Her: “All that glitters is gold.” Me: (laughing) The saying is, “All that glitters is NOT gold.” You got that precisely wrong
Gymgirl’s gone again. The details are unimportant.
She’s great; I adored her, really. We just don’t see the world the same way.
Despite my reservations, three buddies of mine just showed up for drinks by mine…
…along with food, which I had to decline because of personal reasons.
Him: Man, you really didn’t eat anything. Me: I told you, I’m a rock. I’m a goddamn brick wall.
Now, I desperately need sleep – see the convo below – which is another entry entirely, but I couldn’t say no to them.
I’m pretty touched that my friends always show up to see how I’m doing. Although they made their feelings about her clear as well.
Him: We all liked you with her, man. How much sleep have you gotten this week? Me: Nine hours in the last 96. Him: Are you sure you should be making decisions like this right now? Me: (shrugging)The die is cast. We make our choices in life and accept the ramifications. Both of us. Alla us. These are the cards she dealt me and I, her. So we play them as we do.
Perhaps they’re my friends because I’m old as dirt and have learned a thing or two along the way.
Or maybe there’s just something in my life that makes some people wanna stay yet others not.
Death and f____ing cancer notwithstanding.
Although some of them could be a bit more supportive than others.
Me: What are you talking about? I’m the best looking Asian from our old gym. Him: No, that’d be your cousin. Me: (thinking) OK, that’s fair. She’s lovely.
Me: Man, my phone is going off like crazy. (taking it out) Her: Well, we’ve been away for a while. Me: (checking my phone) Oh no…
Because this was the first vacation I’d taken in over four years, and because I help manage my building, had a buddy housesit for me for the first time.
Well, that was a disaster.
The first six days were fine but the last day, my buddy, Pac – evidently – left the gas on such that the couple three floors above me smelled the gas at two in the morning and called the fire department and ConEd to try and break my gate down.
For better or worse, my gate held but it still needed to be repaired.
Still, no one was hurt and that’s the most important thing.
Although I’ve had five surprise inspections by ConEd and the Fire Department with a sixth scheduled for tomorrow.
Went to the exact same place I went all the other times before: Bermuda.
You see, I always wanted a place that I just went to regularly. Lots of my friends, including the Gymgirl, want to explore new things and new places all the time. Not me. I like familiar.
In a way, Bermuda was the perfect place to go: Familiar, close, easy, affordable. And, for the most part, this return trip was just great.
This was the first time I’d gone with the Gymgirl but also the first time I went with another couple: My cousin Ras and her fella. It was also the first time I’d left out of New Jersey and not New York.
Me: We’ll see you guys at the park in Herald Square and head out to NJ from there. Ras: See ya.
Before we knew it, we were on a ship heading out to pink beaches.
Gymgirl: I’ve never been in the middle of the ocean on a ship before. Me: What do you think? Her: It’s like my worst nightmare.
The Gymgirl was the only one of us that had never been on a cruise before, so she had to get used to it a bit. She was much more of an adventure-seeking traveler.
Her: You’re not an adrenaline junkie? Me: I went to the ER 17 times in a year. I’ve had enough adrenaline in my life.
Which is not to say I didn’t have my heart-racing moments. This is cause I neglected to consider that it might not be a good idea to go to someplace that I’d gone to so many times with Alison.
One stormy night, the Gymgirl and I were at sea. She was impressed and scared at the violence of the waves. So was I, for different reasons.
The word sirens comes from Greek mythology where these sea creatures had beautiful voices that tempted sailors to either shipwreck against rocky shores or leap to their deaths in stormy seas.
There were moments when, looking out at the rough waves, gotta admit that I heard them.
A fleeting thought for a fleeting moment. But that’s the thing with those types of thoughts. All it needs is one moment to take over.
Her: We should go back in. Me: Yeah. That’s a good idea.
I’ll tell you some nicer parts of the trip soon, if you’re interested.
