tears on asphalt

Today, I’m feeling really, really panicky about my move. All I keep thinking is that I only know 1.5 people in Paris. Everywhere I have moved I have always had at least two or three friends that I have known for years and years. I’m not worried about making friends because I know eventually I always do but I’m scared I will feel beyond lonely, that I will hit a million dead ends, that this is all one huge mistake.  What am I doing!!? My french sucks. I’m feeling completely intimidated and lost. I have never been as on my own as I will be. I’m afraid all my money won’t last as much as I need it to. I am terrified.

Of course, I can always reason with the fear. I know I am lucky and if worst comes to worst there are quite a few people who will gladly, happily, and excitedly take me in. I know that everything will fall into place and work out as it is supposed to. I know this in my head, but it feels totally different in my body. Still, nothing in me, no instinct, no thought, no gut feeling is saying don’t do it. It’s just a lot of emotions are coursing through me, and I barely know what to do with them so all I can do is what I need to do- get ready, start sorting through all my stuff, organize all my papers…

I was talking to my  dad  yesterday. He said, “try to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Sell everything but the few books you know you can’t replace and things you will take. It is an act of purification.” He is right. Paring my things down is one of the most appealing parts of moving but getting rid of my books is very difficult, as is letting go of clothes that I love but don’t wear. We attach so much emotional value to our beloved objects. I guess they become symbols of our past, right? Kind of like a map- this is the dress I wore to my 35th birthday dinner at my friend’s beautiful loft, this is the book I picked out in the 9th grade on a trip to the bookstore with my mom.  I love those reminders but I also feel this deep need to empty myself so the new can rush in, so the internal becomes richer.


On Monday I saw Leo. It was the second time in the last year and a half that I have seen him.  It’s still bittersweet to see him. We went for a hike. When I met up with him, when I saw him walking towards me smiling, I could literally see him start to well up with joy. That kind of killed me. That we can have such an effect on people. Hiking with Leo was easy, comfortable and that always gets me too. How physically at ease I feel, how normal it feels to be next to him. At one point in the hike it came up that he was changing his phone number and I said to him, ” you can’t change your number. Yours is one of the few numbers I know by heart. What if I need to call someone in an emergency.”

“Maybe, I’ll keep it for you,” he said. Though the thought that he could help me in an emergency from California all the way to France was kind of ridiculous I love that I know that no matter what I can always count on him. We walked and talked for about an hour and a half. While coming down the mountain talking about movies, I realized that Leo and I had always walked side by side, that we had never really sat across from each other in our relationship, that we had never really faced each other. Well, maybe in the very beginning we had.

After the hike Leo asked if I wanted to go for a bite but I had to go. He looked really sad when I said I couldn’t and then he took a deep breath and just blurted, “I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry.” I told him there was no need because I had forgiven him a long time ago.  He said, ” no, I have to tell you. I’m sorry for being an idiot. I’m sorry I was an asshole. I’m sorry I wasn’t honest. I wasn’t honest with myself. I should have let you go sooner.”

I told him things had ended when they needed to, not sooner or later than they had to. “You are right,” he said. “I know you wanted me to fight for you but I had doubts and I kept hoping they would resolve themselves. And when you said you were leaving I thought I had gotten my answer. I’m sorry for everything.”

The whole thing was so intense. I felt simultaneously present and removed. I told him jokingly, ” I’m done crying over you.” And proceeded to cry in the parking lot. “Why didn’t you tell me you had doubts?” I asked. “Why didn’t you talk to me?”

The summer Leo and I began having serious disaccords his sister had made me super uncomfortable by asking me why I thought her brother hadn’t asked me to marry him. That night was one of the most surreal of my life and really began the disintegration of our relationship. I had felt so uncomfortable. I was incredibly jet-lagged and stuck in a very loud Brazilian bar in Williamsburg. The morning after that night I had woken up and left Cleo’s apartment while everyone slept and walked up and down the whole city sobbing. I didn’t stop crying until I got to LA that night. Hell, I didn’t stop crying until November and that night in the Brazilian bar was early August. In the parking lot, facing Leo’s apology, the taste of that night came back to me.

Leo looked lonely. I asked if he was sad. I asked if he was lonely but I didn’t say much else. He told me that he loved me. I wanted to tell him that I was afraid that I would never find another person who I would laugh with the way I laughed with him but I didn’t. I didn’t want to open myself up like that. I told him that I loved him back.

“We could have gotten married and had children and been happy,” he said. “But this break up would have always come.” When he said it I knew he was right. The break up now felt completely inevitable. Not only because there was a great philosophical/religious divide between us that would never be bridged but I just want a different type of life, a different type of man by my side. Still, that man, the man that took a ten hour plane ride to be with me and my family for a little over a day when my step-father and my grandmother passed away, was a really good man. And the conversation in the parking lot was really a generous gift.

One Response to “tears on asphalt”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Your honesty is always so beautiful.