"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Monday, January 29, 2007

When one lives in the same city for a number of years (in my case, 12--nearly my whole adult life) one begins to accumulate, at first unconsciously, a record of the phsyical changes in the buildings and landscape, even the familiar faces that are slowly and steadily replaced. Joe Massey encouraged me to take a walk today, and as usually happens, I began to reflect upon old relationships. I am inclined to say "failed" but some of them didn't really fail--they just ceased to be. When I'm in one of these moods, I don't so much fixate upon the former lover, but rather the way I lived my life during a particular relationship, and the places in the city I would share with this person, the physical things. With L., for example, I walked along Amazon Creek. That path will always evoke her to me. With M., it was the alley behind my apartment.

I began dating M. on Nov. 10th, 2004. We had been close, but guarded, friends for three years prior to our first "date." It was brief but intense relationship characterized by a lot of food, a lot of anger, a lot of misery, and somewhere in there, actual love. Our living situations were different then. I lived alone in a 1000 sq ft apartment that was far too big and too expensive for me. I had a fabulous kitchen and every other Thursday, M. would come dine with me. Usually, she'd sit at the kitchen table, thumbing a magazine and sipping a glass of red wine, while I'd flit about the kitchen, drinking white wine and prepping food at a semi-leisurely pace. M.'s kitchen, on the other hand, was barely big enough for one person to work in. Miniature stove, almost no counter space. I later found it to be quite easy to adjust to cooking in that kitchen (as it is now my kitchen--more on that later) but at the time, I felt sorry for M. for having to make do in such a confined space.

Our sleeping arrangements were usually separate as well. I never stayed over at M.'s place, and while she did tend to spend a weekend night or two at my apartment, most of our dates ended with a walk home, back up the alley that I now traverse nearly daily for beer or Gatorade. I'd walk her up the gravel path, past an empty lot (now a shiny new townhouse occupies the space), past a row of college apartments, and we'd stop at the bike cage, where, if I were lucky, I'd get a kiss. Usually I just got a hug. She never invited me up. That alley, though, is changed. Sometime in 2005 the city of Eugene began paving all the alleys in the Western University district. So now I walk up the alley (almost daily), and stop ever so briefly at the bike cage, then invite myself up into what is now my apartment. And the walk is still a nostalgic one, reminding me of the old me. I've changed a lot (I think for the better) in the past couple of years. M. and I broke up in April 2005. I don't think the alley was paved then.

I started dating L. soon after and broke up with her the following April. For me, life with L. is even more closely associated with food and cooking. She slept over frequently, and I'd often keep her up late, cooking some meal that was ready at midnight or one a.m. One night we stayed up, very drunk, until 4 am or so making sugar cookies with ginger and orange peel.

Now I am in a semi-relationship with someone who reminds me not of alleys or cookies but of airplanes. And I say semi because a great geographical distance separates us. So with B. it's airplanes (how we get to see each other!) and hotel rooms. Not in a seedy hotel room way, but well, that's where we see each other. Hotel rooms and city streets. I think I knew that I liked her when I decided one Sunday afteroon (the day after we had our first lovely tryst) that I would invite her into my living room and share the bottle of wine I'd been saving for months for a "special occasion." Hotel rooms, city streets, wine.

M. went on to get married to the man she met after me. One day after weeks of not speaking, she phoned me an offered me her apartment, as she was moving in with her beau. I moved in, had a conducted-over-email fight with her and haven't spoken since.


I guess I'm thinking about these things because I cleaned out my closet the other day, and sorted through my boxes of unsorted photographs. I am almost unrecognizable in some of the photos, esp. those slightly before and during the M. era. I was fat. Like fifty pounds fatter than I am now.

If I ever leave this town (this town I constantly complain about) I'm sure I'll be overcome every so often with nostalgia. I think J feels that way about Eugene. She only lived here for a short time, but it was during the first summer of our friendship, and we had some great times here. She's visiting this weekend!

I've never had a sister, but J feels like the closest thing to a sister. I love her as much as anyone in my family. Heck, maybe more.

1 comment:

Diana Marie Delgado said...

Nice Post, T.