The boy “graduated” from his school earlier this week. Two, actually. One was an art class, the other a music class. But really, they were a way to socialize him with kids his age. That was the goal, anywho. Along the way, I met these women that became the Mother’s Group that I talk to almost every day. In that sense, it socialized us both.
Friend: This is it, a first graduation! Me: Whoa – well, let’s hope it’s the first of many.
Gymgirl: (watching TV) I’m pretty impressed that you figured that part out. Me: (dismissively) Of course, I’m ridonk brilliant. Her: Eh, you’re alright.
Speaking of graduating, not only did the Gymgirl graduate as well, she also started a new job recently so, after she got her first paycheck, she took me out to eat Korean BBQ in Korea Town at place called Jongro. A boy could get spoiled like this.
Went to that place years ago with my college buddies.
Leigh’s husband wrote me to tell me that he thought The Gymgirl sounded like an amazing person. It’s a lot for someone to deal with people like us that are saddled with such grief. I agree.
Although I feel I enrich her life in my own inimitable way.
Gymgirl: I need to post on social media that I graduated. What did you post when you graduated? Me: I didn’t have the internet back then. Her: (laughing) Good god, you have to put that in your blog.
Then, one September day, we told each other that we didn’t wanna be with anyone else.
Alison: You’ve finally accepted that I’m your Ship-in-the-Night Girl, huh? Me: (nodding) Yes.
That was a great day. Probably one of the happiest days of my life.
A good friend of mine was given an opportunity to start his own gym and asked me my thoughts.
Told him, honestly, that he owed it to his future self to take his chances as they come.
I mean, that’s the thing with every facet of life, yeah? You’re presented with an opportunity and you have to decide whether to stay with the devil you know or push all that doubt to the side of your mouth, shut up, and take your chances.
When Alison met me that night, my business was failing. A family friend stole most of my money. Was drinking and womanizing way too much.
And yet she saw something in me that made her take a chance on me.
She believed me when I told her I was looking for her all those years. While it was the truth, I can see how that might be a hard thing to accept with a fella like me.
I admit that in my sleepless nights, I worried she’d wake up one day and realize she’d made a terrible mistake.
But she never did.
She’s been gone only a year and I’m already in another relationship. Can’t express how guilty that makes me feel. But she’d want what was best for me and the boy.
And Alison knew I loved her and only her. That’s all that really matters to me.
That’s not entirely true: I want the kid to know I loved his mamma completely.
Did everything I could to save her for us. Life f___d us anyway.
The Gymgirl left this story a while ago. Suppose in the simplest terms, she and I both thought that it was too early for us to be in relationship. She had school and life going on and I had…well, you know what I had going on.
But I can’t be a hypocrite and tell my buddy, and everyone else, to take their chances as they come and not do it myself.
You see, the Gymgirl sees my broken self and thinks I might be something or someone great. Or nearabouts. And I think she’s something great also.
In the movie, Say Anything, even people that’ve never seen the film know that stupid scene where Lloyd holds that boombox over his head in the rain. Always thought that was idiotic when I was a kid and still do.
But the part I liked, and remembered, the most is at the very end where Loyd and Diane, who hates to fly, are on the airplane. Loyd goes:
All right, high level airline safety tips: If anything happens, it usually happens in the first five minutes of the flight, right?
And he says that smoking sign dings at around five minutes so they have to wait for the ding. The last two minutes of the film are them waiting for that ding.
Man, I’m so old, I remember smoking on a plane. And check out the hat the girl wears in the scene on the bottom.
But, to paraphase my sister, getting old is a gift. Not everyone gets to grow old.
On that note, May’s almost over, and the days I feared/hated the most in May are past.
Did some projects on the 24th to keep my head busy and made it through the day drinking only a little, relatively speaking. The Gymgirl helped.
It was still kind of a blur. That type of pain is like looking at the sun; you can’t do it for long otherwise it’ll damage you permanently.
Friday and Saturday were both better; on Friday, went to the gym and then introduced some of them to my fave dive bar in the Upper West Side.
