We were best friends, William and I, all through college and I had hoped we would be friends all our lives. Long ago, when we were 18, he wanted me to be his girlfriend and I wasn’t ready to be anyone’s girlfriend, I was scared and emotionally immature. We went to one formal dance together, he arrived holding a dead, limp, rose.
True, his smile could light up the darkest day and to me he was an absolute beautiful, and handsome man, blond hair, brown eyes, someone I could trust and talk to but he talked with his mouth open revealing a mound of mashed potatoes. To this day, I can picture that sight.
If it was now, I would say, “Dude, where are your manners?” but at 18, what did I know? I didn’t know one single thing. I did know that we made a pact that if by a certain age we weren’t married to other people we would marry each other but I would bet a million dollars Billy wouldn’t remember that.
Everyone called him Billy or Bill even now I would refer to him as Bill but during the glory years of youth he was my William. People in our dorms were sure we would get married. After we graduated I wanted to move to Boston, mostly because I thought William was going to live there. I moved, he didn’t.
What finally made me wake up and truly understand William and relieve all the guilt that I had (he had made me feel guilty for years) for not dating him was when he called me, years after we graduated and said he would be driving to Boston and he wanted to visit. I said “YES, ” absolutely and he would stay over at my place.” This was it, once and for all I wanted to see what we had between us, obviously it was something.
He said he would come on a Friday afternoon, sure I was a tiny bit nervous but excited. I waited for him all day and night. This was long before cell phones. I didn’t hear from him, he hadn’t given me an exact time or day so I thought for sure he would arrive on Saturday.
Saturday and Sunday came and went, I was worried, very worried that something had happened to him, a bad accident, he was involved in a serious collision…something serious must have happened for William not to have come or call.
Or so I thought.
I literally waited all weekend for him to show up but he never did, never called, first I was very disappointed and after that angry, very angry.
The man I had trusted and loved, through and through, yet not wanted to date when I was merely 18 just changed his mind and didn’t think about letting me know. I had finally reached him during the middle of the week and he said “Yeah, I didn’t think about calling, I changed my plans.”
Who was this guy?
Apparently this was the guy that deep down I knew existed, or some part of him that I didn’t like. This was hard to take, for me, but for him, maybe he wanted to punish me or maybe he really was just the guy, across the table, with no manners, eating with his mouth open, full of mashed potatoes.
He came to my wedding, after that, I never saw him again. I finally realized he was never my best friend, he just made me think he was. I still remember his birthday but I let go of him a long, long time ago.
You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….
Everything looks different at night, doesn’t it? I turned to watch the back of Julia’s slim body walk away from me, in the snow one last time. For a second I thought I would run after her, tell her I would change. But, I had gone down this road too many times, that even I didn’t believe my own shit now.
I liked to drink, so what? We all drank, mostly vodka, sometimes beer, I did cocaine a couple of times. Julia and I lived together in our first floor apartment in Soho. Those were good times, we had just graduated from NYU, we both worked to pay the rent and we hung out with a bunch of friends. Sometimes our parents would write checks to help us out with the rent or just to be nice which was awesome for us.
We would have brunch on Sundays in the Village with our friends, mimosas were free and I knew the bartender, he and I were buddies, so he always gave me an extra shot or two of vodka in mine. It felt good to be with my girlfriend, out on Sundays in the summer sun. This was Julia’s idea of perfection, she looked forward to it every week, I loved that she looked so happy.
I don’t know if she suspected that I drank more than what she saw but she did give me a few curious looks now and then. Since she didn’t ask me about it, I chose not to tell her. I wasn’t lying really. Our fights were always about me drinking and getting high anyway, I didn’t want to start something else. No way.
We both drank, maybe me a little more, fine, a lot more and we got high once in a while, listened to music. I don’t even know when things started to change, I can’t remember although Julia could probably remember ever damn fucking situation that she seemed to bring up and throw in my face as often as she could. “Of course you can’t remember, she would scream at me you were totally doped up, drunk and passed out.”
She was right but I would never admit to it. I’m an angry drunk and I took my anger out on her, I threw things, broke things, I crashed her light green plates across the apartment but I never laid a hand on her. Almost came close, twice. Real close but I didn’t, she had gone but she had always come back after a couple of days. Always.
This time, was different. She gave me an ultimatum, choose a treatment program or her. I told her I would try, really try but this time but I saw golden sparks coming out of her deep brown eyes. She kept standing and wouldn’t sit down even when I tried to pull her close to me. When I tried to kiss her she moved away. “C’mon baby, I love you, don’t you know that?” I asked. She said she knew “but it wasn’t enough anymore.” I just kept shaking my head and mumbling “no, can’t do, no, no, no, not for you, no, no, no.” She turned around and abruptly left my apartment slamming the door. The noise hurt my ears.
Since when is love not enough? I knew she loved me too. For a second I thought I would run after her but instead I lit up a joint, poured myself a stiff drink, a tall vodka on ice. After a while, I didn’t care that she was gone, I was probably better off. She was just a nuisance anyway, always bugging me to get clean.
