Conversations in May

Hugging porcupines

Been having a lotta interactions lately. Probably because it’s May. Some have been funny…

Him: I wanted to make sure you were still alive.
Me: It’s still early in the month.

…some just amusing…

Me: (holding out hand) My name’s Logan.
Her: (taking it) Malaga.
Me: Like the city in Spain? You know, I gave a lecture there years ago.
Her: Really?
Me: I know, I’m as surprised as you are.
Her: (laughs)

…some less so:

PT: I think about her a lot.
Me: Well, that makes two of us.

Alison’s really amazing physical therapist came by for the first time in almost over two years. She used to come here two-to-three days a week to try and help Alison – and refused to take any money for it.

We caught up and she saw the boy again for the first time in ages; he wasn’t speaking and had just started crawling the last time she saw him.

Her: He’s adorable! (later) I’m so glad we did this.
Me: Me too. I would have written you sooner but…(trails off)
Her: (gently) I know.
Me: I’d like to see you again, if I could. When you’re free.
Her: (nodding) I’d like that.

Actually, I communicated with a number of people that I’ve not spoken to in a while.

Her: How are you?
Me: (slight laugh) Probably exactly as you’d imagine.
Her: (later) I wanted to mention that my ex and I moved in together.
Me: That’s great. I always just wanted you to be happy.
Her: (pause) Why didn’t you ever let me meet him? Your son…
Me: (sighing) Alison told me once that, when you have a kid, and you see someone love that kid, you can’t help but fall in love with them. We were both in a weird…
Her: (interrupting) But the Gymgirl met him.
Me: Yes. She did. I set her apart.
Her: Before or after she met him? And did she set you apart?

Speaking of the Gymgirl, the boy asked about her every single day up until a few days ago. I’m not sure which of the two bothered me more.

And a dear friend took my breath away…

Her: The toughest thing for me is that the joy of my daughter’s birth is shadowed by my brother’s death. Every year she celebrates is a reminder that he’s gone for that long too. My mom took down almost every picture of him. It’s just too painful to see them right now.
Me: Yes. Someone, who lost his wife also told me that memories are like trying to hug a porcupine; you want to but it hurts too much to do it.

…while another friend took my breath away for different yet similar reasons.

Me: I was hoping I could avoid your fate. But Oedipus, and the Moirai, and alla that ____.
Her: You’re the only man I know that can bring up obscure Greek mythology and expletives in the same breath.
Me: I’m special like that. (later) I think about what you said alla time.
Her: But that’s me, Logan. You’re not me. (thinking) You should come visit.
Me: Maybe. I’m not the same person you knew. I’m not sure I can be or want to be.
Her: None of us are the same people we were. Everyone grows and changes, for better or worse.
Me: (laughing) That’s where you’re wrong. New York is fulla people who never grow up or change.
Her: (laughs) And that’s why I had to leave.

Finally, my old boss from decades ago contacted me too. Someone called him about his mom, who died, and he felt compelled to contact me.

Him: It was great to talk to her, but it was tough to get off the phone and be in tears. I thought you’d understand better than most.
Me: I actually signed off FB messenger because I was getting so many messages from people that meant well but didn’t really get it. Death is something no one truly understands until they experience it firsthand.

It’s funny. I wanna be alone alla time but I value these interactions – and rando bits of kindness – more than you might imagine.

Location: at the bottom of a bottle of rum
Mood: thoughtful
Music: missed you more than I thought I would
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All the places I’ll never see

Decrepit old man

The Gymgirl kept doing things for me all week for my birthday, including buying me a Red Velvet cupcake.

She also pulled a bunch of my friends from the gym together for a surprise dinner for me last week but I had a stomach bug so I couldn’t really eat anything, which is a shame because it was at my favourite local joint of Cuban-Chinese food.

They came back to my pad to play some games but I had to call it an early night because I started getting feverish. It was a rough two days – we were supposed to go to see the Gymgirl’s family the next day but I was so sick that I couldn’t make it.

Her: Call me if you need anything!
Me: …

The next day, she came in to check in on me.

The Gymgirl: (upbeat) You look much better. (pause) Hey, are you ok?
Me: Sorry. (distracted) I’m better. I’m just thinking of Alison. She felt rotten for years. I just think about how much she suffered and endured…
Her: I’m sorry Logan.
Me: No – I’m sorry I’m such a downer all the time.
Her: You’re not. (later) At least you’re not projectile vomiting.
Me: Yes, there is that.

Eventually, I felt good enough to get out of bed and we had a nice day together and watched a few travel programs.

I like to look at all the places that I’ll never see in real life.

Her: Why don’t you actually go?
Me: (shrugging) I’ve lost that drive. Plus the kid and work means it’s hard to get away. This is like the next best thing. (watching a show on St. Paul Cathedral) I do like London, though. I’d climb that the next time I’m in London.
Her: It’s 30 stories! You’d never make it, you decrepit old man.

