i’m gonna spend my whole life alone

My happiest moments in San Francisco were spent lying alongside RC in her cozy bed, dozy from her Vicodin, watching tv like invalids. We watched The Office and The Sopranos. We also watched a French movie that tracked the course of a terrible marriage backwards, from divorce to first meeting.

Neither of us could understand what the couple’s marriage was supposed to have been founded on in the first place: deep compatibility? Pure animal lust?  Love? Love wasn’t telegraphed in this movie the way it is in American movies, with wide-eyed staring, breathy whispers and smiles. Maybe the couple was in love and I just have no idea what that’s supposed to look like anymore.

We walked around in Golden Gate Park which, like a lot of other things about San Francisco, is incredibly pretty in the abstract, but grimy and depressing up close.  We walked along a lush forest path, everything extra green and enlivened by the soaking rain that had fallen nonstop for the first two days of my visit.

(Also it was very windy and cold and no one has heat in their houses, I feel obligated to point out!)

Anyway we walked  along, smelling the eucalyptus and pine, avoiding eye contact with the grimy people who live in the park (“It’s like an outdoor music festival with no music,” RC had explained earlier).  We started talking about how she thinks her exboyfriend never loved her. I eventually got her to amend this to: He never loved her, based on her definition of “love.” From what I know about them, this seems accurate. She said she wished she’d never gotten back together after the first time they broke up.

And I remembered, for the first time in a long time, about how, a couple months into our so-intense-so-fast relationship (I’ll never be that young and trusting again!), William had freaked out and tried to break up with me and I hadn’t let him.

I sat on his lap in the kitchen and deployed the biggest weapon in my arsenal. It was the only weapon in my arsenal, actually.  Also it had only just then occured to me. I asked him to imagine me with someone else and, because he couldn’t imagine that, he stayed with me. I wonder whether it should have ended then. I wonder what the past six years of my life would’ve been like.

RC’s relationship totally should have ended the first time it ended, right? Or maybe there’s a purpose to everything she’s suffered since. Does all suffering have to have a purpose? Does any suffering ever have a purpose?

Anyway later we went to a teahouse that had at least forty floridly described varieties of tea on its menu. One had been specially blended for the Dalai Lama. Another was described as being somehow like the thundering hooves of a herd of majestic stallions.

San Francisco!

RC sat across from me, dipping green tea cookies into her $6 chai. “I wonder if I’ll ever date anyone again,” she mused.

I got ready to launch into “Don’t be ridiculous, of course you will, and sooner than you think,” but it was late in my visit and each of us had given the other one so many hollow pep talks by then, all the words had been said so I stopped a few words in.  I ate a bite of cookie.  It was delicious.

“I wonder if I’ll ever love anyone again,” I said.

Then we sat there silently for a while, stabbing our forks into a little puddle of green tea mousse and then into the fudge brownie alongside it.  It was an unexpectedly good flavor combination.  San Francisco does have the most amazing food.

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Recently my friend Jim told me that right now boywise I should be just taking what I want and leaving what I don’t want like it’s half a tuna sandwich. (He knows about this blog so maybe the bad food metaphor thing is catching). And I am doing this! It’s not something that comes easily to me. Like, right now, I guess there are a few boys who I’m flirting with (with my retard-level flirting skills) but the idea of actually hanging out with any of them in an organized, expectation-inducing way makes me feel an immediate adrenalin surge and a wince of panic. Sometimes I feel this way about things that turn out to be fun, though? I don’t know, I’m just worried that if I sit around waiting to feel ready I could end up waiting forever. I know that this is an insane, ridiculous thing to be worried about, two months into my career of being single forever.

It’s especially insane and ridiculous because I guess I did sort of — heh! — eat a couple of bites of the tuna sandwich last weekend, resulting in everyone I ran into this week making fun of the huge vampire bite hickeys on my neck. I had to buy a turtleneck to wear to Rosh Hashanah dinner in Lon Guyland tonight.

At the dinner we ate overcooked chicken that wasn’t even home-overcooked and I looked at my Nana’s photo albums, which are amazing. Every time I’m at my grandparents’ apartment I look at the album that’s marked “DG [Doris Goldfield] 1943″ on the spine, which is the album of glamorous shots of my grandmother taken before she met and married my grandfather.

I’m always amazed at her beauty. She had — still has, to some extent — this sort of 40s face they just don’t make anymore. In her prime, which lasted for some 30 years, she looked almost exactly like a Gibson girl pinup: high arched eyebrows, pert button nose, cupid’s bow lips, apple cheeks. Oh and: insane slender but sexy body with no discernible muscle tone, just perfectly proportioned curves. No one looks like this anymore, maybe because we work out more or eat different foods or something. She’s more gorgeous than I’ll ever be in any picture ever taken of me but the photos are still just as much fun to look at as photos of myself because there are sort of bits of me here and there around the mouth and they eyes and the hipbones (there are a lot of bathing beauty shots; she grew up in Brighton Beach).

She and my grandfather must have thought that being a ridiculously beautiful couple would float them through life and I guess it did for fifty years or so. Things are starting to break down a bit now. It doesn’t really bear dwelling on.

I also looked at my parents’ wedding album. They, too, were an almost disturbingly beautiful couple, even though my Dad’s 1977 haircut makes him look sort of like Andy Samberg. In those pictures, they’re 26. A month from today, I’ll be 26 too.

Jake today, via IM:

“yes i would like to have sex with you more BUT am still not ready to get involved in any sort of relationship and I think to have sex with you, no matter how much i enjoy it, is not a very nice thing to do to you.”

Later, therapy with Susan:

Susan: You have to remember that you’re in process right now, and that the kind of person you want to be with right now probably isn’t indicative of the kind of person you’ll want want to be with in a few months.

Me: I just wanted … I mean, all I wanted was for Jake to, like, go live in an alternate dimension for like a few months or however long it took for me to get over William and become a whole person again and then he could come back to this dimension and, like, be my boyfriend.

Susan: Well even if that was possible he would have to be a whole person by then too.

Me: Maybe … like … scientists could do that to him while he’s in the alternate dimension?

Susan: (waits patiently for me to say something vaguely rational, which I think is a trick they teach you in therapist school)

Me: The other thing is that he did stuff for me that no one has ever done before. Like, emotional stuff but also physical stuff. And that is a BUMMER. I mean, there was this thing he did to my nipples … I’m sorry, is this TMI?

Susan: You’re paying me to talk to me so that’s not really a relevant concept here.

Me: Well. Anyway. IT IS A BUMMER. Will I ever meet another guy who will be able to do that stuff?

Susan: When you’re ready, you will meet that guy.

Me: I will? Um, how do you know? Are you psychic?

Susan: I’m not psychic. I’m just … confident.

Me: Huh. Well, I guess I will choose to believe that. I mean, why not, right?

(Stares at crumpled tissues in lap)

Is the hour up?

Susan: You have another six minutes.

Me: I think I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.


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