return to nyc stories…final chapter




Its saturday. we got off the staten island ferry, took the subway to scb’s place and chilled out for a while. of course, chilling out for scb meant unpacking. which, of course, left me to sit around and stare at walls. i couldnt even really nap b/c he would interrupt me every now and then to help him shift a table or 2. scb promised that he would only mess w/his furniture for 1 hr, but we didnt end up eating until midnight. at first i didnt care, but then when i realized how late it was, and how tired i was, and that the restaurant i had been looking forward to would close in like 20 minutes, i just really wanted to stay in and go to sleep. I didnt feel like doing much of anything, and scb didnt really know what to do or where to go. and not like there was anything to do in his apt.

scb kept asking me over and over what i wanted to do. he suggested 3 things: movie (too tired and too far), dinner (kind of not hungry anymore–it was midnight, after all. exhaustion was replacing hunger), and drinks (not really a huge drinker, esp when its just me and him. and just sipping on alcohol makes me sleepy). scb got frustrated and angry at me, yelling, “no matter what i say, you wont want to do it.” at which point i said, “you have no right to even get mad at me. I have been so patient with you and your moving and your problems. so far this whole weekend has been about you. and the one time i show any sort of opinion or resistance, you get mad. thats not fair. you said 1 hour maximum to unpack or do whatever, and Ive been waiting, doing nothing, for way longer. its midnight. im not hungry anymore, and im not made of money. i dont want to go to a restaurant just bc theres nothing better to do. and i dont want to take a cab to some restarant either. i dont know the area, i dont know nyc. this has nothing to do with you or me not wanting to do what you want, its that im truly tired and i truly dont know what there is to do.”

there were moments of tense silence between us. scb stared hard at me, in thought, and then finally said, “dinner is my treat. lets go out, have a glass of wine and get dessert or something. we’ll just explore my neighborhood some more. okay?”

and that was that. we tried this french bistro, but it was closed. most of the restaurants were no longer serving (i thought nyc was the city that never slept). we walked past some cafe type place and i overheard a girl say, “omg, are people still going to that place? its soooo 3 years ago.” im sure she rolled her eyes, but it was dark, and she was wearing a lot of mascara, so I guess ill never know for certain.

we ended up in a lounge place. i want to say the name of it was diva, but it was like any other red interiored lounge ive been to, except a little more bland. the nice thing about the place was that it opened up into the street, paris style–and they were still serving. i allowed scb to order for me (he picked duck–it was good, not great). we sat in a cozy, dimly lit booth. next to us, the guy from the band BLACKSTREET (remember the mid-90s song, “No Diggity”) and his entourage. there was a litle kid with him, who for whatever reason, was standing outside dancing around, bored out of his skull. Blackstreet guy wore a lot of bling, which was what clued us in to his semi-celeb status. well, scb noticed the bling. i commented that he couldnt be that huge of a star b/e he only had 1 earring and it was only like 2 carats. and his girlfriend wasnt all that hot b/c he kept staring at me. like hardcore. and im def not all that hot, but im just making a point that he seemed bored w/his present company.

the glass of wine mellowed both scb and me. we walked back to his place and i practically fell into bed and went to sleep the moment my head hit the pillow. scb, on the other hand, continued unpacking…i have no idea when he came to bed.

my last day. woke up from all the street noise. i looked over at scb and noticed his eyes moving around rapidly–as if he were REM sleeping w/his eyes opened. I asked what the hell he was thinking about–he said he was mentally rearranging his room/apt in his head. Sigh.