Also saw my boss for drinks the other day.

Me: I wanted to say, “I’m sorry.”
Him: (surprised) For what?
Me: For how things turned out. I had all these beautiful plans – personal and professional. And life ____ed me outta all of them. I thought I’d come back this summer but I just wanna take care of the kid. That’s all I want to do these days.
Him: You don’t ever have to apologize for any of that. And raise your son. We’ll be here when you’re ready. Trust me – when he goes to school, you’ll be itching for something to do.
Me: (laughing) Maybe…

Location: the gym, pretending I’m not 46
Mood: hopeful
Music: I’m a little bit home, but I’m not there yet
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A day with friends and the Hudson Yards

Day drinking rum with friends

Her: I’m in the mood for an adventure.

The Gymgirl and I decided to go check out the Hudson Yards the other day before our gym class. It was totally last minute so we didn’t have tickets for anything. But it was a beautiful day and we were happy to be out of the house.

Because of our diet, the Gymgirl hadn’t had coffee in months because things like beans and seeds weren’t allowed in her diet. But she decided to slowly add them back one-by-one, starting with beans. Mainly for coffee and chocolate.

She was already planning to have coffee that weekend so we decided to go to Queensyard Cafe.

Her: Do they have a creamer I can use?
Me: Soy milk?
Her: Yes!

For the latter, we ended up at at Li-Lac chocolates where the owner comped us some chocolate. Unfortunately, he also told us that chocolate was a seed and not a legume.

Me: You already ate some. In for a penny in for a pound, I say.

This was her response:

We then took a long (long) walk to Home Depot to get supplies for a project, that I’ll tell you about later, before heading to our gym class.

After Home Depot, however, I got a got a text from RE Mike about a block from our gym class:

REM: Where are you?!?!
Me: It’s today? I have it down for next week!
Him: You’re _____ me.

I wasn’t.

The Gymgirl immediately started running and so I did as well.

If REM wrote just five minutes later, we woulda missed the whole thing, because she and I don’t check our phones when we’re at the gym. And we’re there for hours.

The “thing” was a bar mitzvah for the son of my friends around the way. Luckily, it was just a few blocks from where I live, at the Time Warner Center.

Me: (entering the apartment and immediately setting a 10 minute timer) When this goes off, we’re out the door.
Her: (heading to her clothes) Got it.

In less than 30 minutes, we went from being casual to this:

They’re some of my favourite people so it would have been terrible if I missed it.

Him: I wouldn’t have let you live it down.
Me: Nor should you.

We were there until the end, which meant that we were home by six. But we drank so much rum that we just crashed until midnight or so, when we woke up and watched a few episodes of Love, Death, & Robots.

Well, the ones I could watch.

All in all, a really strange and awesome day.

I remember when I had awesome days. I had forgotten what they were like.

Me: Did you get your adventure?
Her: Yes, now I need a nap.

Location: last week, Ascent Lounge in NYC
Mood: guess
Music: Holding onto cobwebs that has us both on the fence
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My PG-13 life

At least I get to live it


The Gymgirl gave me an (unintentional) black eye the other day in my gym class.

Gymgirl: Do you need ice?
Me: God, yes.

In a nutshell, her foot went into my eye and nose. It was decidedly unpleasant.

Gym owner: You’re fine. You’re not even bleeding…wait, nevermind, you’re bleeding.
Me: Oh, good, that’s a relief.

I’m literally getting my ass kicked by all the women I know in life.

Which leads me to believe that Life itself is a woman because, I’m definitely getting my ass kicked by her.

The nurse that Alison liked the most during IVF called me the other day.

Nurse: It literally took me a week to get up the nerve to call you.
Me: I’m so glad you did. Alison adored you.
Her: (exhales) Thank you. I wasn’t sure how you’d be speaking to me.
Me: Yeah, I get it.

It was mostly admin stuff. But I was glad to hear her voice.

She left me a voicemail before but my voicemail transcribes messages to me so the last time I actually heard her voice, I was with Alison. And we were happy. Then everything went to shit.

Dunno why I always remind you of that. I should assume you know already.

Anywho, I often wonder if it’s fair to the Gymgirl that she’s with someone like me. I come with so much baggage.

Like my friend Somena once said, the key to a good relationship is to find someone whose baggage matches yours.

But I’m not sure I could bear knowing anyone with baggage that matches mine. And I’m grateful that the Gymgirl doesn’t have matching baggage. Suppose she is too.

Another group of friends were talking about television and movies the other day and I told them that I’m not sure I can handle anything beyond PG-13 these days.

