“So how was New York?” Julie asked me. Julie was blond hair, jean jacket and laid back Portland cool.
“Awesome!” We were at Mint, what we thought was going to be an upscale dinner place, but was really just a bar that seemed to be losing it’s fancy ness. Julie had a discount through her job at a big corporation downtown.
We were at a corner table near the door and street. We ordered a burger (me) and fish and chips (Julie). We thought we would be able to order something fancy besides bar food. We ordered fancy mock tails in sugar covered rim glasses instead. The sign outside was rusting. The upholstery on our seats was fine.
I gave her a mini-synopsis of the whole tom feeding me sausages and sauerkraut/fucking/watching snl/him sending me off with homemade chicken soup episode. I told her I was disappointed we only hung out one time. I gave her the “he was too tired/had a friend from out of town/I think they were fucking rundown too.”
“Look at this woman,” I got my phone out of the coach bag my dad got my for my birthday, brought up Tom’s Facebook page and the friend from out of town who turned out to be a gorgeous blond woman who had tagged herself in several photos with him.
“How do you know they were fucking?”
“I don’t but he was hosting her.”
“You can’t really tell by the photos,” tom was at the cloisters and there he was side by side with her in a park. I had gone to the cloisters by myself and posted pictures of the unicorn wall coverings on Facebook. I wondered if he had seen my Facebook page and decided to go.
“He’s really cute though.” Julie said.
“I know. He’s like the hottest person I’ve ever been with. He remembers you. Here’s what he looked like in 2003 when you would have met him.”
What I didn’t tell Julie: I wanted to convert to Judaism and have babies with him.
I wake up on a rainy Friday and wonder if I will ever get back to my old writing routine. It’s easier to stay in bed and write on my notepad on my iPhone than to sit at the computer and type. The bed is warmer, most importantly. I used to sit on my couch in the living room and type on my laptop covered with blankets. I converted the second bedroom into my home office in may. I use it to do billing and write reports work but usually after I’ve had morning coffee and in the late morning or afternoon.
I spend so much time analyzing and feeling bad about my writing habits instead of looking at the facts:
1. I’m in the middle of three writing projects:
A. The yellow blanket that is nearing completion
B the second manuscript that is in early draft
C the third manuscript that’s really just a fetus at 24 pages
2. I’m always writing in some form or another:
In long hand, on the notepad, editing on my laptop.
3. I read like a crazy person: I read two books in New York and started two more. When i came back to portland on Monday I had a book on hold at the library. I started to read that book too. To be a good writer you have to be a reader too.
4. My writing community has changed in the last six months: I go to a ton of readings around town and meet writers. I’m literally surrounding myself with writing.
5. I have to tell myself: I’m solid. I got this. Writing will never leave me
Back in 1997 I felt like a big fraud riding the subway. It was my first visit to New York and I was freaked out. Big time. Flying into JFK on a Friday night my friend Yoshi picked me up and I was scared. It was the big city. Yoshi had spent six weeks in New York already as an intern for the United Nations. She was from Michigan but has had enough time to get situated. She knew her way around. I didn’t. Yoshi and I spent a day or two looking around: going to Houston street, Barnes and noble and other places I can’t remember. She was living in bayridge and we took the r train into manhattan.
On a Monday she had to go into work and I was supposed to meet up with her later in the day. She had given me directions to the subway stop and I knew which train to get on. She had made the mistake of telling me a priest had been stabbed in the subway just a few weeks earlier. This was mid-Giuliani when he was cleaning up Times Square but it was still gritty. It was mid-Disneyification. I waited at the subway stop terrified I would get stabbed. I made it into the city. Probably getting lost once or twice. She worked across the street from the United Nations and I got there an hour early. She was mad so I went out and killed time. Honestly, I don’t remember what I did. I probably took it very personally. Back in those days I was fragile. I felt out of place and uncool. Everyone on the subway was dressed better than me. I looked like a dolt in my khaki shorts that were probably too big. Back in those days I wore everything baggy. Today I can say I really looked like a dork. Big time.
Tomorrow morning bright and early I leave New York once again. This is my tenth or eleventh trip to New York City since 1997. Every time i come to New York I’ve explored something new: a different neighborhood, museum, food. This time around I stayed in lefferts Gardens right on the border of prospect park aka stroller land. I made my self stay in Brooklyn again. I explored lots of neighborhoods: prospect park, boerum hill, red hook, and Flatbush. Each neighborhood different. I was glad to get away from the pavement land of manhattan. I still heard honking and taxis but the park and botanical garden were nearby. Beauty.
