she was not born nor lived, in a haze of slightly more wine than she intended to have, with thoughts such as "I can never complain about my life again, ever" impressing themselves onto her already overworked, over-tickled heart. She started thinking, what would she say to him if he was sitting across from her right now? Would she try to come up with the most innocent, evasive and safely convoluted way of telling him that he affected her? That she has been avoiding looking straight into his jet black thoughtful eyes, lest hers would give her away, and instead has been looking at his beautiful, sturdy proportions and wishing to find herself in his warm dark chocolate embrace? What time is it? How much time do I need to pack? Can I call the driver and... no, while sober, not going to see him seemed like the most correct decision. What’s the point? He lives an ocean, a continent and a couple of worlds away from me, and is deeply rooted and devoted to his. I firmly decided not to go see him when sober, and wine haze be damned! Or was I just avoiding becoming a wallflower again? No, I am tired, I need to pack, I shouldn't rush, I need to rest before the long trip home and plus I keep wanting to practice not going back on my original decisions, not to second-guess myself. It's 6:10, I could probably be packed, showered and ready to go by 7pm. Is that enough time?

"James, if we left in forty minutes, how much time would I have at the Guest House before we have to leave for the airport?"
"Well, we'd have to leave earlier, as the Guest House is further away from the airport than the hotel..."
"Oh, ok then"
"But you'll have about forty five minutes at the guest house, or more."
"OK I will be ready to go in 40 minutes" Oh. My. God.

And then...the leap.

"I was thinking we should have a proper goodbye, in person, instead of on the phone. Would you like to have a cup of tea? James can drop me off at the Guest House in forty minutes."

Friday, March 4, 2011

The man in a yellow shirt, with fish on it.

I walked in feeling preemptively guilty for getting one mint tea and plugging in my laptop. But since the guilt wasn't strong enough to combat my seemingly constant desire to recreate what I felt working at Crazy Mocha, I sat down. Of course to complete the Crazy Mocha experience, I'd have to find myself an unintentionally cruel boy, who could walk into the cafe at any moment, and capable of shattering my heart 3 times.  

Before I sat down...

"Are you looking for where to plug in, hon? That extension cord on the floor over there and that table in the corner are the only two spots",  a man in a yellow shirt with fish on it said. 
Oh man, I am sorry...I know you guys don't like it when... Oh! Is he actually showing me the only two spots where my laptop won't go hungry?

Some time later...

"Do you need more hot water for your tea?" OK wait, is he really encouraging me to not pay for another tea, but rather stick around, with my laptop and keep drinking the same cup of tea?

He is amazing, this man in a yellow shirt with fish on it. He floats between tables, effortlessly taking people's orders, asking how their babies are doing, how their new homes are treating them, refilling their cups and as always in my case, breaking my heart. He doesn't know about my lack of resilience to people for whom being human comes naturally. Good thing he wasn't wearing a cap and gown or holding a puppy. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Some "truth", some fiction, mostly words...

More and more I am becoming convinced that he is not for me. He and I simply lack the connection that comes with seeing the world from the same or similar angle. I used to be more than happy to tinker with my lens and adjust my view to his angle, cross over to his side of the street so to speak. I longed to be a part of his life, personally, socially and chronologically. I yearned to escape from between the lines, and to write my existence into his life with a thick, permanent marker. I was desperate for acknowledgement, for a label. Being defined nowhere but in "our own little world" ceased to suffice. The validity of his statement "it's there but it can't become", referring to a potential for us to be together, dissipated when I brought the realization that "it became" from our minds into the air. When we "broke up" for the first time...I was the one whose mouth spat out "I think we should just be friends, like we were before"...he said that it was very hard to admit to himself that he had feelings for me. I asked him to clarify what those feelings were exactly. "Lov", without the 'e'. That was what he felt towards me. He said it was hard to admit even that much to himself, since the impossibility of "us" glared at him with unwavering persistence.   

“Who am I kidding, you were never just a friend.” He said once. Later, he told me that he loved me. That was when we decided that it would be best for us to have no contact at all. What a day that was. Saying goodbye, acknowledging all the "lasts" that we were indulging in that afternoon and evening. Last time kissing him, last time talking to him, touching his face, hugging him and feeling his arms around me. "Complete envelopment", as he called it. God, the words! The words he said to me after our first official attempt to re-enter the platonic realm. I made a list in my journal of every loving, romantic thing he ever said to me. Among those was "you are amazing."

