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On Dating : Last Days in New York - kale & cigarettes
On Dating : Last Days in New York

On Dating : Last Days in New York

3.22.20 8:40AM Bed, NYC

We cannot remember the second thing we needed from the grocery store. The first is cottage cheese. That’s easy because we always need more cottage cheese. Is it turkey? No. Bread? No. Arugula? No. Goddamn, what was it? We go back and forth and I’ve conceded to the fact that it’s one of those lost thoughts and it’s gone forever. She walks into the kitchen and stands in the place where she last remembered. I hear her mumbling to cabinets, Okay cabinet, what do you need? What are you trying to tell me? You were here when it happened, what are we forgetting? She’s not doing it for attention as I can tell by the approach she actually thinks it will work. Then, suddenly, she lets out an incredible exhale and exclaims CHOCOLATE! And we both start laughing and she leans over on her knees like a sprinter who has just finished their race during the olympics. 

She is slow to wake up which would normally be difficult for me but since I’m in New York and nothing in my West Coast world begins until 11AM I have nowhere to be.

The first alarm goes off at 9. She is supposed to log onto the gallery’s remote messaging system at 9:30 every morning. 

She doesn’t usually respond to the first alarm. From what I’ve seen, she sleeps through most everything, including my open mouth on her head while I snore into her ear. 

I take this opportunity to sneak into the bathroom and try to silently poop. It is more challenging than I would’ve thought. I forgot how relaxed and free one must be feeling to have a proper movement.

This morning is less soft than usual. I was up before the alarm gently running my fingers through her hair as she inched closer and mumbled inaudible things.

I’m thinking about which places I don’t have to pay rent on since there is no economy at the moment. I’m looking at going from $75,000 in revenue in March to $0 in April because of Covid-19. We’re all just holding on. 

It’s starting to get more comfortable between us in gradual steps. The more times I do something in front of her the less I think about it and the more natural it becomes. 

She peed with the door open on Thursday and I watched her and she got nervous and couldn’t go. But she made the first step. Now she can sit down and pee while brushing her teeth and listening to me tell her a story from the edge of the bed.

She blew me last night. Then I went down on her. She comes easily and it makes me feel good. 

I walk around naked a little more. She does too.

When we hold each other I feel full. When we pull our faces back I love to kiss her lips. We sway back and forth and sometimes I hum a song I made up. I might pull back quickly and pretend to stab her in the kidney with an invisible knife. She may let her body go slack in my arms and her tongue hang from the side of her mouth. I don’t want to leave her ever when we are like this.

3.23.20 10:18AM Desk, NYC

I’m supposed to leave Wednesday. I’m supposed to be rich by the end of this year. I’m supposed to have my divorce settlement by now. 

It is hailing outside my window. My neighbors in the luxury condos across the street are stewing in their living room, reading the paper, drinking tea, carrying blankets from room to room for comfort. 

It’s always been the older couple, say, late 60s. But now there is at least one kid, maybe two. They have been called back from whatever Chelsea apartment building they’re living in with a doorman as they attend classes at Pratt. I watch one of the daughters, roughly 18 – 22, practice TikTok moves on her phone every afternoon.

I don’t know how much they see me or think about me. They’ve definitely seen my penis in the morning if they look over this way. I make the first walk of the day from the bedroom, through the kitchen, past the office, and into the living room to look out the window and assess what kind of day it’s going to be. I do not put on any clothes before this march. 

Alexis must’ve been at a gathering with all of her friends last night because they started commenting on my blog post in a tightly choreographed sequence. “You’re a fraud.” “This is basic level human trash.” “You’re a materialist pig who manipulates and uses people.” That was one of my favorites.

A text came in from Alexis. “You could’ve given me a heads up.”

“Not that they are related but you mean like the heads up you gave me before going behind my back and hiring a lawyer to completely change our agreement at the last minute?” 

It was one of those moments where I definitely should’ve put the phone down and let cooler heads prevail. Instead, I responded with explosive anger. We went back and forth for a few minutes and said awful things to each other.

Ben said he thought it was bizarre that at the end of the world, when everyone is trying to repair broken relationships, we are tearing each other apart. 

I was fielding the comments on the blog while sitting on the couch with Maddy eating dinner. I wondered if she could feel the heat of my blood and the discomfort on my face. Could she tune into my energy at such a level to notice I was way off? Or did my smile and shoulder rubbing come across as genuine like it does when I’m fully present? 

I had to leave my phone at home on our walk because I kept getting lost in imaginary arguments with Alexis’s friends. I would be completely gone and have to ask her what she just said, like in the movies when it seems unbelievable that a person couldn’t focus on who was right in front of them. 

Charlie would not have been proud of how I handled her text asking for a heads up. He has been telling me to treat her with compassion throughout this entire renegotiation. I’ve been fighting him on it because of the anger I feel towards the way she handled it.

“In the end, how can you blame her?” he said.

“She is the person you chose to be with. And then the person you chose to leave. She’s doing what she thinks she has to do.”

He was right. We reached an agreement. The divorce certificate would arrive in the mail 8 months later.


SCENES

We are playing Pictionary and having a glass of Belgian ale when she starts drawing what looks like a car or perhaps an old baseball helmet. Then she adds the wheels. Next to it, she draws what looks like a clay house with a rounded roof. Then two small circles within the form and I start yelling ghost and robber, is it a robber? It’s a ghost, right? And she puts the pen down and dies hysterically into the pillow. It was a backseat driver. 

Maddy is on the toilet bandaging her own foot while I talk on the phone with Ang about how she just got into a fight with Ashley about Coronavirus because Ashley is telling her she’s selfish for wanting to go back to her house in Oakland and that she hopes she gets the virus for traveling because that’s what she deserves. 

Maddy is cooking dinner in black jeans and black sweater balanced on toes on both feet standing in a wide squat like a daddy long legs reaching one arm for the pan and the other arm across the threshold to a plate on the island. I come into kitchen and see a box of arugula on top of a plant on the shelf. What’s this? Oh, that, I needed more room during a very specific moment and that was how I made it. Right. 

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