I got off the subway at the wrong stop in lower Manhattan but figured it was a good idea to just be lost for a bit. Before I left California, I could have sworn my friend Shelvy gave some advice about making sure to get lost at least once during this adventure. And Shelvy’s a pretty smart guy, so sometimes, I do what he recommends. (Assuming he was the one who actually recommended this. Not 100% positive.)
It would have been easy enough to just open my Maps app and find my way in a matter of seconds, but somehow, this seemed to defeat the point. If there was ever a time for being a little lost, now seemed as good a time as any. Because in ‘normal’ life, when does that really happen? Seems like any time we’re going somewhere new we’re on Waze or Maps…and if we ever find ourselves momentarily lost, there’s literally an app for that. So the whole experience of lost-ness, in everyday life, is usually a moot point.
Today, not so much. Bumbling through SoHo in new-to-New York-Kimmy Schmidt-like wonder, I come across a tea shop I recognized, surprisingly. This tea shop just happened to be the subject of a 20 minute conversation I’d had, months before…also with Shelvy. If you know Shelvy you know we’re talking IN-depth discussion because this guy knows his stuff, and is well, basically the Dos Equis man. He keeps a collection of no fewer than 8 varieties of their tea in his office at all times along with his many many leather bound books (not true on that last part). The point is, running into this tea shop is a little magical. Like life/God/the universe was like, “I’m just gonna leave this coincidence here...” with the just-right amount of swagger one would hope from such a force.
The host greets me inside: “Just one, then?”
Smiling, confirm. Just one.
Out comes the large book I’ve been toting around on making space in our lives for spirituality, flip open to the next chapter: Gratitude Takes Nothing for Granted.
Click through to my Chill playlist, then realize – this is a collection of songs from two former boyfriends. Vernacular would be “exes,” but that term always seemed more caustic than necessary…
If heaven and hell decide, that they both are satisfied…
I was in college and just after, and much unfolded as it does in all our relationships: late night conversations, friend groups intertwining, family members met, trips taken, secrets exchanged, real selves exposed in varying degrees.
Illuminate the no’s in their vacancy signs…
Somewhere along the way with each guy, it became clear that they seemed to know what they wanted, and I couldn’t quite move forward. Something just wasn’t. But I was slow to realize it, and even slower to let go so they could find the person who could be all in. It felt confusing, messy, painful. I held on for as long as I could, hoping things would change, dragging them through indecision, pushing away when it seemed things weren’t quite right, pulling in again hoping things might work after all.
…if there’s no one beside you, when your soul embarks…
In my mind, neither story ended on a particularly happy note. It felt like all they’d done was give lower-case “l” love and it seemed like they’d just gotten frustration and pain in return. It felt incredibly unfair to them, and a simple equation emerged in my head: breaking up was kinda sh*tty and the pain of it seemed more of my fault than theirs, ere go, I was kinda sh*tty. I just wanted to rewrite the script, give a full refund on their time and investment and feelings and anything else they’d offered up in pursuit. It just seemed like the whole story was pretty much ending on one overall sh*tty note.
…then I’ll follow you into the dark.”
I didn’t trust that there were much bigger stories happening than mine and his – that there’d be more stories to come,and with different endings. Life kept going, because apparently, that’s what life does.
With these two guys, they each went on to meet these sharp, beautiful, full-of-life women who eventually became their wives. I’m at a distance so it’s impossible to know, but I think we’re talking on a ‘he’s her lobster’ level. My opinion on these women is irrelevant, but I can’t help but geek out over how and when and why they found these guys, geek out about how well suited they seem to be for each other, geek out about how good it is that life keeps on going and doesn’t seem too good at ending on a bad note.
Thank God, I guess, that the end is almost never actually the end end. That even if you can’t see it yet, there’s maybe, possibly more good to come, that life indeed goes on. It really all seems quite obvious when you write it out like this, and maybe these are all lessons you learned loooong ago, so you walk around with a healthy dose of hope that everything will work itself out in time. I think that’s awesome, and beautiful. Bottle up that mindset, get it to Walgreens, and watch the money roll in. I’d like to get in early as an affiliate marketer. 🙂
But I’ve had enough moments to ponder these ex loves, listen to their death cab and Matt Kearney songs and get in touch with all the feelings, as we do. There’s more of this city to see. 🙂 I leave the scone to its crumbs and set out to wander the southern tip of Manhattan for the rest of the day. I had no idea that there was, incidentally, more good to come, and just around the corner. Tomorrow would be the start with another future ex, of a vastly different variety than before.
No playlists, this time. 🙂