I still wear the ring he gave me during the summer, after the first "break up." We were walking down a narrow Village street, coming back from a sushi place. It was getting dark, or was it dark already? I stopped by one of those jewelry stands and zoomed in on the rings. He pointed one out to me. I looked at it. It was the feminine version of the ring he always wore: modern...edgy...fashionable. I tried it on....asked:"Do you like it?" He said he wouldn't have pointed it out to me if he didn't like it. Then the words came...can i buy it for you?...i was ecstatic...He gave me a ring. That ring was assigned the meaning of "what we had". It was my suggestion, and he liked it. He said now you'll know what i am thinking every time i turn it on your finger. I still can't take it off.

New York...will always be associated with him. In the beginning, the city “covered for us." Numerous museums, theaters and galleries were conveniently public and educational, thus providing us with an excuse to meet. “I like to show people new things they have not been exposed to,” he said. Funny, about three years later, when i offered to go to a museum he refused. I am all "museum-ed out", he said. The Christmas Eve we spent together was pretty much perfect. It was literally a scene out of a movie. Just the way i like it. Fortunately, our relationship has reached a point where i could kiss him any time i wanted to, or look at him in the way that made him feel like he couldn't help but kiss me. I did, and he did. We kissed by "The tree"...he kissed me in a cab; literally shut me up in the middle of a sentence. It was wonderful. That day we went to my favorite cafe, Danal. It has this very Vermont, ski lodge feel to it. Perfect at Christmas time. Then we went to see the Armani collection at Whitney. “Chocolat”...a movie we saw after the museum. We concluded the day...oh wait, we also went to see "The Tree", something we did the year before as well. We concluded the day at "Rain" - a very upscale Asian restaurant in Midtown. There he informed me that his ex-girlfriend is coming to New York and looks forward to "really" having fun, living it up. He was to be her tour guide. I became cold and stiff. I played with the candle on our table...said nothing. "I'll finally meet Chuck the truck driver... her boyfriend", he said. 


A few days earlier, when I came over to his place...and brought the gifts I prepared for him.....I did this thing where I made him close his eyes.....and then I put a bow on my head and stood in front of him...”Open your eyes” I said...he did. "it's the perfect size, i love it!.....I love you" That was the first time he ever said that to me. I couldn't say it back... i didn’t for a long time. When I did say it to him, I still didn’t know what it meant to love somebody. I mean do I love him, if I worry when he drives in the rain, and my heart flutters when he laughs or smiles, but I don't want to spend my life with him, because we run out of things to talk about?

That Christmas Eve, at the end of the amazing day...i got a glimpse of the missing "e" in the love that he felt. Details are unnecessary. I call the incident "He took it back".

He adored me...admired me like a painting...looked at me mesmerized...touched with fascination...even on the street....we'd be walking side by side through a street fair, and he'd touch my arm, run his fingers up and down, squeeze it a little....and say something like..."God you are so touchable" an insatiable way....funny...before we got into the physical part of our relationship, during the “paranoid” stage, the main stretch of the relationship really, we really made the hugs count.....because that's as much as we allowed ourselves to do, as far as we could go. I remember the first time....we "really" hugged....we were at the Lilith Fair....Sarah McLachlan's “Angel” was playing...stars above, all around was perfect. I also remember the first time I hugged him around the neck....I said..."I've wanted to do this for a long time" or something to that effect, and threw my arms around his neck. It was sort of a "brave, blatant" hug, first of its kind for us. He once told me not to get a nose ring...because it'd be like messing with a Picasso. He was always amazed by my and out.

He was my fantasy...he always had the starring role in my scenarios of the future...he was my future for a while...Sometimes I actually can feel the physical longing to be with be touched by him and to touch kiss him.... to spoon....spooning was a thing with us.....before we did anything was sort of like hugging.....definitely not taken for many times, while in bed about to go to sleep, i would imagine him lying next to me....hugging me....spooning...resting his hand on my wrist. He was many firsts for me...every one of them was a wonderful experience, beautiful, timely...I’ll go into those at a later time i suppose.

Our relationship has gone through so many changes during the years that we knew each other...I myself went through major changes during that time as well...changes in the relationship occurred because of the changes in me. In the beginning i was paranoid, unsure of whether I should be doing what i was doing...which was nothing...really nothing...maybe i was scared of the feelings that i had for him....i am not sure.....but most of the time i had a paralyzing sense of guilt. At one became too much for me...and i told him about that feeling...and he said that it's best for us not to hang out any more. That lasted for about 6 was unbearable.

