Month: January 2014

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 (Part 3)

Meredith and I finished our lunch and decided we’d walk over to Milk Bar and get dessert. I’d never had it before, so I was excited to try. They have this cereal milk ice cream that’s supposed to be amazing. (And for the record, that’s the first ice cream I’ve had since you broke up with me. I made it an entire day. That takes strength.)

As we walked across town, Meredith and I continued talking. I think we’d actually managed to find a topic not related to my break-up. And then we walked by Think Coffee, and it all came back to me.

That’s where we had our first date.

I was super nervous meeting you for the first time that day. It was actually the second time, but we had only said like two things to each other the night before at the bar when we’d actually met.

“You’re cute.”

“So are you.”

“Can I have your number?”

And you’d given me your number. We’d texted back and forth at 4AM that morning and set up a date for that afternoon. I was excited. I hadn’t been on a proper date in forever it seemed. We decided to meet at Think Coffee, the one just off Union Square. I was living in Brooklyn at the time and you were in Spanish Harlem. We were kind of meeting in the middle. And I had an Oscars party to get to later that night in the area. So it worked out doubly for me.

I got there first. I’m a perpetually early person, as you know. I ordered a coffee and found a table. I hoped that you’d recognize me from the night before. It had been so dark then.

It was February 26th, 2012 that day. Cold out. I had worn a sweater that afternoon, and was beginning to regret my decision as I waited for you to get there. It was so damn cozy in that coffee shop. I was starting to overheat.

Then you arrived. And you looked even better than you had the night before. Your hair was all done up and you were wearing this super cute pair of khaki pants that you’d cuffed at the bottom. They made your ass look really good, too. And you had on these super cute brown boots. Like the casual kind, not too bulky and not too dressy. You looked comfortable and warm, like the kind of guy I’d want to know. And you sat down across from me and I just knew there was going to be something between us.

My biggest fear was that you were going to say you were an actor. That seems to be my type. Poor, out-of-work actors, struggling to get by, waiting for that big break that never comes. I think it’s because I like pretty boys. They all think they can be actors.

But refreshingly, you weren’t. You worked in advertising. (Praise the Lord!) A man with a real job. A professional who I could count on to pay for dinner and drinks every now and then. You have no idea what a relief that was for me. Not that I don’t like struggling actors or wouldn’t have dated you if you had been one. It’s just not who I prefer to date. They’re good for a drink or two, a blow job or a couple of rounds of sex. But that’s about it in my experience.

So our first date started out well. The conversation was flowing; we were laughing and really enjoying ourselves. You were a swimmer just like me, though you were definitely faster. I had qualified for State a few times in high school, but you had swum in the finals. Way better than my twentieth-place finishes.

I love first dates. I love knowing absolutely nothing about a person and then slowly finding everything out. I always liken it to collecting stories, only I like to collect people and their experiences. That day, you were my latest find.

We talked for what had to be hours. Long enough that our coffee cups had been empty for quite some time, long enough for the sun to start its descent back to the horizon. It was time to go. The date was over. But it wasn’t. We walked out of Think Coffee and decided to grab a quick bite to eat.

We wandered up to Union Square. I used to work in that area, so I hoped that I could find us a restaurant. But I couldn’t. At least not anything that wasn’t chain-y. We ended up going to a little vegan place. It was Sunday so I guess a lot of things were closed because both of us love eating meat. I don’t even remember what we ordered. Something with beans. Maybe it was some kind of lentil soup? The food was all kind of blah and overcooked. Mushy. It’s what I associate vegan food with now. (Like that horrible place Tina Fey goes to in Baby Mama, a movie we watched together.)

That didn’t matter, though. At least not to me. I only cared about spending more time with you. Clearly we were hitting it off. If we hadn’t been, we wouldn’t be sitting together managing to stomach vegan food four hours after our coffee date started.

You excited me. You were a real quality guy. Attractive, confident, polite, professional, funny, kind, warm. There are so many wonderful adjectives to describe you with. And you were on a date with me…I felt so lucky.

I had to head out when we finished the vegan food. I was already half an hour late for my Oscars party. I’d felt my pocket vibrating a few times during our impromptu dinner. My friends wondering where I was. Wondering how my date had gone. “Wonderful!” I wanted to tell them. “This guy’s a keeper.” (And you were. Apparently it was me who wasn’t worth keeping.)

We walked back towards the subway together. And there in Union Square, on that cold February evening, we had our first kiss.

I can only describe it as magical. Everything you can possibly want in a first kiss. We didn’t discuss it happening. (Before the date even started I had planned not to kiss you. I didn’t want to seem too forward.) It just happened. Intuitively, we knew what the other wanted. Standing outside the Northwest subway entrance in Union Square we both leaned in and kissed. I put my hand firmly on the small of your back and held you there, you put your hand on my arm and squeezed affectionately.

Later you’d tell me that my hand on your back had sealed the deal for you. Maybe you thought it spoke to my confidence, my manliness, that I could hold you firmly and still kiss you so tenderly. I’m not really sure why my hand went there. I wasn’t thinking, not in that moment. I was acting, letting my subconscious lead me. I guess it knew exactly what you wanted. And I’m glad it did. Or maybe we wouldn’t have had our year-and-a-half together. Maybe our first kiss wouldn’t have been so spectacular. When our lips touched I felt immediate sparks. It was romantic and beautiful. Electrifying and crisp. What potential we had.

But then I guess every relationship starts with potential. What I wouldn’t give to go back and relive that day now. We had so many firsts that night. Our first date, our first coffee, our first dinner, our first kiss, our first goodbye. And isn’t there something magnificent about firsts? Something you only get to experience once. Because the next time becomes your second and then your third and fourth and eventually it loses all of its power and wonder.

