First of all, my apologies to anyone expecting me to follow up my last post regarding July 4th sooner than I did; Kaia and I wound up both catching some sort of stomach flu that left us feeling less than wonderful, and while it forced us -- for better or worse -- into some together time (ie not going out and seeing friends and doing things), it didn't inspire much in the way of creativity.
Moreover, it didn't provide us with much opportunity to do the things we've come to do while together: so no runs downtown to restaurants, no meeting of friends for drinks or dinner, and no enjoyment of fireworks -- none, at least, celebrating July 4th.
We originally had made plans with friends to hang out for the 4th on their roof-deck, but it turned out they were heading out of town for a few days so our other option, which was equally high on our list, opened up -- a party on a roofdeck with a good friend of ours who lives on Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island is a small island off the Eastern side of Manhattan (between Manhattan and Queens, actually) and is a sort of mini-Manhattan. It's got the same types of amenities as does the City -- supermarkets, drugstores, dry cleaners, video stores, Starbucks -- but on a much smaller, and more personal, scale. But instead of it being a suburb of Manhattan that requires a 45-minute commute, it's about ten or fifteen minutes away via a Tram that is accessible in the East 60s. Since our friends advised us they'd be out of town, we were glad since we knew we would be able to attend our friend's party on the Island and then see our other friends once they returned from out of town.
However, the whole stomach flu changed all that; Kaia and I both had the same bug, and we both were going through the motions, but hers started about a day prior to mine, so we ended up doing absolutely nothing. And while three days in an apartment without interruption sounds appetizing, it's not quite what it seems when we're both sick. We actually had fun, for the most part, but we both began going a little stir crazy and desperately wanted to get some sun. She was off work for the entire week, and I ended up staying home Wednesday and Thursday both because I felt so lousy and as a precaution so as not to get my dad or my sister sick. I was running slight fever and I figured I could do some limited stuff, including keeping in touch with clients, and since it was a light week -- most of my clients were out of town and/or their offices -- it wasn't the worst time to miss a day or two.
We wound up spending some time with our friends from out of town, and when she began feeling better I sent Kaia downtown to do some last-minute shopping. She wanted to stay and take care of me, but there wasn't much to be done beyond me doing as she had the day or two prior, which was, essentially, riding it out and handling it as best I could. The only positive or negative, depending on one's perspective, is that we didn't do much of anything regarding dinner. We did get a chance to go back to Jane, which is really a great restaurant -- a bit remote and out of the way (100 West Houston at Thompson) -- but worth the trip. It's one of those places that gets next-to no press, yet is always a perfect place for dinner, whether the two of us, with friends or with a small group. However, we wound up not making it -- yet again -- to Balthazar and we didn't do any other restaurants on our own, although we really enjoyed Eleven Madison Park with my family. But as far as just the two of us doing things on our own, out and about -- we really didn't accomplish much of anything.
The thing is, despite the quasi-brooding, disappointed air of my description of the last few days of Kaia's visit, we were feeling shitty but together, we still managed to enjoy being together. We've tested the waters, so to speak, of spending large blocks of time together -- whether five consecutive days or three consecutive weeks -- and we don't fight, argue or grate on one another. I don't recall -- ever -- being in a relationship where I could -- nor would I want -- to spend all my time with someone without having some sort of "break" (and by break I don't mean a visit to the bathroom). Being with her, even when we were both sick -- arguably the most difficult time to spend with another person in constant, close proximity -- wasn't a bad experience, aside from the sick part. We had fun, and aside from both of us going a little nutty from being locked inside without sunlight and without any excitement, we would happily do it again (aside from the sick part).
So despite the ominous, less-than-thrilling recounting of our three or four straight days of mutual sickness, this perhaps was the most rewarding yet of our visits -- because it confirmed that when each of us was at our worst, we still managed to be together without wishing we were somewhere else (and more importantly, with someone else). As we log the hours and the days, it's becoming increasingly clear that this thing we've created -- incredibly -- seems to be right, no matter what we throw at it or what life throws at us. And even though I've felt like shit over the past week or so, I can't really describe how happy I am, or thankful I am as lucky as I did, that we found one another.
Kaia went home this past Thursday, and as usual, watching her cab pull away was bittersweet; but for the first time since we've been together, it occurred to me that this is something that's bigger than just "me." The lexicon of "we," "us" and "ours" keeps finding its way into my mind, and watching her wave as the cab sped toward JFK didn't make me sad as much as it reminded me that we'll be seeing each other again soon.