not quite closure.

she sat in a chair just a few feet from his.

she fingered the wine glass in front of her.

watched as he joked with his friends across the table.

listened to their conversations. smiled.

the bar was crowded. joyous in it's teeming capacity.

everyone knew everyone else.

the atmosphere was one of celebration and beginning. the start of something.

she felt so full with it all.

and yet.

she eyed the packet of cigarettes in front of him.

he hadn't smoked when they'd known each other.

he would turn to ask her a question, and she couldn't find the man she'd once cared for in his eyes.

she felt as though she was sitting next to a stranger. couldn't equate this person with the man she'd gone on all those dates with, the man she'd had countless daydreams about.

she knew what he was doing. well, she thought she did.

it was protection, this closing off. she understood.

he was perfectly polite. perfectly kind. it had been nice of him to include her. but he was so far away. the three feet between them belied a far greater distance.

had she hurt him? was that was this was?

she was having two experiences at once. she was enjoying her wine, enjoying meeting new people, laughing even. and yet, the person she had come for was changed in a way that she couldn't quite touch.

there was no sense of any history. any past.

and because the man sitting next to her was not the man she had loved she wondered if that man had ever existed. perhaps not.

and just like that, with that one thought, all the memories of the two of them together became memories of her alone. without. how quickly he dissolved from the images her mind paged through on slow, yawning afternoons.

it was then. and only then that she first felt her heart break. and oh how she hated that phrase. heart. break. but there it was.

never had she felt so alone. in the midst of the crowded bar. among friends and new faces she was unspeakably, unutterably alone.

she had loved him. just a little. or started to at least. she hadn't meant to hurt him. certainly not that. but mistakes are made.

so she finished her second glass of wine. kissed him on the cheek. and walked out. alone.


he was older. dated often. jewish. born and bred in this city of skyscrapers.

i was--well, am--still young. an inexperienced dater (to put it mildly). catholic. from a city situated on bayous.

so many differences.

if i had known these things--if he had known, perhaps it wouldn't have begun.

the age alone made it difficult.

but i liked him before i knew. and when i did know, well, then it became just a number.

i asked him early on if he'd ever been married. ever proposed to anyone. those were the things that seemed important. he said no, asked if i needed to know why not. nope. not important, i said.

later, without prompting, he said, i'm not a settler. and never had more perfect words been spoken. and i loved him for that perfect, unprompted response.

and yet. that became the thing. the thing that nailed me in the end.

it was when i realized i was just another girl not worth settling for that my heart began to break.

perhaps, that's too simplistic. but that's what i felt.

i miss him. and i think about him. more often than i'd care to admit. certainly, more often than i'd care for him to know. but maybe the hardest thing has been coping with the knowledge that for him i just wasn't worth it. which becomes am i worth it? which of course, yes, yes, i know that i am.

but it's never about knowing so much as feeling, is it?

and for a while there i felt...unworthy. mediocre. like the kind of girl you can't bring home to mom.

don't get me wrong, i was not looking to meet mom. i just wanted to feel... i just wanted to feel. i don't know. better than that.

the ego takes a hit. and it's coming back to yourself that takes some time.

but a week ago when american pie came on the radio it stirred the low-country girl in me. and i shimmied around my room chasing the sunlight and laughing at my oddities. and the journey home to self trucked right along.

but it takes some time, this truckin'.

it surely takes some time.

he (chekhov) insisted it (the cherry orchard) was a comedy.