Firsts and, I guess, lasts. Those are the important ones to hold on to.

What’s sad is I remember our first kiss so poignantly, but I can’t remember our last. Did we kiss before we ate dinner the night you broke up with me? After? I don’t know.

Meredith and I finally got to Milk Bar and I had my ice cream. It was as delicious as I’d heard. Then we found a bench on 7th Street or somewhere near there and we sat and talked some more.

I was supposed to meet Scott that night. We had plans to go out. I’d brought along that bottle of Irish whiskey you’d given me to pre-game with. Meredith and I decided to break it open early, though. We sat there on 7th Street and took turns taking swigs. Meredith even asked the random guy next to us (he was dressed like a hipster straight out of Williamsburg) if he was an undercover cop. Just to be sure. He wasn’t.

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Saturday, August 17th, 2013 (Part 2)

I had plans to meet my good friend Meredith this afternoon. You’ve met her at least once. I know her through this post-graduate program I did at NYU the first summer I lived in New York. Then she interned at my company for a while and got a job at one of our competitors. So we’re industry friends. She didn’t know that you had broken up with me. Not until I met her and told her in person. She immediately gave me a hug and we walked through Union Square holding hands. (I take back that good friend moniker. She’s a great friend.)

We found a quiet little burger shop to have lunch in and she let me spill. I’ve never met a better listener, or a better advice-giver. She’s been with her boyfriend for seven years. And despite that, she still has so much relationship experience it’s unbelievable. She’s had like eight different boyfriends. I don’t think she’s been single since she turned sixteen.

The first thing we talked about? When you called our relationship an “adventure.”

An adventure? That’s what you considered a year and a half spent together? I wanted to write off your poor word choice as something in the moment that you didn’t really mean. You were nervous, grasping at what to say and how to say it. So you said what popped into your mind first.

Except, isn’t that a psychology test they do? Word association or something? The moderator says a word and you say whatever pops into your head first. Aren’t those word choices supposed to mean something, to say something about you and how your mind puts things together? Wasn’t that exactly what you had done? I flashed the word “relationship” at you and you thought “adventure.”

Adventure…the word still rings in my ears. Like we were some kind of weekend lovers. We met serendipitously in an airport while we both were laying over and ended up fucking in the bathroom. That’s what I consider an adventure. What we had – a year and a half together – that’s a commitment.

Meredith agreed with me. But she had a theory of her own. One that I’d also harbored, though I didn’t want to think about it.

She wondered if maybe you’d met someone else. And that’s why you ended things so suddenly without an explanation. Because what explanation can you give for cheating on someone? How do you soften that blow? How do you come out as a good guy?

It seemed farfetched. Totally unlike you. We were in love. You’d never cheat on me. But then I remembered my second boyfriend. I may not have told the whole truth about how we broke up.

Like I said earlier, my second boyfriend and I were in a long-distance relationship. We hardly ever talked and we didn’t have plans on seeing each other. I was super unhappy and wanted to end things. But ending things is a lot harder than you might think. (Or perhaps you know that now.)

I had planned on breaking up with him two weekends before I actually pulled the trigger. I had gotten on the phone and called him and talked to him for thirty minutes each time. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. He’d have had a hard and exhausting day on the set. Or he had to drive from one location to another carrying props or cast members or whatever it is PAs do. He always seemed stressed on the phone. And so I didn’t break up with him those first two times.

Then I met someone. I had been unhappy for a couple of months at that point. In my entire first year in New York, I had been to a gay bar once. How sad is that? You could never live that way. I was a hermit, chained to my boyfriend off in L.A. And then my college friend had a very attractive gay friend visiting from out of town. He was tall (taller than me) and lean and muscular. He liked sports and had sung in an a cappella group in college. Pretty much a dream guy for me.

I ended up going to dinner with my friend and his gay friend. I hit it off really well with the gay friend. I didn’t do anything that night, though I wanted to. I controlled my impulses. He even knew that I had a boyfriend, albeit a long-distance one who I was unhappy with. I might have even told the guy that I was planning on breaking up with my boyfriend. My memory fails me on the specifics.

But later that week we ended up going out together again. He actually told my friend to invite me. One thing led to another and I ended up spending my Thursday night in a hotel room just off Times Square.

And it was great! It’s what I needed to get me out of my rut. That next night I called up my boyfriend and broke up with him. I didn’t tell him that I had cheated because I didn’t want to hurt him any more than I already had. Talk about rubbing salt in a wound. The guy I cheated with went back to Chicago or wherever he was from and that was that. Sure, I liked him, but he was just a fun hook-up. After a year and a half in a relationship, I was more than ready to be single.

I tell you this story to say that if you did cheat on me with someone else, I understand. I’ve been there. You were probably unhappy for a while and didn’t know how to tell me. You had just taken a couple of beach trips the month before you broke up with me. The first was to Fire Island with a bunch of your friends. I don’t think anything happened there, but it is the gay beach to go to. Then the weekend before you broke up with me you went out to the Hamptons. This is what worried me.

You were at the Hamptons for a weekend with one of your work friends. You guys had a big house with lots of beds. You even told me that you’d lucked out and gotten a room to yourself. Listening to Meredith’s suspicion, maybe you had met someone. Maybe the chef you’d talked so highly of when you came back. The one who made ten thousand dollars to cook four meals over the weekend for the house. Had you slept with him? Again, I don’t think you’re the kind of guy who would do that. But I also didn’t think you would walk out on a relationship – I mean “adventure” – with two sentences and no explanation.