Had to have a talk with another friend that didn’t understand why I was so upset by something he said. Casual things that people say mean different things to people like me.

Cause everything reminds me of something I don’t wanna be reminded of.

Wish everything were easier. But life itself isn’t easy so I’m SOL.

Then again, I get the chance to live it so I shouldn’t complain.

Me: Oh man, I missed you so much!
Son: I want a cookie.
Me: (nodding) You have your priorities.
Him: I missed you. I want a cookie.
Me: (nodding)

Location: bhavachakra
Mood: Groundhog-dayed
Music: I’ll let you in on something big. I am not a white teeth teen
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Heading north

I want to be wherever


The best thing about having this here blog is seeing the changes that’ve happened across all this time.

I don’t always use pictures that relate to the entry I’m writing about. For example, this entry is when I met a waitress that looked just like Natalie Portman, but the picture is one I took when I met a girl named Alice.

I don’t mention every person I meet in this blog for a number of reasons, least of which so many people I meet stay in my venn diagram. Natalie didn’t but Alice did.

Alice and I’d not seen each other in years; as I said, before Alison got sick, we stopped being social and in the world because Alison and I lost so many pregnancies. And then the fucking cancer came.

Been gingerly stepping back into the world here and there. When I was young and single, had a rule that served me well: Never turn down an invite.

It’s how I met both Alison and the Gymgirl. And a lotta others.

Anywho, Alice invited me to her birthday party the other day and I decided to go with the Gymgirl to this bar called The Churchill.

Cause I’d decided to stay here in this world so I might as well take part in it. From time-to-time, at least.

Alice: Logan! (hugs me tightly) You came. I haven’t seen you in…
Me: It’s been a while.
Her: (hesitatingly) How have you been?
Me: (shrugging) You know…it’s been a lotta rock bottom. But, maybe I’m heading north.

 

My brother wrote a song once about a girl named Alice – not this Alice – that I’ve always liked.

I seem to like women whose name begin with “Al.”

Location: Not north yet
Mood: pensive
Music: I want to be wherever Alice is
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Just a touch

Just one thing?


Came back from some work the other day and I found the below note from the Gymgirl.

She’s not the typical girly-girl, that’s for sure.

Me: (amused) There’s something wrong with you.
Her: (laughing) Just one thing?

Still haven’t done my taxes. Alison used to always do them so I find myself putting it off until the last minute for a variety of causes, least of which is that she did them for a reason: I used to tell her that I personally combat the stereotype that all Asians are good at math.

I’d earmarked today to do them but there was an unexpected snow day – despite a clear lack of snow – here in the big city.

Then, on top of that, he’s been complaining of pains enough that I’ve been concerned so I scheduled a last minute appointment with his doc today.

Him: (excited) Are we going to the park?
Me: (upbeat) We’re going to see the doctor really quickly.
Him: No! I don’t don’t wanna see her! No! No!

Ended up being mostly fine, which I’m grateful for considering he was in the ER just a few months ago.

Me: (after visit) That wasn’t so bad, right?
Him: I like lollipops.
Me: Yes, (nodding) always focus on the positive, kid.

On a different matter altogether, been working again like I used to and I feel – for better or worse – a little glimmer of who I used to be before everything went to shit.

It’s just a touch. Dunno if it’ll be more or less as time goes on.

Not even really sure which one is better.

Location: alone in my Mouse-free home
Mood: relieved
Music: Can we go back? This is the moment
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Trying not to fake it

Went out to eat again

Gymgirl: We’re both human. People make mistakes
Me: Some more than others.
Her: Like when you trusted Pac to watch the place?

Went out to eat with my cousin and her fella, along with the Gymgirl and my buddy, Pac – that’s him making some congee above.

We went to another hot pot joint, this time Spring Shabu Shabu in Flushing.

Me: The wait’s over 30 minutes? Why don’t we go someplace else?
Him: This place has all you can eat sides, veggies, and ice cream.
Me: Sold.

We stuffed ourselves silly. Being on this diet, it takes a long time to feel full – and this time I felt full, finally.

I had a good time. I feel like I’m faking it a lot but there are moments when I think I’m not.

Hopefully, in time, that feeling’ll go away.

Me: I want to have some ice cream but…
Gymgirl: (stopping eating) Say it! Say it!
Me: (confused) …I wish I had some peanut butter.
Her: (reaches into bag and triumphantly takes out a package and hands it to me) Here.

The company helps.

Location: Still at home with a mouse
Mood: still discomforted
Music: I feel like like there might be something that I’ll miss
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Burnt Bacon = Shattered Dreams

Dieting around town

Because of the Gymgirl’s hardcore diet, we’ve been cooking a ton. Mostly bacon, which I cook now because she wrecked her first batch.

Her: This place smells like burnt bacon.
Me: It’s what shattered dreams smell like.

