It’s been three days since you left my apartment, and despite the now unavoidable finality of our break-up, I can’t stop being reminded of you in everything I see and do.
I see it in the normal things.
Like when I walk by Think Coffee in Union Square where we had our first date and remember that initial jolt of excitement I felt with you, that harbinger of having finally found the right guy…even though you turned out to be a right guy instead of the right guy.
Or it’s when I walk by a Dunkin’ Donuts and think of our old Sunday morning tradition of getting large iced coffees and splitting a half-dozen doughnuts. I remember how you’d always guzzle your coffee down like if you didn’t get the caffeine in your system ASAP you’d go into some sort of coma. And I’d always sip at mine so slowly that the ice would completely melt before I finished, leaving the last third of it a weakened-by-water concoction that I’d end up pouring down the drain. We’d always order Boston Cream donuts in our half-dozen. One for each of us. Then you’d get a blueberry cake (which I hated) and I’d get a chocolate cake (which you hated) and the last two would always be a toss-up.
Also, when I think of the soon-to-be triumphant return of Olivia Pope in all her white-hat-wearing fierceness. What I’m sure is going to be a phenomenal third season of Scandal starts on October 3rd. I got you addicted in the first place (you’re welcome), and now I don’t have anyone to watch and gasp over it with.
And I remember you whenever I go to Fairway to shop for groceries. I’m going to the one in the Upper East Side now while yours is on the West Side, but still. Every time I pick up their delicious, fresh baguettes and some cheese, there you are popping into my mind. We always had the best little cheese nights. We’d go to Fairway and grab three or four different kinds of cheese. Then we’d go back to your place and just pig out. It was always so delicious. I mean, is there anything better than cheese and bread? Maybe when you add some honey to the mix. But only with certain cheeses. Nothing quite compares to the simplicity of just the cheese and bread on its own.
(The good news is that I’ll probably lose a few pounds just from not having those Sunday morning donuts or those cheese platters with you any more.)
See. I have all of these perfectly normal memory triggers for you. They’re places we went on dates, foods we ate together, TV shows we watched. They all make sense and I expected them.
But there are also these weird triggers I keep coming across. It’s these strange places I see you that always get to me.
For example, I was finishing up the latest David Sedaris book the other day, the first time I’ve read any of his essay collections. (It was funny enough, but I had high expectations and I think that after so many essays, he’s already told most of his really great stories. I’ll definitely have to go back and read some of his earlier work. But that’s beside the point.)
In this particular book I was reading, the last essay dealt with David Sedaris getting his first colonoscopy. Which, of course, triggered a memory of you. You lying there in your little hospital gown so doped up and cute, needing me to come pick you up and take you home. The little Styrofoam cup they gave you to drink water out of and how the nurses weren’t very good at refilling it. When you flashed both me and the nurse and said it was alright, that I’d seen it all before. How we stopped for Subway sandwiches after leaving the hospital because you were starving. The traffic and how abysmal it was to get uptown to your apartment in that cab. And the heat that day! We were sweating hard as we sat stock-still in the taxi, trying to make it to the West Side Highway to get up to your place.
And the whole time you were loopy as hell sitting next to me, lost in your own little drug-fueled daze. (I now understand a little better just how amazing you were feeling that day. David Sedaris talks about the colonoscopy meds being the best drugs he’s ever been on in his life. How they give you the most amazing high!) Then finally I got you to your apartment and got you into bed. I had to run off right after that. I had to get all the way back downtown to the LES for a kickball game. But you were okay. You were just going to pass out and have a good long nap.
It was sweet that day, taking care of you. I felt like a real couple. You needed me and I was there for you. I was like your emergency contact. Your partner. At the time I thought it foretold a good future for you and me. A long and happy one together…I guess I was wrong.
But don’t you think it’s strange? This whole memory comes flooding back to me all because I read a book. I wouldn’t have expected that.
Like I said. Weird triggers.