I rarely get lost where ever I go. I know the subways now. Way better than when I stood on a platform in Bayridge, Brooklyn in 1997 waiting for a train to take me to Manhattan.
Every once in a while I have these moments where I can breath and relax. I can count the number of times on my hands. I relax and just breath and know everything will be ok. My permaanxiety is always there: pushing like a hand on my back. Cross the street faster, gogogogo, don’t relax, don’t breathe. It’s like this: I worry I’m gonna be called out as some sort of fake. Someone will discover me. Find me out.
It happened a few days ago on my second day of vacation too. I can’t remember what was happening or where I was. It was this sensation. My shoulders relaxed, my head felt clear and that rushrushrush feeling was gone. It was odd because I was in New York City the rushing capital of the USA.
Toms head was on my shoulder. We were in bed. It was Monday morning after we fucked ourselves silly. I played with his thick brown curly hair. It smelled greasy which was odd since he was super clean. Cleaner than me. He read something about film theory on his iPad. I sort of read along while I stroked his hair. This was what I missed about being in a relationship. Lazing around, being next to someone, half reading/not reading even if their hair smelled bad. The boyfriend/non-boyfriend and I never did that. The last person I really did that with was “B”and that was years and years ago-2002 to be exact.
Maia and I hung out on Monday at 3pm. It was a few hours after I had left Tom’s house in Murrayhill. I met her in union square and walked to an Italian restaurant nearby that was two floors and ala cart style. You could order salad, pasta and bread separately. I ordered a Niçoise salad – something id gotten in the habit of ordering back when I was hanging out with the medical economist, a guy I had dated on and off for a few months. Maia and talked about Tom. I was realizing that i missed being in relationship with someone. Maybe Tom wasn’t the one. But he made me realize i missed having a relationship.
“I had some really dumb cat names when I was a kid,” Tom was in his kitchen making chicken soup on the stove.
“Like what?” I was sitting at his makeshift bar two feet from the stove. I had just arrived at his Murrayhill studio apartment after getting up early and flying all day. I had been in New York for five hours.
“TH and PR. TH was short for toilet head and PR for purr.” He was cooking some sausage in a pan next to the soup for me. I was starving after only eating kind bars, carrots and almonds all day during my flight.
“Those are pretty bad.”
“There were even more .”
“How many cats did you have?” I took a drink of water. I was also dehydrated as fuck.
“There were a lot because we were in the country and a lot them got picked off by coyotes.” He pulled sauerkraut out of the fridge.
“It funny. I was doing an informational interview for a client who was interested in 3-d modeling and the guy who she was interviewing was from some small town like canby or Molalla.”
“Molalla?” Tom was confused.
“It’s a small town outside of Salem.”
“So the guy was going on about whidbey island and what a weird place.”
“It is a weird place but what specifically was he saying was weird?” He put the sausages on my plate. Tom was from whidbey island, had moved around from Delaware to Portland where I met him in 2003 to New York where he’d lived for ten years.
“The island life and the fact that there’s a military base there.”
“The military base is on the north end and it’s more conservative up there. The southern part is more hippy dippy. I think there are a lot of elements of twin peaks there too. I think that’s why Iiked that show so much.” Tom put the sausages on a plate and handed me jars of sauerkraut and mustard. I liked when people cooked for me.
“I liked that show too,” I spooned out mustard and sauerkraut onto my plate.
After eating sausages and sauerkraut Tom leaned in to kiss me. He looked me in the eyes. That’s what I liked about Tom. We kissed for a few minutes facing each other in his bar chairs. He was the last person I had fucked before I left for Iceland four months earlier. I missed sex. That’s the truth. Maybe tom was a player and was using me as a booty call. I didn’t really know. I liked that we had history and that he looked at me. We went from sitting to standing. My feet and legs were tired from walking and sitting and traveling. I balanced on tip toes. His floppy, thick curly brown hair fell into his eyes. I didn’t care. We touched each other over clothes.
We touched each other under clothes. My dress came off. His shirt came off. My shorts came off. His pants came off. He grabbed me from behind and hoisted me up. He held onto my ass in mid air and fucked me. We were looked at each other dirty.
I found him so irresistible: his hair, his blue eyes, pale skin, his 6’0 height, his awkward sense of humor, his apartment.