Monday, August 16, 2010

caffeinated and weary

It was a beautiful weekend in San Francisco, filled with friends, surprise guests, and gazing into the loving eyes of Marido. I have been drinking a ton of booze and coffee in true SF form, and now all I really want is to sleep for three days. But at the same time, I just want to be constantly talking to the people who know me best, and to ask them:

What should I do?

I have been pitching back and forth between Back With a Vengeance and This Place Will Kill Me. Sometimes I look around me and think I'd have to be fucking insane to not want to settle in here for a bit, be with this Man I met, and some of the people who are most important to me in this world. And then there is this part of me this is thrashing around in my gut, kicking wildly against this proposition and whispering in my ear that the Beautiful Unknown awaits for me far away from the Bay.

When I was back in the midwest last week, I hung out with the family dog, the happiest little girl on earth. Seven years old now, she is still smiles and licks and excitement, but she doesn't like to go on walks in the neighborhood anymore, and when visitors leave she gets depressed. My mother told me that she seems bored going on walks now, and the only time she gets really excited is when the sound of jangling keys promises a car ride somewhere.

I have been thinking a lot about her this week, and how I would like to kidnap her and take her places, just to see that crazy spark in her that I always adored and envied, that joy she had that was infectious and and exhausting that I thought would never die. I never thought I'd say this, but I think life is too short to just be content. Maybe I have too much; maybe I'm addicted to suffering; maybe I thrive on extremes; maybe I am afraid of the responsibility of this new acquisition--Marido's heart. But in my clearest moments, I can't explain why I just want to be far away from everything I know and love. I am willing to suffer for six months to have two months of bliss.

I have a very bad feeling that I am going to break this man's heart.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

falling in love and letting go

I am in San Francisco. It has been an intense week. Aside from a terrible attack of the giggles at the altar during a supremely Catholic ceremony, the wedding was enjoyable, beautiful. I reunited with Marido and he was the Best Date Ever. He chauffered me and the bride around town, entertained himself while I attended to maid of honor duties, and looked absolutely handsome in his suit. He even endured dim sum the following day with 15 members of my family.

Following the wedding, I plunged myself into his life, his apartment, his neighborhood, which is in Nob Hill, an area of San Francisco that is so foreign to me that it is like I am in a different city. It is the same buildings, the same street names, the same fog and coffee and sidewalks and gait--but it is different enough to feel entirely surreal. There's little chance of me running into anyone I know here. The people dress a little differently, the views are different, the streets are steeper, and there are tourists hanging off the cable car that passes in front of his building. I am also carrying around this feeling in my body, this feeling of love that makes everything feel so new and different, almost frightening. I feel like a stranger in my own body, in my own town.

Several times a day I pass by a place so full of memories that I feel as though I am in a dream. Marido lives two blocks away from the bar where I spent my 21st birthday, two months after I first moved to California. I had my wallet stolen that night. It was sad, lonely. We ate hamburgers across the street from the place where Ex bought his last motorcycle, a motorcycle he pointedly purchased with footpegs so he could carry me around town. And last night we went to the bar we used to go to every week, a shitty, homey place where we used the floor as an ashtray, picked up sleazy lovers, blew coke in the bathroom. It now has wood-paneled walls, burn-free furniture, and it is the same owner and bartender pouring me cocktails--only he's wearing a black satin vest and telling me, "We're not kids in tee-shirts and sneakers anymore. We needed a grown-up bar." And grown-ups smoke outside.

Marido told me yesterday that he loves me. You know what I said back? I said, "Thank you."

I love him too; it is obvious in everything I think and say and do. But I opened my mouth to reciprocate and was filled with panic that voicing my love meant committing myself to things I didn't know that I could handle. I tell my friends I love them constantly, and this is because I know that I can and will always be there for them. I didn't know if I could commit myself to what he wants from me. But I am going to try. I have never been with a man like him before, simultaneously a quirky, solitary, wise old man and a wide-eyed, innocent boy.

When I returned *home* to his arms last night, he told me he was nervous about me seeing Joe today. I am nervous, too. I didn't want to talk about it, but Marido has a slight jealousy that I think is easily tempered with kisses. I probably shouldn't have told him about Joe in the first place, but we are in this strange tell-all mode, and I thought he would be happy to hear that I'm relinquishing my favorite lover for our fidelity.

But he was still nervous. He thought that Joe would try and seduce me. I told him he didn't know Joe. Joe respects me, and would never try to coerce me into something I didn't fully want. "When I tell him I've met someone," I said. "I know exactly what he will say. He'll say, 'That's great. I'm really happy for you.'" And when I said this, I unexpectedly started to cry, which alarmed Marido and myself. I have been so emotional lately. I feel weak. I never used to be like this, so prone to have my emotions completely overwhelm me so suddenly.

He asked me why I was crying, if I was so sad to give up my lover if I still knew he would remain my friend. I suppose I know that he'll be disappointed, and you know I hate disappointing people. And yes, although I value our friendship tremendously, I am sad to lose my lover. I suppose a childish part of me wants to have them both.

I am going to see him in a few hours. I am so nervous. I know it will be fine, but that isn't going to stop me from smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

double re-entry

It has been an uneventful week at my parents' house. In-between napping and eating, I occasionally reflected upon this seemingly hapless string of wanderings that I currently call my life. Buenos Aires seems like a dream to me, although every time it starts to rain I have a compulsion to run to the terrace to take down my laundry.

If someone had told me fifteen years ago, when I was learning to drive, that in another fifteen years time I would be unemployed, unmarried, and spending large segments of time in the same bedroom I was in then, I probably would have killed myself. But I think I failed to see the possibilities in this arrangement. It just takes a lot more self-motivation to get things done. Or to get dressed in the morning.

Tomorrow I am going to San Francisco, and of course I couldn't be happier. I am excited to see my friends, to hug them and hear their voices and to walk with them on the sidewalks, sit with them in the parks, to have the long silences of observation and nothingness that aren't so doable over our dozen forms of digital communication. I want to shower them with endless love and hear their stories and thoughts on what has changed since I last saw them. I'm excited to tell them what I have learned about time and people and to learn from them about how they are balancing their lives and growing and changing within San Francisco, something I never quite learned how to do.

I also know that this trip will different than other returns, because on Friday I will be reunited with Marido, a long-awaited reunion after almost three weeks apart since our honeymoon in Spain. With all of the intense (yet measured) emails, video talks, and even (*gasp!*) phone calls, we have a lot of hopes riding on the next few weeks--not just in terms of fun, but also in deciding our next steps in remaining in each others' lives beyond this second honeymoon.

It is a lot of pressure, but it is also very exciting.