As much as I’m in New York to see you and spend time with you, I’m also in New York just to be in New York.
New York City’s my home city; it’s the city I hope to move back to soon, once I’ve got some personal stuff sorted out in LA; and this was also a trip I had planned before we met. Back in LA, when we were first getting to know each other, I told you I had a trip to New York planned in a few weeks, not really meeting your eyes because I wanted you to say, Oh, yeah? Maybe I’ll try to be in New York then, too, but it felt too soon — we felt too new — to hope for that.
I was busy pretending to look out the window, pretending to be so fascinated by the people outside, when you’d said, Yeah? I think I’m doing a dinner in New York around then … maybe we could do something.
It turns out the dinner is next weekend, but you come down to meet me, anyway. I tell you I’ll probably take you around to meet all my friends, and you say, I’m down for that, smile in that way that says that you’re pleased and happy at the prospect of something.
Can we eat at King?
Claire’s place? Sure.
Do you know her?
No. I’ve heard of but never met — but, yeah, definitely, yes.
We plan to meet at King at noon because they open at noon, and you’re a little delayed, so I sit at the bar and get a drink. I think the bartender is cute and tell you as much over text. You send over a string of red-faced angry emojis followed by a you and your fucking bartenders — stay away. I laugh out loud, alone at the bar.
It’s been two weeks since I last saw you, and I get nervous about these gaps, about being long-distance for the foreseeable future. It’s not that I’m worried you’ll cheat or stray or whatever; it’s that I know what time and distance can do, the illusions they can build. Maybe we feel like we work so well because we’re only together for a few days at a time, and, of course, we’re excited for these few days, and we’re not going to mess up the short amounts of time we have. Maybe we’re riding those emotional highs.
Maybe our hearts will cool, and we’ll drift apart, and it’ll happen so naturally because of time and distance, that we don’t realize it until it’s too late. Maybe, then, we’ll decide it’s not worth salvaging or fighting for, this relationship that requires so much planning and extra income and too many looking-forward-tos.
But maybe, on the other hand, this is the most real relationship I’ve had. Maybe the long-distance thing forces open communication, makes us step back early on and assess whether or not we’re in this, we’re committed to this, to each other, to who we are together and can be in the future. Neither of us is the casual dating sort, and maybe there is something to this, to seeing you come through the door with your smile and everyday uniform of a fitted T and skinny jeans torn at the knees, to having that same relief flood through me, the relief I feel every time my plane lands at JFK: I’m home. This is home. I’m home.
In the end, I choose to trust that instead of listening to the doubts and insecurities that try to nag at me because maybe that’s the thing — whether this relationship fails or not, whether we have a future or not, is really up to us.