As the weekend turns

As the weekend approached I felt a little apprehensive.  Stevie and Elle were both going out of town, and Alicia had plans already.  In the past I’ve always found that after a break up one of the hardest parts is navigating your weekends.  On the one hand you have all this time to yourself, which can be very luxurious, on the other you are alone and have to socially fend for yourself.  I think this past weekend was my first long weekend in six years without Leo in my life. If not then it probably felt that way because there was a decisive feeling of summer in the air. I know some people say that it takes half the years you were with someone to get over them but that has never made any sense to me. My theory is that you have to live all the seasons and events (birthdays, holidays, etc.) you shared with that person without them in order to be free from their spell. Doesn’t mean that after that you don’t think about them or continue to figure out the role they played in your life but when it comes to a long-term relationship you sort of need to feel the cyclical nature of things on your own in order to move on.

The feelings I expected to creep in over the weekend weren’t just about my break-up. I remembered in my twenties how lonely I would feel when I wanted company and it wasn’t available for whatever reason. I thought here it comes, it’s been awhile since I had a good cry. But I didn’t cry, and Leo was only in my thoughts briefly. Though I still dread the thought of running into him the fact that I only really missed him at the end of my weekend, as I drove home from Pasadena and passed Eagle Rock (where he used to live when we met), is a good sign.

The weekend seemed like it would be quiet and mellow but it turned out to be really sweet and fun. I went to a dance class on Friday that I really like. They play Celia Cruz and Reggaeton, and you shake your booty, sweat and, in my case, miss home.  Saturday I covered a shift for a friend at the restaurant, and when I went to pick up my money the next day I ended up having an impromptu brunch with a coworker, and making plans to watch a movie at Hollywood Forever with my friend Étienne. Carolina called as I was leaving the restaurant, and we talked for about two hours on the phone. It was almost as good as if she were here or I was there. That night Étienne and I decided to go for wine at El Prado instead of sitting in the cold cemetery watching Young Frankenstein. It was so nice to spend time with him. The bar was quiet and lovely. It was my first time there and it reminded me of a bar on Avenue C that I used to love but whose name I can’t remember. We gossiped a bit, and talked about art school. “I really miss getting lost for hours in a darkroom,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “There really aren’t any darkrooms you can rent here. To just go in there and print and print. It’s magical. Taking photographs with film, developing your negatives, printing images is alchemy. Doesn’t it just blow your mind away that something as simple as silver halide crystals suspended in gelatin can, when exposed to light, record and freeze an image in time?” Okay, at that point I’d had a couple of glasses of wine but I really do feel that way.

It was so wonderful spending time with Étienne remembering how wild and crazy we use to be, all the galavanting we did in New York with Cleo, our Manhattan mini-adventures, and the wacky times we had when I first moved to LA. While we were at the bar I kept texting Cleo. It felt like she was almost there with us. That morning she’d moved to Williamsburg. Cleo lived in the same building on 39th street for fifteen years. She always hated living in that neighborhood but that apartment was like my home away from home and the move feels like the end of an era. I’m also super excited for her.

Monday I found myself back at the beach. That’s twice in one month. Guess I’m warming up to the idea of sweaters on the beach. I went with Milly, her man, and her kid. Eventually about twenty others showed up. We were there for about eight hours reading magazines, getting drinks at a restaurant near where we were sitting, napping, listening to salsa but never once dipping our toes in the ice cold ocean.

In the end the forlorn feelings I feared never quite materialized, and I realized that that existential loneliness I felt when I was younger wasn’t really part of my life anymore. Even in the moments now when I feel lonely those particular insecurities, and melancholic feelings don’t come up. I don’t know if  as you get older you feel more whole or you get busier or what but it’s nice to not feel that weight anymore, to know it but no longer be in its grip.