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New Life : Maddy #5 - kale & cigarettes
New Life : Maddy #5

New Life : Maddy #5

Just before the holidays, 2019.

“I’d like to skip all this and be an old man too, for the record,” Maddy texts me. 

I like that she doesn’t change the volume of her voice when she is talking in public. Even if everyone can hear what she says, she carries on, unphased. That is the opposite of me. I am always phased by something happening around me. 

My beard made her chin red. We kissed in my apartment again and then in the street before she got in her Lyft.

I played guitar and she sang along, shyly. 

“I’m not a musician. I am just doing this because I’ve always wanted to,” I told her before strumming the first note.

“Just play.”

I moved through the chord progressions of the song from the movie and then when I felt comfortable I began to sing the chorus, albeit quietly. She started singing it with me and her voice carried the high notes and reminded me of church but in a good way. There was a fullness building in the room. 

I have feelings for her and I’m still not sure fully what they are rooted in. Is it her, the idea of her, her company, my recovery? I’m not sure. But this room is rich and her face is beautiful and I want to be here for as long as possible. 


It was time for me to go to the airport. I waited until the last possible second. An 8pm flight out of Newark and I left my apartment at 6:30pm.

“I’m not even at the airport yet,” I texted her from the Lyft.

“Okay you cannot be telling me things like this. I will literally die and never see you again if you miss your flight.”

“I have to tell you, this was my choice. And if I do miss my flight I would do it exactly the same again.” 

“Regardless, you better get on that damn plane.” 

I made the flight with six minutes to spare. 

I sat on the plane and caught my journal up with my exciting New York life while eating soba noodles with beef and drinking a glass of red wine. 

The male flight attendant leaned over my shoulder and asked if I was writing him a love letter. 

I performed the obligatory chuckle reaction and he said he was just kidding. Then he brought me two snack boxes and told me not to tell the other passengers. “Our little secret,” he said with a smile. 


Back in San Diego.

This was the first year with our Hale staff dinner not featuring A. The new team sat before me inside the cute Italian restaurant on my block. An incredible team that helped me grow one of the largest production companies in San Diego. 

I told them how grateful I was. How rare it was to love your co-workers. And then distributed gifts and bonuses. They smiled and applauded and took videos for IG stories. I was called the best boss ever and we all had some mist in our eyes. I was grateful that they were happy in that moment but there is always the thought that I should be doing more for them. Then the second thought comes right after – but what if things slow down and you’re left with all the financial liability? I worry about not having enough and it seems, at least for now, that no amount will actually be enough.

Their enthusiasm put guilt in my body and in my mind as the question that constantly bounces around in my thoughts gained momentum – what is fair?


Maddy texted me right before I walked into the Italian restaurant. I thought about her all day as I have been doing most days now. I am nervous inside and it’s not attached to a particular thought. It’s a state. A force that is pulling things around inside of me and tampering with my nervous system. Maddy. My chest. 

Then the protective, avoidant voice kicks in and says I don’t even like her. This voice is present in thanks to my emotionally underdeveloped upbringing in which feelings weren’t discussed and I was more likely to be picked up by the front of my shirt than sat down to talk about what caused certain behaviors. I am protecting myself from this new person who could get in so deep and then do so much harm. Marks says it is a skill I have developed for survival. Only, it doesn’t play very well in relationships.

In the end, I’m glad to be from a traditional Midwestern family. The hardworking, grounded characteristics outweigh my lack of emotional availability. I can peel that open over time and make progress in every relationship. Entitlement is something that can never be washed away. 

I soften ever so slightly at the image of her in my head. Her animated hands as she yells about the cheap EDM music playing in the cute French cafe in the West Village. This could be such a good place with the proper music, you know, accordions and piano?  

There are things about her that I worry will be difficult for me down the line. At least based on past relationships. It seems I am drawn to the opposite of me only to try to bend them slowly to adjust for my own comforts and insecurities. It’s possible I’ve spent enough time with Mark to understand that better and avoid that behavior but Maddy will be the first application outside my last relationship and that will not come without some setbacks. I hope she is patient and I hope she is kind towards me in her heart because that is what I want to be with her. 

4 Replies to “New Life : Maddy #5”

  1. Kirk, I always enjoy reading your updates. This is Erika, my husband Alex and I use to visit your yoga studio in the East Village.

    Hope you’re doing well. It sounds like you are. Keep writing and doing good work. Hope success continues for you in your personal and professional life. All the best.

    1. hi Erika! i remember you. thanks for reading. yes, life has been very interesting and fulfilling. hope you’re doing well too.

  2. “…itis a skill I developed for survival. Only it doesn’t play very well in relationships.” I’m not saying that reading that felt like a punch in the face, but I had to stop reading and put the phone down for a bit to process that.

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