I hate nights like these, nights filled with intense emotional turmoil from the back and forth banter with the one I love most. Its ended with me sitting at my window watching people shuffle violently down the streets below me daydreaming, about the guilt and regret that consumes me. A part of me is thinking I should pick up the phone and make amends however my pride vetoed that thought.
Rewind to six months ago when I moved into this apartment and was waiting for my ever late friends to help bring up boxes to my 5th floor walk up. It was May and my day was off to a rough start not to mention it was moving day and my friends were no where in sight. As I struggled with the fourth of umpteen boxes, all I could see was the top rims of some very hipster glasses and dark hair of a man asking if I needed help,indeed I did. He took the box from my arms with ease, I grabbed a smaller box and we proceeded to ascend to the 5th floor. Kicking open the door to my new, freshly painted, apartment I went in and immediately dropped the box to the floor while letting out a huge sigh. Bent over, I mumbled “Five…fucking…flights” to which the dark haired gentleman laughed and responded, “You’ll get used to it. I’m on the second floor so of course that’s pure speculation but I imagine you will. You won’t always be out of breath”. Slightly annoyed by his comment, and very out of breathe I turned to look at the dark haired “funny man” and started, “Yeah well…” this was the first I was seeing him in his entirety. He stood about 6’2, slim build, olive skin, shoulder length dark brown hair, and his five o’clock shadow only enhanced his perfectly sculpted face. He wore chuck taylors, slim fit jeans and a black tee with a logo on it, that I assumed to be an indie band, those hipster-ish glasses, and slightly tousled hair. “Thanks for the help”, I continued “my friends should be here soon to help with the rest.” The following twenty seconds where the longest and possibly most uncomfortable of my life. Mr dark haired man just stood there, looking at me, which in turn made me shift and fumble with the lint in the pockets of my ill fitting moving day sweats. Of all days not to be presentable!. He began to smile and introduced himself as Serge and told me that he was more than happy to help even once my friends arrived, and so he did.
As we brought up the last of my belongings I couldn’t help but think to myself if Serge was single. I didn’t see a wedding ring so the assumption was he wasn’t married, but was there a girlfriend or…boyfriend. Just as I began to play out a scenario of what ifs in my head, I heard Serge’s voice interrupt asking if I wanted to go and grab some coffee to which I happily agreed. As we headed down the street to what later became our go to spot for coffee, he told me that he was an artist, a painter, but had graduated eight months ago with a degree in business finance. I learned that he always wanted to paint but came from a long line of “professionals” so got the degree to prevent any further ostracization from his family. I told him that I was a writer, sort of, I was a sort of writer that was all over the place still trying to figure a lot of things out. At the time I had no idea who I really was, or what I was really doing. All I knew was that I loved to write and I loved creating and while I had a vat of creative energy inside of me, I sometimes had trouble with expressing it not to mention how easily distracted I was.
When we arrived to Abraco, he gave me tips on what he thought I would like then quickly ordered instructing the petite girl behind the counter to add my order to his. We sat outside the window front of the coffee shop and talked a little more about life. As I listened to him, I grew more and more attracted to his intellect and he to my wit. He spoke with ambition, confidence, and passion and was so sure of the things he had knowledge on and had a contagious thirst to learn more about what he didn’t. When I spoke, Serge intently listened and asked me thought provoking questions that I did not know the answers to but challenged me to find out. It was here on this bench, in front of Abraco, in the East Village on an early spring afternoon in May that I began to fall in love for the very first time.
Over the next few months, Serge and I became inseparable, embarking down a path of pure passion. Everything we did was intense;we loved hard and fought harder, we were great together, until we weren’t. Ours was a relationship of two intensely charged people engulfed in one another…consumed in every aspect with the other person. Ours was a life of creating, adventure, parties with friends and midday romps; our life was simplistic fun, our love…anything but.