On Saturday, met up with some people from my old gym out in Queens for a BBQ.
Why we all left the gym is a long story for another time but in a nutshell, it was because of the gym owner, albeit for slightly different reasons. It was good to see them all. Had a long talk with one of them about the nature of god and whether or not s/he even exists.
Him: I think, if anything, I’m agnostic right now. Me: I think that’s where I am too. If there is god, he wants nothing to do with me and I, him.
Sunday, I was supposed to have dinner plans with a friend but he bailed on me because he got a better offer, which is another story for another time.
Him: It’s not that big a deal. Me: No, you don’t get to piss on me and tell me it’s rain.
So I sent out a random Facebook event invite telling a handful of people that I was going to go downtown to get some all-you-can-eat sushi and if anyone was free, they should join me.
Called it: You have about 90 minutes to decide.
Surprisingly, both my coach and two students from the old gym – one of whom was at the BBQ – showed up and we ended up having a great time.
Me: Goddammit, wait until the first batch comes in before you order more food. Gee: This is not my first rodeo, Logan! I know what I’m capable of when it comes to all-you-can-eat! (food comes, we demolish it) Oh, look at that, now we need to order more food. Me: I’m sorry, you’re right. I never shoulda doubted you.
Took the train back with one of them and we were talking about our lives.
It all felt surprising normal.
Got out of the subway and went home. The Gymgirl was on a hike and the kid was away at my mom’s so I sat down on my white couch and poured myself a glass of rum and thought about everything. Old Memorial Days and such.
After I’m done writing this, probably gonna go see some other friends and pick up the kid from my mom’s.
A friend of my sister’s dropped by yesterday with gifts for the kid – an owl plush toy, and a children’s book – plus a gift for me: Rum.
Her: I didn’t know her but I wish I did. She sounded like an amazing person. I hope you don’t find it strange that I show up here as a stranger.
And I spoke to an old friend I’ve not spoken to in ages.
Him: I met this girl. I’m selling everything and moving outta the city to be with her. I wouldn’t have imagined doing something like this before but then I thought of you and Alison.
In their own ways, they apologized for reducing the sum of Alison’s life to a life lesson or story.
But I told them not to apologize and related a quote I like from Margaret Atwood: In the end, we all become stories.
All I have left of her are a handful of pictures, two videos, and these stories in my head. And the boy, of course.
In honor of her birthday, let me tell you a silly story. It’s for me, really. To put it out into the aether and make it real again, if only for a bit.
She disliked beets. But I loved them.
Her: You like beets? Me: As my buddy would say: Nothing beats beets. Her: (rolls eyes)
So I came home one day to find her wearing gloves and covered in beet juice. When I saw her, she pretended that I caught her in the middle of a murder (we loved Dexter, you see). She wanted to surprise me with some roasted beets and dried beet chips.
In any case, I asked her if I could take a picture of her and she resisted. She hated having her picture taken. But I insisted. And I asked that she recreate the scream as well. She did.
She disliked all those things: The beets. The pictures. The recreation. But she did them all because I asked. Because she loved me so much.
It’s an amazing thing to be loved so much by someone you love so much.
Dammit, I wish I insisted on more pictures and videos. We never think we’ll need things like pictures and videos until it’s too late.
I f__king hate that I only have two videos of her. It guts me.
For her birthday, do me a favor?
Take a picture – or even better, take a video – of someone you love that loves you as much as she loved me. As much as I loved her.
As for me, I drink. I cry. I drink some more. I’ll be going to a party with friends and drinking myself silly.
And I try to forget that I had someone that loved me so deeply and so much that I loved so deeply and so much.
Her: Why do you want to take a picture? Me: Because I want to remember it. Her: I look terrible. I spent this whole time cooking. Me: You look beautiful. Please? Her: Fiiiiiine. Me: Can you recreate that scream? Her: (laughing) OK. But only for you. I would only do this for you.