There was a pattern my emotions went through prior to every one of our meetings in the beginning. First the intoxicating excitement, euphoria. Then on the night before the rendezvous, excitement abruptly subsided, and unsettling apathy set in. Did I blow a fuse? Then the meeting. Then the trip home, sinking in quicksand of dreams and fantasies. The first time we ever went anywhere, the time from which I counted our “anniversaries”, was on March 10th. We went to MoMA. Several weeks earlier, we were emailing back and forth and he mentioned an exhibit that was going to take place there. Couple of weeks later, I mentioned that I was going to go see that exhibit on March 10th. He asked what time I was going, I told him...what followed was the first time I felt complete absence of breath in my body for an instant...his reply consisted of the following phrase: ”I’ll be inside the main doors at one.” Not to inject this with too grand a meaning, but that was one of our beginnings. The other was when he gave me his business card with his email written on the back. And yet another...well never mind. I still have the card. A very sentimental move, granted. If that’s not bad enough, I still have in my possession the Pooh Band-Aid he bought for me when I hurt my finger in his car. We were driving along, and I was doing something , trying to buckle up I think, and somehow hurt myself. Of course “oh, ah, ouch, etc” followed. He parks the car, gets out and walks away. I wait. He comes back with a box of Band-Aid’s. Still have the tissues he gave me to ensure that the tears produced while watching “It’s a Beautiful Life” had something to fall on. Still have many things, too many.

I remember we were watching a movie I brought, spooning...every once in a while he would reach over and kiss my shoulder, that stuck with me. I remember the soft yellow candle light...he likes candles...remember the Christmas songs...dancing....the “I love it! I love you.” The red box of jasmine scented candles for Valentine’s of me on his fridge...eating ice cream without a spoon. Ice-cream was a thing with us too. Drive-through Dairy Barn before every visit, Physh Food, Dulce de Leche...

It used to make me physically sick, nauseated, I could feel my stomach rotting, turning, doing all sorts of unnecessarily exaggerated movements, whenever I heard, imagined, saw, or had any other indication of him being with someone else.

The thing is...during the whole time that I had feelings for him...he was always with someone else....while he and I would have these "moments" he was never "mine"...officially. Consistently between the lines, never the actual print. Spaces between the lines were screaming all sorts of unsaid words.... unexpressed emotions...He would look at me...and I would say..."what?", and he would reply....."I can just look at you". After a while, my actions, my behavior around him had a distinct undercurrent, a subconscious purpose...that purpose was to define, to make him free the words from between the lines...

Especially this one girl...his last girlfriend of one year...She cheated on him for half that time. I don’t know what it was, but every time I heard about her, and I did hear about her, I felt my chest tightening so hard, that distinctions between cells were rendered nearly irrelevant. The first time he told me that he had been with someone else during the whole time we were together I had periods of what I called spontaneous combustion. I would start crying right where I was, while brushing teeth, crossing the street, pouring tea. He later mentioned that all three times, (twice each time) they "were together” (I could, and would like to use some stronger words here, but I will leave it at “together”). Anyway, he mentioned that he saw her only while he and I were...I don’t remember the exact way he worded it, while we were in one of our “I think we should cool it of ” periods. Ironically, knowing that fact made the whole thing more difficult to bear. A chronological technicality undermined by right to be devastated. Although there were weeks between our times of intimacy and theirs, no matter how tightly I closed my eyes, or how hard I pressed my fingers against closed lids, I still could not will out of the mind images of them being close, kissing, caressing, whimpering, pulsating in unison, shutting their eyes during moments of explosive intensity, him running his fingers through her hair, sometimes gently, sometimes with force he didn't try to control, gliding his tongue everywhere, all over her body. That slut. I shouldn’t be mad at her. After all, I know her “deal”. "I did tell you her deal, didn’t I?" he said to me. "She doesn’t want kids, or a relationship, just sex. Did you expect me to never have sex again? I am sorry, I truly am. I shouldn’t have done that."

The thing is... it’s him. And it doesn’t matter whether he slept with her while we were together or not. The bottom line is, even when we were, together, if she came to him and said you can have me right now, right here, nothing would stop him. Our relationship had no rules, no names, no definitions. It was "unconventional." Even after he said that he loved me and after all the intimate moments we shared, he was still single. The truth is, I guess I was too. Officially. I went out on dates and even made an attempt at having a boyfriend. Of course my heart was not in any of that. In some ways I felt married to him. It was nice to have him in my thoughts every night before falling asleep. He was my “last call of the day”. Whenever I felt “bad”, blue, down, I would just go to him in my mind. Or remind myself that he loved me, that he was thinking about me, missing me. It was like an old overstuffed armchair I could sink into at the end of the day. The armchair was there whenever the situation I was in had to be departed from.