I pleaded w/scb to just let all those things fall away for just 1 day, my last day, and to try his hardest to enjoy the time we had left together. he promised he would, yet then he launched into a tirade about his apt and his job and etc. i tried my best to be supportive and to listen to him, hoping that if he got it out now, then we could enjoy the rest of the day.

but it followed us to brunch–nice place in west village. outside. mamosas and bloody marys–where all we did was talk about him him and him. again, i do care about what he has to say and i do want to talk about the things that bother him and that are on his mind, but at the same time it affected his mood so much that he became very depressed and morose and completely emotionally absent. i felt like i was spending time w/a zombie.

we walked to canal street after brunch. i bought some bootlegged dvds–right before all the vendors hurredly covered their stands and told me to hide the dvds in an opaque black bag b/c the cops were nearby. i was just thinking–dont the cops already know? i mean, all the guidebooks know…

took the subway to central park to get free tix to shakespeare in the park. when we arrived, we discovered that the show was sold out. scb asked around and found out that if we came back at 7 and waited in line, then we could potentially get standby tickets. we contemplated our choices–if we came back for the tix, then we’d have to stay close to central park. i had already seen the museums in the area, and wasnt really in the mood to see another. i also didnt want to waste my day waiting around (there were already people in line) or doing something we were less than enthusiastic about. scb suggested walking around east village, but i didnt want to feel rushed and i didnt want to waste time going to and fro.

undecided, we checked out nearby belvedere castle. pretty cool. nice vantage point. just as i took out my camera to take some pix, scb brought up something we had talked about at brunch–something about how do i know that things will work out. it was along those lines. i started to answer the question, and he started to argue, and then, i became so frustrated that we were talking about this AGAIN, that i just stopped and said, ‘I dont know. i dont have the answers. im really tired of talking about this. all i wanted to do is have fun today and not talk about these things for just a few hours on my last day.” Then, i went to the other side of the castle and left him sitting alone.

As i leaned over the stone wall, and stared at the great lawn, i began crying. i dont know where the tears even came from except that i just felt like i didnt even matter. i started to wish that i hadnt even come b/c i felt as if he couldnt care one way or the other. as usual, i was constantly fighting for his time and attention, and i was tired of it.

confused by my sudden departure, scb sorta stayed seating for a while. until he noticed i was sniffling and wiping away tears. slowly he walked over to assess the situation, and when he realized i was crying, he apologized profusely, saying it was in poor taste, and that he was sorry, and that he promised not to bring it up anymore. while apologizing, he kept rubbing my back/neck/head and calling me ‘sweetie’ (not baby anymore, but sweetie. is that a step up or down, i dont know).

after that whole instance, scb did a complete 180. his mood and attitude was noticeably different–so much lighter and more playful, as if a ton of weight had been lifted from his shoulders. and of course, he accomodated my every wish. when i wanted to hike around the rambles, he obliged. we climbed this rock in the middle of whatever body of water looks like a river in central park. climbing the rock was equivalent to a team building/ropes course type exercise–lots of teamwork to cross the unstable floating logs, and to help each other onto the rock.

after the rock, i decided that id like to expolore central park a little more w/him and stick around until we could get tickets. we watched a couple of performers at bethesda terrace, had drinks at The Boat House, got chair massages, watched kids sail boats, went to the guggenheim gift shop, walked around some resevoir, watched a game of basketball, and then waited in line for tickets. The line actually wasnt terribly long. we ate dinner from the concession stands and lucky us, got tickets to the play.

im so glad we decided to wait around. shakespeare in the park was amazing–by and far the best shakespeare play ive ever seen. The play, Much Ado About Nothing, starred Kristin Johnston (3rd rock from the sun), Sam Waterston (LA Law), Jimmy Smits, Sean Patrick Thomas, the guy who played Uncle Junior from the Sopranos, etc, etc, etc. Jimmy Smits absolutely blew me away. God, he was a phenomenal actor w/excellent comic timing. Its a wonder that he is typecast in such serious roles in Hollywood. Kirsten Johnston, his counterpart in the play, was also really good. Everyone in the cast impresed the hell out of me, except the girl who played Hero (sam’s daughter). She sucked. But man, i could not believe that we saw that level of talent for free.

by the time night fell, we were freezing. surprisingly, scb noticed i was shivering and took my arms and did the Mr. Miyagi/karate kid hand rub to keep me warm. when that didnt work, he covered my arms and hands w/his shirt.