I didn’t need her anymore. I didn’t need anyone. I was happy just the way I was. Damn straight, I refilled my glass of vodka to the top.
“Love is a piano dropped from a fourth story window, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” – Ani DiFranco
I was rushing, as always, on the sidewalk of the Village, where I live, scooting under the fire escape when I realized something big was about to happen. I just didn’t know what it would be. Would someone die? Would my sister have her baby? Would Gramps have a heart attack? The flush ran up my body and stayed there, even the wind that blew couldn’t erase the warm feeling inside me yet I couldn’t define it. I had just turned 26 a couple of days ago and my friends had given me a sweet, little party. They were all there and they had invited my boyfrieind, Matt and a few of his friends. Matt seemed off that night, I had no idea why. When I asked hilm, he just said ” he was tired.” He’s been real tired these last few weeks. I kinda want to go up to him , look at his green hazel eyes and shake him by the shoulders and just yell “what’s the matter with you” but I don
t. I think I’m scared to so I just leave it be. Part of me doesn’t want to know and as long as he hasn’t said anything definite, we’re still ok. I think.But what the hell do I know? I have no idea how to deal with his? He’s moody, he’s sometimes distant but arent’ people like that all the time? okay let me be more specific, aren’t men like that at some point? No one is perfect, I’m not for sure, but is it that glaring a flaw that we would break up? That seemed ridiculous. We’ve been together for four years. We LIVE together. I was probably over-worrying which is an annouying habit I have. I need to stop doing this.
I get to the apartment and Matt is there and he is in a cheerful mood and we hug and all of a sudden I’ve forgotten my former worries because he gave me a sweet, quick kiss on my lips and hugged me for a moment.We talked about where we should have dinner which always took so much time given that we were in a mecca of restaurants, we could have anything we wanted, all the time. We were spoiled we knew but that’s what lving in the Village was all about. It was about youth, and exploration and growing up after college and fun. We had fun in the village after our drone jobs in mid-town where I was basically a secretary )ok now they call us “Personal assistants” and Matt was an “Engineering Assistant/aide.” We both made very little money but we lived in a studio that had one futon that we covered with old Indian fabric, a small kitchen (tiny) that had 4 plates, a few pink-tinted glasses and some silverware we stole from NYU. QWe had a couple of plants that were barely alive and a cat named Oliver. The cat was his idea, not mine. I wanted a dog but he said they were too much responsibility since we were not home during the day. I guess he ‘s right but we culd have traded turnls going home at lunch and walking the dog. Matt was adamant and when he is like that I knew there were no negotaitions that would go on. Matt had a stubborn streak so I figured once we got married and bought a house, then I could have my dog, mayve two of them. When I mentioned this he laughed and nodded so I figured I would just delay my dream for the right time.And I was ok with that. Truly.
We decide to go out for Thai food, the one thing we can agree on effortlessly so that was nice; there was a small restaurant about four blocks from our apartment. Insided the restaurant, Matt s tarted getting gloomy again, not cheerful like he was at the apartment or particularly loving but totally different, quiet, moody and there was tension in the air. I knew this time I couldn’t avoid talking about it so after two glasses of beer I brought it up. “What’s going on Matthew?” I asked. “Just what the hell is going on ?” I need to know, I feel it but I don’t know what it is. He started to sit upp straight , he sighed and tried to take my hand but something about that all of a sudden felt creepy, I took my hand away. “I need to talk to you he said, his voice barely above a whisper.” My skin just froze, and I swear the blood that was flowing in my body myst have drained and left me for a puddle on the granite floors.
I felt afraid, and I felt confused. I literallly had no idea what he was about to say. He started talking, talking about things that happened 2 years ago when we were still dating and in school; like the time we went bowling and I won and he said I was showing off but I really wasn’t, I was just happy I won and besides it’s just a stupid game. “Are u kidding me, I asked?” He was not. He started telling me that he thought we needed to see other people that our relationship was getting too close to fast, that he wasn’t ready to make a commitment. “WHAT?” I screamed, “after all this time, “now you don’t want to be in a committed relationship” you wanted to be together forever, that’s what you said a few weeks ago when we talked about marriage and having a house, and the dogs I could have.,
He mumbled something about this being the “wrong time” and then I stopped and felt listless and I looked deeply into his blue eyes. There was something there that she hadn’t noticed before, she gasped and then she knew. He was lying about something, an she called him on it and with a heaving sigh that seemed to last for hours he admitted that he just wasn’t in love with her anymore. He had loved her once but it had been over for him for a long time and that he needed to leave, in fact he would leave that verysame evening. She couldn’t change it, she was stunned, in shock, she had had no idea, no clues. “It just wasn’t their time,”he muttered under his breath, as he stood up to pack his things to leave. They both stood up, her in shock, heimpervious to her pain, and walked out of the restaurant, towards their apartment walking, under the firescape, to get home.
‘Everyone says the same thing,’ she thought as she lay in the darkness, her arms folded above her head, hiding her face. ‘There is no secret, no surprise, no one is original, I’m certainly not.” Clara didn’t care about originality, she didn’t care about anything anymore, part of why her mother and father were always in her face, worried about her, crying over her. Why didn’t they see, she just wanted them to give her space, to leave her alone.