A sense of clarity graced me with its presence recently. I realized what was missing in our relationship. To put this succinctly (I think I learned this word from him), I felt loved and amazing, but not used. I was “collecting dust”. I felt that he loved me, adored me even, knew that I was intelligent, and was incredibly impressed by that. He kept saying how smart and amazing I was, but that’s where it stopped. A mere observation. And how much further could it really go? I mean what more do I want? Do I want something that only I can give myself? Do I expect too much from him?

Here is a theory I came up with a while ago. During the whole time we knew each other, all I wanted was for him to finally tell me how he felt about me. Since he couldn’t just say it because he “could only look at me”, I was left to my own devices to decipher what was behind the longing stares. I became quite good at filling in the blanks, at finding the explanations. Whether accurate or not, they were certainly precise and detailed. For years, I decoded, and frequently embellished what I "saw."

No one has ever touched me the way he did...does...did. His touch screams “I am in awe of you”, his kisses moan “you are incredible”, his eyes whisper “you are amazing, I adore you”. "his cupping of my face in his hands" also whispers "I adore you". I am “The one he loves to breath in.” The closest to his ideal, hottest girl he’s ever known, his most erotic moments. Have I been looking at those statements through a magnifying glass? Did I give them more meaning than they had? Is bringing them to their natural, possibly dismal dimensions the way to move on? “I love those arms. I will now look for places I haven’t kissed yet. "I remember exactly where I was when you called to tell me about your piercing”. Is it my lack of experience that’s responsible for the ease with which I “melt” upon hearing these things? After all, they are just words. Series of meaningful looks, intoxicating words, with rare occasions of actions to back all that up. I sharpened my ability to explain and excuse the infrequency of the action part of the whole thing via reiterating various reasons that seemed very logical, and natural, almost to a fault. I got myself hooked on verbal indulgence. I was content with living in a dream, feeding on a fantasy. Funny combination, his words were empowering and crippling at the same time. They gave me amazing confidence while pulling me deeper into the abyss of hollow pleasure.


Saturday, October 31, 2009


It happened again. This time the strike came at San Francisco International Airport. I was going through my usual airport routine. Check in. Bag on the scale.

"Have a nice flight."

I was a little distracted.  My attention and in fact imagination were captivated by a family, whom I first saw while checking in and who now once again were standing some insignificant distance to my left. What struck me about them was how much they were obviously enjoying each other's company on this early morning, in a line liked by few. There they were, three cheerful faces. A handsomely dressed dad, with an air of a rock star at the sunset of his fame. A beautiful, fit beyond her years mom with a perfectly blown out blond coif. It's worth remembering now that it is still 7:30 am at an airport. Finally, a teenage son, residing within normal levels of teenage sulkiness, with an unruly mop of dirty blond curls spilling out of his baseball hat.
The three of them were completely at ease, cheerful even. You'd think they were standing in line to buy ice cream cones on a boardwalk, not at an airport being forced to remove their shoes and greet a floor covered with unknown substances of various textures and scents. Beautiful blond mom was smiling at the scruffy rocker dad. Dad was teasingly pinching his son's also somewhat scruffy cheek. It looked as if the three of them were traveling in a their very own bubble of happy. A bubble full of funny stories from blond mom and rocker dad's early dating days filled with daring adventures they did not abandon even after the curly haired, acceptably grumpy teenager was born.

"Thank you." 

Some walking. Security check line. Appropriately heeled shoe off. Hefty cast off. Both in a bin. Bin moving in the direction of the x-ray machine.

"Are you OK walking without that on?"

It took me a few moments to realize someone was addressing me. I turned around and looked at the uniformed woman's face. She looked peacefully concerned. It is worth noting that this was not my first time flying with the cast. We had a wonderful vacation in Dominican Republic a year earlier, and a couple of prior business trips to San Francisco. However, this was the very first time someone asked if I was OK walking without it. I was floored. I quickly responded yes and started to walk towards the occasionally beeping gate. 

Then, something stopped me. I turned around and said to the woman:

"I really appreciate you asking me. Thank you." 

She gave me a small smile and for a moment we were in a bubble of our own. This bubble was filled with unexpected kindness and surprised gratitude. In that bubble we were not assistant and passanger. We were just two people, one in distress and the other taking note and care.