Bring back the days (and glorious nights)…

“Save one life and you save the world…” ~~Talmudic saying

I want to return to the days of iced coffees and picnics in Central Park with nothing to do but lavish in each other’s arms moving slowly and watching others do the same. The world was harmonious and at peace in one little corner.

Remember the nights of wine and food delivered to my Upper East Side pad which turned into days which turned into nights without ever leaving? The first couple of months, we would make love for 3 days straight; from late Friday afternoon to Monday night; let’s take personal days for god sakes. Something incredible is happening here; the world can go on without us. We ordered enough Chinese for our own full blown dim sum party sans cart. Then came Indian and Middle Eastern, maybe some Italian in between. There was no reason to put it in the fridge, we grazed on it continuously in between sessions like animals in the African bush. The world could have disappeared for all we cared. Paradise was found and we had all we needed as long as we had each other. I thought my heart would give out and that is exactly how I wanted to expire. We broke the bed more than once, the red armchair and the Ikea table. Ok, the last one was no great feat, I should have left out the brand name to sound cooler. How long could we have lived like that before the NYC riot police forcibly extricated us? I was so happy, I was willing to find out.

I read to you till I was hoarse then you took over; Nabokov, Chekov, Clavel, Hemingway, Coelho and Gibran. That’s a great start for a literary life well lived. I wish you were still alive to enjoy Strayed; you would love her frankness and wisdom. She has served me well since you are gone.

“…You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart…”

Somehow we overlooked Nin, Miller and Ondaatje. Next life. Wait for me. You promised you would.

How about strolling the art museums? I think you got your fill of ukiyo-e prints, vintage kimono, tsuba and netsuke hours earlier than I did but you indulged me all the same. That’s what true love is, being delighted that your partner is happy no matter the source. Nothing forced, nothing faked, nothing contrived; pure joy in witnessing another’s amusement. Why do people lose that selflessness?

And the little discoveries in Greenwich Village — Belgian fries with two dipping sauces minimum, the most creative sushi in town (mango, tuna and jalapenos, it works!), beer batter dipped smelts (ok, that took some getting used to), spinach & truffle pasta which was no doubt made that afternoon, gourmet ice cream with all the quirky flavors, and that tequila bar with 100 choices. Yea, tequila, my blessing and curse. Who knew something so tasty and warming could bring out the demonic side?

Take me back to Mitsukoshi’s restaurant in the basement with the always satisfying seasonal three plate lunch and matcha tea. うれしいなあ (I am happy)。 I still believe no one is as committed to capturing the essence of a specific season, the proverbial from soup to nuts, as the Japanese. Then we would go upstairs, holding hands and looking at all the insanely priced stuff like $12 pencils and $150 see-through women’s blouses seemingly made of cotton candy. All the while, I wondered if they were open for dinner.

Or Baldazar French bistro in the Bowery for the tiered seafood tower and champagne before a broadway matinee. Feasting on that, early afternoons always brought forth fin de siècle feelings; it was that good and in a perfect setting. I won’t ever forget seeing Sam Waterston dining there; that was Sam after The Killing Fields and before that crappy New York police show. He was at his best in the former, wasn’t he? Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Our Town, The Boy from Oz (with Hugh Jackman, yea, Sweety I will look the other way if he throws you his hotel room keys but only for one night), Death of a Salesman (with Brian Dennehy), Dame Edna, and some Shakespeare sprinkled in for good measure, we saw them all. Not to mention Ravi Shankar with his equally talented daughter Anoushka at Carnegie Hall a few years before he passed; Wynton Marsalis and Yo-Yo Ma at Lincoln Center, what thrills they all evoked.

Remember Webster Hall dancing to trance till the wee hours, paying $10 for too many shots and then catching our breathes & recuperating on the faded velvet couches in the shadows which definitely saw better days and a lot of action. I kissed you for hours. How many couples sat there before us immersed in each other? Or Barking Dog cafe on Lex and 94th for the biggest breakfast in town ahead of another day of lounging. I’ll never forget early Sunday dinners at Mon Petite Cafe near Bloomingdale’s; sublime Duck a L’orange and Beaujolais Nouveau in a place the size of a phone booth which meant we were even closer together than usual with legs intertwined while eating.

Later Sunday nights were the cruelest when I would get you back to Amtrack’s Penn station for the long train ride north to your real home in Albany. We knew something had to be done about that and quickly. You and I had kissed enough opposite sex frogs to realize this was very different. And so we did. You moved in to my 2BD place before we knew every side of each other; emotionally that is. I must have really cared; after the bachelor life, the best and worst kind, often partying too hard in lower Manhattan, I spent the early morning hours before you moved in, 3 a.m. to be exact, on my hands and knees scrubbing linoleum floors which would no longer return to their original white all in an effort to impress your Dad. My worst fear was that he would quickly surmise a 2BD apartment was a 1BD with a king-sized bed and a walk-in closet with no bed that technically appeared sleepable in and shut the whole scheme down. Your Dad was a former senior accountant for NY state so super smart. He figured out the arrangement within seconds of coming into my place and let us off the hook just the same. His gut must have told him something special was blooming in this place.

Did you save my life from an unremarkable, mind numbing routine or did I save yours? We immediately became catalysts for discovering the best in each other and ourselves, the thermodynamics of lust and love as it were. Circumstances went from the ordinary to the superlative at light speed. As I have said in past posts, since you are gone, life has become a world of black and white after so much vivid technicolor. So tell me, now that you have taken on the role of my guardian angel, will I remain color blind forever?

I do know this…I have no interest in conquering the world as so many pretend to want to do, I am one man, to think one is that omnipotent and powerful is folly. Let others gather titles, cars, property, club memberships, ones with a bunch of zer0s in their brokerage accounts and build sand castles to the sky. None of those bring anything but fleeting, vacuous satisfaction. Give me the company of one intelligent, highly sensitive and empathetic woman who sees the world in all its splendor even on the dark days. I crave more days and nights of making you, whoever the future you is, the happiest you ever thought you could be. That will be my prize, my wealth, my legacy. Why would I need anything else?


Image titled “I will never if you never” by Christian Gonzalez.

To explore some of my epiphanies and challenges in young(ish) widowhood, love and life itself, please see the stories below. If you like what you just read, please ‘Recommend’ it and ‘Share’ it with others by any social media you favor. To see all of my posts, follow this link: https://medium.com/@vfulco

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