Her boyfriend of three years had left, they had broken up over a nasty fight and she had sent him away for good. At the moment it was definitely the right thing to do and she knew that. Max had become different, unreliable at times, unpredictable. She had asked him over and over if she had done anything wrong to upset him and he always laughed her off and just said “Nah, babe, it’s just how I am” and so she accepted it for a while. Other time he was his old self, happy, engaged and loving.
Clara knew that he had a new girlfriend, some girl who rode a Harley and dressed in black leather. It had taken him all of four days to rebound and get involved with this new biker chick and now they were inseparable. It made Clara sick to even think about it much less see them but she also couldn’t avoid it. This was no “Romeo and Juliette” love story. She knew that he was drinking a lot again, and she had always hated when he did that; he called her square and said she was “no fun.” She knew she was fun, she just was strong, strong enough not to put up with all his lame bullshit.
She wasn’t sorry she had broken up with him, not like all her girlfriends who had encouraged her to go back to him, those spineless goats. No, she wasn’t sorry at all. If she had one wish, one wish at all, she would have broken up with him three and a half years ago when her gut feelings told her he was a loser and that this was a relationship that was never going to go anywhere. That, was her biggest regret.
She crawled off the couch, took a shower and got dressed. She gathered her school books together and finished writing her essay for her college Literature class. She was done moping, he had taken up her time and energy, she didn’t need him anymore to prove herself. She went down the stairs, grabbed a cup of coffee, said a cheerful “good-bye” to her parents and headed off to class.
This is a true story about how things sometimes work out the way they should. Oprah used to talk about that a lot. Synchronicity, things happening because they are “meant to be.” Yesterday, I wrote a blog called “Saying Goodbye To Oprah” today I experienced what she has always talked about.
1) I had a new Doctor’s appointment and when I asked the new Doctor if she was ever in touch with the Doctor who had retired she said “in fact, I’m seeing him tonight.” I asked her to please tell him about an article I wrote about the loss of my dear friend “Loving Dawn” that was published in a local magazine. She said she would but as I was about to leave I remembered I had copies in my trunk that I had just picked up from the editor the day before. I ran down and got the magazine, happy to show them. No coincidence there.
2) I stopped by the florist to order my son’s girlfriend’s corsage, continued on to the library and decided to go to a shoe store.
3) I parked my car, (having no sense of direction whatsoever) where I thought the shoe store was. I couldn’t find it. It turned out that I parked in front of a store called ICD Jewelery. When I saw the name I remembered my son saying that he bought his girlfriend’s birthday present there. The door was held open and I decided to walk in and browse. In the past I had always assumed that it was just high-end stuff but it isn’t. It’s a wonderful combination of completely affordable jewelery AND beautiful expensive, sparkling pieces.
4) I looked around keeping my daughter’s upcoming 17th birthday in mind, I even saw the lovely bracelet my son had bought. There were beautiful pieces in EVERY price range. After chatting with a nice woman named Sarah I softly said: ” You are doing this store a disservice, you really should advertise more.” She smiled and said “can I repeat that?” I said “I guess so.” She called the owner over, an absolutely stunning and beautiful woman (she should be a model) named Varda Singer and asked me to repeat my comment. I did, I asked where they advertised because I had no idea that this store sold things in all price ranges. I am the type of person that should live with focus groups. I try every new product, I can predict if something will work or not, I know “star” quality before others. If I really liked this store my friends would too. If I didn’t know about this store they probably didn’t either.
5) The owner, Varda, said “she pays so much in advertising in publications it’s sometimes not worth it.” After talking with her about the jewelery, both high-end and inexpensive, she fell silent. She looked at me, took a gorgeous pink beaded bracelet off the display, handed it to me and said, “word of mouth: this is how I like to get people to the store.” Before I knew it she took the price tag off and presented the bracelet to me as a present.”If people like it and ask where you got it, you tell them.” No one had ever given me a present like that and I was shocked. I said “No, no, no, no… ” but she insisted and put it on my arm.
6) All she knew was that I was a mom window shopping for her daughter. She had no idea I wrote a blog. We laughed and talked some more and out of the blue she threw in a Hebrew word that I recognized immediately. The word “Beshert” it’s meaning: “meant to be” or “destiny.”
7) I told them I wanted to blog about this experience (I am not a paid employee nor am I a sponsor or a PR agent and I am not getting any kind of kickback!) I asked Varda if we could tie this special day in with my blog. If people read this blog and wanted to go to the store, perhaps they could get a $5 dollar discount? She thought about it, shook her head and said with a smile said:”please tell people that if they just drop by the store and mention your blog, they will get a free “bracelet” too.”
I will REPEAT THAT: Mention that you read this blog and get a free bracelet. Stop by there, look around, you won’t be disappointed. They are located in the town of Chappaqua, NY, 75 South Greeley Avenue. You can reach them at 914-238-3646 or at ICDJLTD@aol.com. or visit: http://www.icdjewelry.com/