The events leading up to tonight, which left me huddled in the reading nook of my apartment, is the manifestation of little problems over the course of a month coming to a head. You see, I was in awe of Serge from that first conversation on the bench; he inspired me to do and want so much more. He added excitement to my life and pushed me in ways I had never even dared to push myself. I can’t help but to credit him with my decision to explore different creative avenues, avenues far outside my realm of comfortability. He believed we, as human beings, were a gift from the universe to the Earth and we should act accordingly benefiting not only the planet we called home, but those around us as well. A devout “Earth religionist” as I called him, Serge was a breath of fresh air that swept me off my feet. The way he saw life I did indeed find peculiar, but it was interesting nonetheless. This love, this infatuation with this next level person seemed to make me devalue myself. I began to feel as though he was too good for me. I had placed him on this pedestal, at no fault of his, which in turn made me afraid of losing him.For Serge, I was his muse; to friends and strangers alike he would go on about how I inspired his art and how I grounded him. I don’t know if I would describe Serge as manic, but I would definitely say I evened him out . Five months in, our love was stronger than ever. I was in love with a man that for the first time in my life, I felt 100% free and comfortable with. A man who valued and respected me as an artist, I was in love. I was entangled in a bond and on a high I thought I would never come down from, that is until Geneva moved across the hall from him.
Geneva was an art history major and was as flirtatious as she was brilliant. She was from Idaho and had moved to New York to “study art, love, and herself”. Study yourself? I didn’t like her, I didn’t like how she felt the constant need to ask Serge about art, or how every time I looked up she was by his side at the building fourth of July party. There she was laughing at everything he said (Serge is NOT hysterical), and making unnecessary body contact with him. To make matters worse, at the end of the night as we headed back down to his apartment from the rooftop, Serge tells me she wants him to come look over some of her stuff because she “values his opinion and he has a good eye”. Now, it may have been the tequila /vodka running through my blood or simply the fact that I didn’t like him getting chummy with the chick from apartment 8 but I threw a huge dare I say tantrum, and an argument ensued. I asked Serge if he was attracted to her to which he responded “Stop acting jealous”. Clearly that didn’t answer my question.
That night we had one of many fights but this time my so called jealousy and insecurity seemed to be the root of the issue, which he pointed out several times. There was shoving and grabbing and throwing of inanimate objects followed by kissing, I love you’s and I’m sorry’s. Serge reassured me that his intentions with Geneva were pure and he would never even think of cheating and I apologized for throwing red paint all over his newest painting and the night ended passionately.
Over the next month I continued to drown in what my pride would not allow me to admit to be jealously, but not just about Geneva. If Serge so much as breathed in another woman’s direction I raised an eyebrow. Where this was all coming from I do not know; I had never been the jealous girlfriend before but something inside of me just didn’t feel right and when Geneva started giving me attitude, I knew I wasn’t crazy. My logic was although I didn’t like the girl, I never treated her as such, so to be on the receiving end of eye rolls and cold shoulders could only mean one thing…she was in fact involved with the love of my life.
Fast forward to tonight, I’m sitting on my couch thinking to myself that I shouldn’t overreact, stay calm. It’s ten o’clock, Serge walks into my apartment; black boots, black jeans, same black shirt I met him in, hair in a ponytail. He has my favorite Chinese and a bottle of our favorite wine; he’s talking about what we should do tomorrow and how he’s been wanting to go to this exhibit over on east 9th street when I blurt out “I want you to be honest because right now, you’re full of shit”. Don’t overreact. He doesn’t know what I’m talking about so I offer up an explanation. After twenty minutes or so he tells me he’s tired of having this same fight. He’s so in love with me he says that it actually scares him, that we are soul mates and he would never, ever, cheat. I don’t believe him. I want to but all I am thinking is how Geneva and Serge are both painters, and how their eclectic names have a nice ring when you say them together, and the fact that she thinks he’s funny (when he clearly isn’t) which makes matters worse because every man wants a woman to laugh at his jokes right? I admit to my insecurities and jealousy and his reply threw our relationship over a cliff, “It’s really out of my control, how you feel is not my problem.”
Gut punch. Not his problem? More yelling. “I wont be in a jealous relationship” he says heading towards the door. I do not want you to go, but I don’t know how to stop you. At a loss for words and filled with pride, my apartment began to fill with silence as he made his way out the door, back down to his apartment and out of my life. Press play, I’m sitting at this window, with a bottle of Hauts de Pontet Canet and regret. The last six months begin to play in my head; the dark haired man, Abraco, late nights painting and writing, fighting, parties, fighting. I thought about our trip upstate where we stayed at a cute b&b for the weekend. Small town, everything moved at a slower pace. We lay underneath the huge willow tree out back, he painted, I wrote; we talked about plans for the future, plans for us. He saw himself opening a gallery, me being an epic novelist…three dope kids and maybe a dog. I thought about the 4th of July, fighting…fighting…tonight. I sit here with a half empty bottle that is being diluted by the salty stream of tears cascading down my face but,…how I feel is not his problem.