the play ended at 11, and scb began to worry about getting home and getting to sleep and getting up the next day for work. bringing up work broke our magical bubble and brought us back to reality.

we got home pretty late b/c for whatever reason, the subway we needed to take was out of service. once home, we got into an argument about what to do the following day w/his keys. he only had one set of keys and since i was leaving at 3pm, and he had to leave for work at 7, he didnt know how to orchestrate the key exchange. he wanted me to leave them at the bar next door or at the candy store, but yeah, anyway. one tiny thing led to another and he got all pissy again and started yelling at me and getting all frustrated.

then he kicked some boxes around and complained. i warmed up some leftovers for dinner, but after all the commotion, wasnt even hungry anymore. i pushed my food around on my plate before offering to to scb.

we operated in silence for the rest of the evening. i didnt speak a word to him, i was so angry. 1 day. I only asked for 1 day, and not only did i have to start my day w/this crap, now i had to end with it too. after brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, scb called me over, “hey, come here,” he said softly. i walked over, got in bed and turned my back to him. uncharacteristically, he put both of his arms around me and held me very close (something he hasnt done since sf). Then he said, “hey, i just wanted to apologize for everything. im sorry ive been such a jerk. It was less than perfect timing w/all the moving, but thats no excuse. I’m glad youre here. And im glad to see you.”

I remained silent. He continued. “i had fun with you. i always have fun with you. and I hope you had at least a little bit of fun despite everything. okay?” he apologized some more and finally I said, “okay.” what meant more to me than anything was that he made the effort to mend things that night instead of just rolling over and going to sleep. he knows that i dont like to go to sleep angry, and i appreciated that he tried his best to make things right my last night there.

scb and i met up for lunch near rockefeller center. it was a good day to leave nyc, as it was raining like crazy. scb carried my luggage to and from the subway (in full business attire) and bought me lunch. we ate quickly, but then recounted my trip in nyc. again he asked if i had a good time, and i said that I did. we reminisced about all the things that we DID get to do. i said that i more or less did everything I had wanted, and did things i didnt expect to do, so it was good. and yeah, things werent ideal, but in the end, just being there w/him and spending time w/him was the best part of nyc. he agreed.

he carried my things down to the subway and we kissed goodbye. his eyes were kind of red and watery and he truly looked sad. like a lost puppy. or like a kid going off to camp. we held each other tightly. i asked him to come visit. he promised he would. and then a million goodbyes and glances over the shoulder later, he was gone.

scb was so different than the person i knew and remembered in sf. he seemed lonely. depressed. sad. confused. frustrated. angry. lost. alone. he talked of law school frequently. he never ever mentioned “us,” or for that matter any sort of future that could potentially involve us. he never asked about me or how i was doing in sf, or how i was feeling. he was rarely tender, even when he kissed me or held my hand, i almost felt that it was out of habit or b/c he craved affection regardless of who gave it. he seemed constantly lost in thought. he laughed rarely. he seemed disinterested in just about everything.

and yet, there were moments. very sweet moments when i felt i had him back. im no fool. i know that those brief interludes could in no way substitute or make up for all the voids. I know he cares about me, has feelings for me, whatever. I know that. but for whatever stupid boy reason he has, he cant and wont express those feelings. occassionaly it accidently slips out, but he does very well at hiding his true emotions. it made me feel empty–like i didnt know who that person was anymore. i wanted the old scb back. im not sure if thats even possible.

im glad i went, im glad i saw him, im glad that we kissed. im thankful for the time we shared together. im glad to know he still looks at me the same way he used to, even though he tries to hide his feelings. and i guess im glad i was able to be there for him through all the crap or at least some of it.


i didnt walk away feeling as if i had any sort of resolution/closure/direction. Maybe things are a little more certain. I know its never been about me, nor will it ever be about me, and I guess Im just tired of it. Tired of always giving and giving and giving. Tired of jumping through hoops and going to great lengths to be his friend, to be more than a friend. Tired of feeling used.

maybe one day it will work out.
but not today.

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