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.