She didn’t even break her diet when we saw ABFF for her kid’s birthday party. And they had cupcakes. Harry Potter cupcakes.

Me: I’m super impressed.
Her: I need more food.

The Gymgirl has two brothers and we met up with them and their respective wives for dinner the other night at her younger brother’s pad in NJ.

She brought some fish and asparagus that I made for her so she wouldn’t have to break her diet.

Me: Would you mind if I just ate what they have?
Her: Sure! You can eat whatever you want. Have a cheat day.
Me: Sweeeeeeet.

I brought a bottle of whiskey for them, since I had it…

Her Older Brother: Why do you two smell like alcohol?

…which I seemed to have spilled all over the interior of my bag on the way there. Evidently, I have the worst luck on NJ trains vis-a-vis my bags.

It was fine though, as they had plenty of food and drink. Ended up eating everything there.

And then some.

Other Brother: Do you want dessert? We have cookie dough ice cream and vanilla ice cream.
Me: Yes.
Him: Which one do you want?
Me: Both? (thinking) And do you have peanut butter?

They did, and I almost ate all of it.

We brought some board games to play and had a nice time before her other brother’s wife had to go because she was pregnant and getting tired.

They gave us a lift back to the City and dropped us off downtown so we walked around a bit before heading back home.

Her: Did you have a good time?
Me: Yeah. It was fun.

It’s still weird being back in the world. And yet, here I am.

Location: same planet as you
Mood: super busy
Music: ‪What do you do when a chapter ends?‬
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Salvaging broken things

The Gymgirl did my family a kindness

Me: What are you doing?
Her: Nothing…

The weather’s been absolutely brutal here in the City. It’s made my injury, which was (kinda) getting better, excruciating.

I was out today because I put in a bid for a portfolio of work that I wasn’t expecting to win and yet I did. So, suddenly, I find myself working again as if nothing’s happened in the past three years. And yet, so much has.

On that note, the boy accidentally broke the little grey ceramic owl from this entry, and crushed a little part of me at the same time.

But you can’t get mad at a toddler for being a toddler.

Still, I remember when Alison bought them for his room, before he was born. I teased her about her obsession with owls.

In any case, I was so busy that day that I didn’t have time to mourn the loss of it, though it stayed in the back of my mind.

The Gymgirl was here when the owl broke and she swept up the pieces. I assumed that she threw them away but I found out that she saved them.

When I came home the other night, I found her sitting at the table with some epoxy and all the pieces trying to glue them all together.

Ultimately, she did and put the grey owl back where it belonged in the boy’s room.

I loved those owls because Alison got them for the boy – because she loved him even before he was born. And now also because the Gymgirl did something so kind for us.

I once said that kindness is valuable because it’s so rare. I value kindness above all other traits because it’s such an attractive quality. It’s why I loved Alison so.

As for the Gymgirl, she has an uncanny knack for salvaging broken things. A boy could fall for a girl like her.

Because, like I said, all good relationships have these secret kindnesses that keep people together.

Me: Thank you. (thinking) That means a lot to me.
Her: It’s no big deal. (shrugging) It’s not perfect but I think it’s good.
Me: No, it’s perfect. Thank you.

Location: Antartica, I think
Mood: freezing but happy with my owls
Music: When they say only fools rush in, then I may be foolish
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You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here

5PM, right?

It was a long weekend, this past weekend, so I brought the boy to my in-laws and stayed for lunch.

MIL: Do you want a sandwich?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: (later) Do you want some pizza?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: One or two slices?
Me: Yes, please.

Because my son was away this past weekend, the Gymgirl and I celebrated her birthday.

Oh, and also because it was her birthday.

I tried to throw a surprise birthday party for her but my coach – god love him – kinda threw a wrench in our plans.

Him: (coming over to the Gymgirl and me) How are you two doing with today’s lesson?
Me: Good, we’re just practicing.
Him: Great! Oh, and for tomorrow’s game night, it’s at 5PM right?
Me:  …
Him: (looking puzzled, turns to Gymgirl) It’s 5PM right?
Gymgirl: (laughing) Yes. 5PM (he leaves) So…game night is at 5PM?
Me: (laughing) Yes. 5PM.

Now that the cat was outta the bag, she helped me clean up the joint that day and we ordered pizzas for everyone.

Me: Should I order two or three pizzas?
Her: Well, the coach and you will be here, so that’s two pizzas right there.
Me: Three pizzas it is.

Lots of people from our old and new gym stopped by for pizza and board games. We actually ended up playing games, including some Jackbox games, for about six hours.

The time really flew. It was 11PM before we knew it.

Coach: Should we start wrapping up?
Me: Well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

Location: home, fixing the window
Mood: coooooold
Music: one of us gets too drunk and calls about a hundred times
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