Sunday, July 17, 2005

Time & A Word

In one minute, my world's changed.

Friday night we fell asleep with a plan for our final weekend of Kaia's visit to the City. The plan was loosely constructed to be brunch with friends downtown, a bit of walking around after and then a surprise for dinner and a great last night.

Saturday morning we spent far too much time indoors, though neither of us regarded our time spent as wasted. Once we finally managed to shower, dress and get in touch with our friends, we were relegated to meeting for a late brunch at Mercer Kitchen at two-ish. By 2:30 four of us had gathered at a corner table and had some eats and some drinks. By fiveish we were still going strong with the latter, and another friend made his way to Mercer and sat in with us, though he declined any alcohol due to a rough night prior and a semi-current hangover.

By six-thirty we made our way out of Mercer and, at Kaia's request, to Louis Vuitton a few blocks away. The five of us snaked our way through the store, despite their closing at 7. The gents accompanied us part of the way, then left while we headed down and did a little pre-birthday shopping. Kaia's birthday is less than a week away and I needed some ideas, so I left -- with her, reluctantly, in tow -- with a pair of Vuitton business cards adorned with Vuitton model names and not one particular idea as to what I would be getting for her.

Once we closed down Vuitton, we walked down the street to Kid Robot, an amalgam of anime, japanese culture and toys. It's definitely worth a trip downtown, and this was my third visit to the store. Next door we hit the Morrison Hotel, a gallery of rock photographs that encompasses the Woodstock Era and the '70's. A cavalcade of images featuring Dylan, The Who, Woodstock, Zeppelin, The Band, Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead adorned their walls and their catalog. We were advised that they feature a variety of different photographers, so the subjects -- and the visuals -- change regularly. I can't visit Soho without viewing the gallery's contents. And as we made our way outside, Kaia's phone rang and she got an update from her father on the Boston-Yankee game happening as we were fighting the humidity downtown. The Yankees won, which was a nice surprise, and she simply handed me the phone rather than try and come between her dad's and my glee over the Yankee victory. So he and I chatted for a bit before she let me know our friends were about to leave (to leave us to our impending surprise, final evening together). So we hung up, we bid our friends goodbye, and then we did a little walking around ourselves.

By the time we had made our way back uptown, we were both fairly spent but eager to enjoy our last night together. And we did. We talked about the past, our present and our future, and we smiled through tears as we planned the next sojourn as well as the days ahead. And we fell asleep, somewhat reluctantly, our last night together a bittersweet reminder of where we were and knowing that the last 16 days were as wonderful as saying goodbye to each other would be difficult.

Today, our last, was a study of awkward happiness. Both of us avoided the obvious sadness we were both feeling, only to avoid tears and the reality that we didn't want to say goodbye. So we headed downtown for some more shopping; we intended to grab some food but we had leftovers in the fridge and time constraints, and we opted to entertain ourselves with luxuries other than food. We did make it downtown, but we did so hurriedly and wound up back in my apartment soon thereafter. After some downtime, Kaia began packing and I took out some trash, put stuff away, and generally tried to help.

Before long we were kissing each other goodbye and grabbing her bags and hailing a cab and before I knew it she was inside a cab, waving at me and I was watching her move toward the highway and to the airport.

Next to the day I discovered my father had suffered a heart attack, today -- putting her in a cab and letting her fly back to San Francisco -- was the saddest day I've experienced since. We both tried avoiding the inevitable, but aside from the strange, cold emptiness in my apartment, we've realized that life is better when we're together. So we decided to start on the path to getting her to move to New York and for us to find a place together. The requisite goodies -- marriage, children, family -- will be there in our future, but more importantly, we'll laugh, cry, sleep, and live -- together.

These past few weeks were our attempt to see if we could be together -- 24-7, in the same (cramped) living space -- and not kill each other. And, as we (and many of our friends and family) expected, we had so much fun that we didn't -- and don't -- want it to end.

And one of the last things we discussed before she climbed into the back of that cab, one day -- soon -- it won't.

It also helps that she's probably going to pass my Yankees quiz. But just in case, prior to signing a lease or exchanging vows, I won't be trashing Joe Pepitone's number.

Just in case.

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