Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Your Place and/or Mine

Monday and Tuesday of this week was a relatively new experience; both Kaia & I worked out of our respective offices in NYC. Normally that's not news-worthy information, mind you, except that we hadn't attempted to work while we were both in the same city. During her prior visits, I made sure that my workload, which is usually pretty much full-on, full-time, all the time, was conducive to a half-day or a full day off, and since she's able to work wherever, however and whenever, thanks to a wi-fi enabled notebook, we always had some time together even during our otherwise real-life respective lives. This time, we wanted to test our mutual ability to meld each of our personal and work lives with the other's.

It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to know that if this was a test, we passed -- together -- with flying colors.

Monday was a relatively low-key, easy-going day; we didn't see much of eachother until I got back to my apartment. Opening the front door I barely recognized my cluttered "bachelor pad." Everything was organized, put away, neat and clean. At first I thought I had entered the wrong apartment. But as I walked in my other half was waiting for me at the door, smiling, searching my face for a reaction, and I was floored. I asked her "what'd you do?" I should have asked her "How'd you manage this?" It was awesome. She walked me over to the couch and showed me how everything was put away, waiting for me to be upset she'd screwed up the theme of my apartment, ie organized chaos. But I was so blown away -- she didn't nag, complain, whine or harass me, she just did it -- so all I did was thank her, give her a kiss and let her know I was amazed and very appreciative of her making my apartment safe for civilization once again :-)

We hung out a bit, did some online apartment-searching of a development we'd seen in Soho the night before, relaxed, lounged and [censored by Pope Benedictus XVI] and then (eventually) walked the block to one of our favorite local neighborhood restaurants. They had the front windows open so we got some air and enjoyed the weather and each other. By the time we got out of there, we were one of only three couples left, and one of the others looked like brother and sister (no offense to either of them, but -- and I'm being kind here -- they were both equally ugly) and the other couple looked like a wrestling promoter and a high-class prostitute -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- and they looked like they needed a room toot sweet. So we hightailed it out of there and walked back to my apartment and opted to enjoy the rest of the night -- Kaia's last for this trip -- quietly and with few distractions. While we were in bed she told me she was going to try and stay another day, so we went to sleep hopeful we'd have more time together.

Tuesday was a bit disjointed, as I had a few morning mini-meetings and a half-dozen projects to address before my other half came by so all four of us -- she and I, my sister and my father, who comes in a couple times a week -- could go downstairs for lunch. We all enjoyed a quickie lunch (about 45 minutes) before she and I ran next door to a store I needed to visit for something and then she and I went back upstairs; before I knew it, she grabbed her notebook, kissed me goodbye and was on her way back to her office. It was hard to re-focus back on work with her perfume and her goodbye kiss lingering in my mind, but I am confident, with practice, it is a skill I could get used to, and eventually, master ;-)

By the time six rolled around, she came back to my office and all four of us went in the new vehicle over to pick up my mom, which, on days my father works, we always do. I was glad she had a chance to see my mom in person, although I would have preferred all of us going to dinner. I think my parents were a bit tired and wanted to go home -- understandably -- plus, since this was our last night together, I wanted us to have some alone time. By the time we were nearing both my sister's and my apartments, though, we mentioned to my sister that we were planning on going out and if she and her boyfriend wanted to come they were more than welcomed to come with us. By the time we hopped out and my parents were on their way, we decided we'd visit Rosa Mexicano on the East Side, a great Mexican place that has killer sangria and even better guacamole. My sister ended up being too tired, so Kaia and I wound up in the back room and had a great dinner and tried to avoid the topic of her impending departure.

We got home and were both a bit wistful knowing this was our last night together, so we had a very nice, sweet rest-of-the-evening and conspired over our next meeting, our plans and our future. With both of us trying not to focus on the fact she'd be leaving the next day, we fell asleep smiling and happy.

Today went too fast. I had a bunch of downtown errands to handle and she did some shopping downtown so we got next-to-no time to hang out, but on her way back up from Soho, I had her meet me near where I was so we could -- properly or otherwise -- say goodbye. We lingered a bit, both of us having schedules and demands and timing and requirements pulling us in all directions -- and we tried to avoid the sadness of knowing we wouldn't be seeing each other for at least a few weeks. With a long kiss that was far too short, a hug and a squeeze, we said goodbye. Watching her cab pull away, my hand instinctively reached for my cellphone to call her and have her to turn around and stay longer, but reality -- for now -- requires her to remain a California resident. Each of us knowing the future -- both short- and long-term -- doesn't change the fact that it always makes us sad to say goodbye, even if it's for a few weeks.

I wound up finishing up my errands downtown as she returned to my apartment and hurried to get her bags re-packed, and she called me on her way to the airport and again a few minutes before her flight finally took off. She's due to land in three hours so, despite a friend asking me if I wanted to go out for dinner, I'm alone, in my apartment, in the dark and the semi-oppressive NYC temp. And while I had the lights on earlier and it's a stifling 76 degrees herein, I can't help but notice that without her around me, smiling, touching my cheek or just moving about in my apartment, it's a lot colder and darker in here than it's been since she arrived on Thursday. And it occurred to me that -- if I'm lucky -- there will come a day when her warmth, her smile and her infectious laugh will be things I won't ever be without.

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