Friday, February 01, 2013
Thirty days from today I am leaving for Chile. The night I left, I didn't think I'd ever go back. A boy took me to the airport and we kissed good-bye and he said that maybe he'd come see me in New York. At the time, I wasn't even sure I was coming back to New York. But I was sure that I wasn't going to be waiting around for this boy. It was sweet of him to take me to the airport. He even bought me a keychain in the shape of an Easter Island Moai. To remember him. I lost it. Perhaps this sounds cold or heartless, but I want you all to rest assured that he is very happily living with a girl he started seeing right after I left. Or maybe it was even before I left that they started seeing one another. I walked through security and waited around a bit, then got on the plane. I was getting settled into my seat for the overnight flight when my rickety Nokia cell phone started ringing. And it wasn't the boy I had left at the security gate, it was Carlos. He said he was glad I answered, that he thought I was gone. I said that I was gone almost, but I was glad he called. He said he had been thinking about me all day. I said I had been thinking about him. It was hard to hear and they were making announcements over the loudspeaker, so I had to hang up quickly. He said he'd talk to me the next day. I didn't really think he would. The next day I would land in Houston, then Dallas, then Boston. My dad would pick me up at the airport and we would go get a root beer and a bagel before we went back to my parents' house. I would snap photos of the dinner my mom cooked (salad and fish, a twelve dollar bottle of wine... but it was at home). The sheets would have the supple softness that isn't possible when all of your laundry is air dried. Maybe I would sleep for days. Whenever I surfaced again, there were messages from Carlos. He couldn't stop thinking about me, about our last night together. He thought it was crazy, to be thinking about it so much. He wanted to know how he could call me and when. That was almost three years ago now. I spent months wishing and thinking about seeing Carlos again. About how it could work between us. We talked as much as we could, sent messages more often. Talked about plans, about futures, but always got caught up on logistics. And eventually I gave up. Because it was too difficult to be happy being where I was when I spent all of my time wishing I was with someone 5,000 miles away. Because he always seemed ardent, but never practical. We didn't speak for a year and a half. I tried on another love. And it helped for a while, but eventually it fell away. When we started talking again it was an accident. He messaged me out of the blue, friendly. He asked and I mentioned that the old love was gone, that it was over. That it was never... Well. And I told him that I still think about him. And he told me that he never stopped thinking about me. It's easier, nicer, to gloss over the intervening months. The attempts to plan. The impatience I felt with his visa process. My lack of trust, in him and in my own feelings. I'll return to them sometime to give you the full story. But then I realized that the only thing that was stopping me from knowing whether this vague, unbelievable love feeling that I had been having for the last three years was real, was a plane ticket. And in thirty days, I will know.