{myself as anya with our lovely varya in chautauqua theatre co's production of the cherry orchard directed by ethan mcsweeny}

i went to look it up the other day.

the scene from the cherry orchard that i can't stop thinking about.

and there it was. page 382 of the plays of anton chekhov (the paul schmidt translation).

it's about ten lines long. takes up half the page.

it looks like nothing, this scene.

and yet, that was the scene that brought me to the wings each night. that was the scene i couldn't bear to miss.

the proposal. or rather the not proposal.

you see lopakhin goes in to propose to varya (who knows he's coming in to propose to her) and yet, it just, doesn't. happen.

but it's so full. the scene is so pregnant with the space around the words. with possibility. promise.

and so i would watch each night. from offstage. knowing how it would end. and yet hoping that maybe this time--maybe this time it might go just a little bit differently. that if varya turns around just a little bit sooner or if the final line comes just a little bit later--that it could all end... better.

i remember saying to the lovely gentleman who played our lopakhin (and who i was just ever so slightly, oh you know, just a little bit, in love with) just this once, actually do it. just this once propose, and let's see what happens.

and yet he didn't. he couldn't. and the emptiness that immediately follows the unimaginable fullness of those ten-or-so lines broke my heart night. after. night.

i've been doing this recently. standing in the wings of my own memories. watching the scenes replay. attempting to find the one variation that might just change it all. and thinking that if i can just get the actor playing yasha to call out for lopakhin a little bit later (or whatever my equivalent of that is) perhaps...

but chekhov was a genius. he knew what he was doing. and so i'm gonna choose now, in this moment, to trust that.

the kiss.

it had been so long since she kissed someone, she wondered if she had forgotten how.

because surely this was not how it was meant to go.

wasn't one person meant to go for the top lip, the other the bottom?

she couldn't figure out what was happening.

well, okay, she knew what was happening. sort of. she just couldn't figure out what she was supposed to do.

standing right there on 78th and Amsterdam, kissing.

she almost started laughing and gave up. she thought if she just disengaged, turned around, and walked away, she might be spared the embarrassment.

but eventually they figured it out. reached a tentative meeting of minds. and mouths.

she loved that he turned around right there on the corner--as if driven by his own wonder and curiosity. loved that he had to take his glasses off. loved that he was suddenly a boy, transformed by his own excitement.

because never had she felt more beautiful.

and so when it all ended, she would laugh about just how uncomfortable that first kiss was, but choose to remember that moment when he could just no longer wait--that moment when a grown man became a boy. and she began to fall.

so blogging and morality...

i asked the questions. mulled over all your gorgeous and insightful and contradictory but still valid responses and this is what i came up with:

i don't know.

that's my answer.

i don't know.

the decision of what to share, how much, to what extent--it's personal. and it's day to day.

that's about as much as i know.

i'm gonna have to assume that guys google. facebook stalk. use technology to dig around a little.

the next time i enter into a relationship i'm gonna be really honest. and upfront:

i write. i write about my life. and if you choose to play a part in my life...well, continue at your own peril.

if he chooses to read the blog. great.

but he has to tell me.

because the blog has to then be a discussion--something we talk about so that i'm sure he gets the whole story. straight from the horse's mouth. otherwise we run the risk of him reading it--thinking something's about him when it's not. (and this situation played out in about a thousand other variations).

he has to give me a chance to explain some things: just because i write about love and marriage doesn't mean these are things i necessarily want right now.

the blog can never substitute for face to face conversation.

(actually, on that note i'm doing away with all texts and phone messages as a means of conveying anything of any import. because what is life but one massive game of telephone tag, anyway? and the technology is just one more degree of distortion. you know? i might even transport myself back to the 1800's when letter writing was the truest form of courtship. everything that needed to be said could be. on paper. in ardent language. because, let me ask you this, how can like or lust or love be talked about using anything less than ardent language? but i digress.)

the point is. the blog has done so much good for me. i really like the blog. and my mom's right and so i don't think i'll ever again change something i've published because some guy takes offense to it.

but i have to learn that the blog is not my first form of defense. or communication.

and because i tend to go quiet when i most need to say something, i can get myself into trouble. holding it in. getting it out only later by taking pen to paper (or in this case fingers to clickable keys).

some things need to be said. aloud. face to face.

so, okay. i will try that. and if it means i carry around a little spiral pad and golf pencil and sit there across from him and write what i cannot say, well then, so be it.

because i'm working on it.

the point is, at the end of the day we must answer to our own moral standards. and share that with which we are comfortable. and go with the gut. and realize that sometimes we'll fail, but such is life. and hell, it's worth a go.