Well, I'm pleased to report that I survived my 36th birthday and the requisite fun that surrounded it without resembling the artist's rendering at right. No bail money, no physical labor, and no breakin' rocks on the side of the road.
Of course, not everything worked out how I would have liked...but the fact that I finally made it back here is a testament to the will of human spirit.
On March 23rd, Kaia hit NYC -- as many of you know -- and while I've tried keeping tabs on our visits with periodic updates while she's been here, this time I found it a bit more difficult to do so; not only was it difficult to keep up with work due to the stress levels, since she and I were doing so much running around (and so much hanging out) I opted to keep mental notes on our goings-on rather than do incremental updates. I could and should have warned you, but aside from a dozen people checking in to make sure we were both okay (and not suddenly new residents of some island in the Bahamas or some chateau in Europe), no harm, no foul. To those of you who regularly checked in and/or got in touch with me to make sure we were fine, I appreciate it, and to you -- and all of the regular and irregular visitors here, I apologize for my extended absence. It occurred to me, incidentally, that this past three weeks was the longest I've been away from this space since its inception in November, 2004, and as much as we were busy having fun and living la vida loca (yeah, right) I did sense something missing. So I apologize and pledge I won't be spending any more significant time away from here without issuing some prior warning, assuming that decision is a wilful one within my control.
Without ignoring the past few weeks, let me just say that my birthday -- March 17th -- was a blast. I spent time with a friend or two in mellow, restrained fashion. I was a bit conflicted, because I wanted to celebrate but it didn't feel right doing so without Kaia here. She sent me a big care package and we hit the webcams prior to my opening it, but the only real thing I wanted for my birthday was her and I to spend time together. So I sort of postponed celebrating until the 23rd, when she arrived. I spent time with my family in NJ the weekend of my birthday and we had a nice time, but again, not having her there with us felt strange.
By the weekend, we'd spent time at the W on the terrace, running around NYC, spending time with friends, doing some shopping and some more running around. Honestly, not chronicling our time together was a mistake on my part, because, as per usual, it seemed like two days ago that she landed and I saw her in the lobby of the W for the first time. The only thing that confirms she was here for two weeks was the fact we'd managed to catch two episodes of The Sopranos as well as some Family Guy re-runs, episodes of Top Chef, The Apprentice and My Name Is Earl.
Late this afternoon, after I'd finished all my work downtown, I managed to grab a train back up to my place to spend our last hour or so together before she had to taxi back to the airport. And as per usual, despite my best intentions, I realized, as I wheeled her bags out my front door and to the curb to hail her a taxi, that I am crazy for letting her leave. We have so much fun together, no matter what, where or with whom we're with, that we wind up giggling, trading knowing glances and just moving through life without hesitation, discord or awkwardness. Hopefully this won't be repetitive, but when you find someone with whom you can't see being without, it's especially hard watching her climb into a taxi and out of your life, even if it's only for a month or two.
I think the hardest part of her leaving is knowing, as I made my way into my apartment, that I'd be alone again for the first time in two weeks.
Self-pity aside, we're looking at me, hopefully, heading to San Fran in May. We're getting new carpeting in our office this weekend, so it's essentially forced us to get prepared for a full-fledged move, as all our files and furniture and equipment will be relocated to allow the carpet people to do the install. That should keep me especially busy between client phone calls over the weekend into Monday, and between that and my grandmother's impending move, there's lots happening outside our own little bubble, as is always the case. But tonight, getting into bed is something I'll be doing alone, and that is something that I am not looking forward to reacquainting myself.
Prior to Kaia and I dating, a friend asked me how I felt about my ex-fiancee and I living together. In response to his question about the OCD, the mood swings, the constant depression and the omnipresent paranoid concerns, I confessed I wasn't sure but I thought I could live with her. He responded "Marriage, and living together, isn't about being able to live with someone, but the inability to live without someone."
This afternoon, as I contemplated sleeping in a dark, empty apartment, I finally realized what he meant.
For better or worse.