Minx: do you want to know what I'm holding back?
Minx: I'm holding back that I'm crazy about you
Minx: and that you'll think it's too intense and weird
Sometimes, being drunk seems like a great idea; the bonds that tie my mind to reality get loosened. Or, from my Buddhist studies, the reality I create with my mind starts to slip away. Like all drugs, it provides access to a different state of being. Sometimes just having a different state of being is a wonderful thing.
This was not one of those times.
I felt nauseated, yet unable to throw up, and only a desire to pass out for the next day. I felt tired, and old. I could sense the next day's hangover, dehydration headache, mild depression, and unshakeable fatigue set in before I could even close my eyes.
A little later, he came to my place the way my dog would follow me home. I don't need to ask him to come over. I surround myself with friends who never doubt that the thing I want is to be connected to someone, knowing that if I feel like sleeping alone, I'll ask. I'm into people who know when to touch (often).
Naked. He rolled onto the bed, and kept rolling until he faced me again, on his side. I fell into his arms, backward, in bed. For a moment, my new reality thought his arms were the bed, and that the bed was the guest. (See how smart drugs are?)
As I started to let my eyelids fall, he began to whisper wonderful fantasies into my ear, about car trips, great alliances, and a partnership that would span time itself. He always tells me bedtime stories before I fall asleep.
1. The sun setting behind Manhattan when the train pops out of the tunnel, on the way to Queensboro Plaza. The train gets really high above the city and curves so you can see the entirety of Manhattan. The view is so spectacular, I look forward to the train ride home.
2. There are people of all different stripes. Greeks, Italians, Indians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, South Americans of every kind, African-Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and on and on. Matrix that with the following qualifiers, and you will see the diversity of the hood I now call home: kids, families, grandparents, young couples, gay couples, gay singles (well, at least me), poor people, wealthy people, and on and on. My building is a microcosm of this diversity.
3. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the city. See #2. No one is a minority, or a majority.
4. The sidewalks are super extra wide for the quiet residential streets. Kids play with their scooters, or play ball, on them, after work.
5. Trendy restaurants are few and far between (and where they exist, they have a casual, easy, anyone-welcome air, with good food). Awesome bistros (not the ironic kind, like Pastis) are readily found. Ethnic joints of every stripe abound.
6. Did I mention food? There's a fruit market the size of a Gristedes a block from my place. And two doors down from it there is another one. On the block with the Greek butcher and Italian baker. The neighborhood I left feels so sterile now...nothing but trendy restaurants and Duane Reade/Starbucks/Gap/Dry Cleaners flintstones background.
7. Everything costs 50% of what it did in my old hood. Rent: 50% cheaper (than what the fool who took my apartment is renting it for). Laundry: cheaper (and faster, to boot). Dog's haircut: cheaper. Except the barber. He is 80% cheaper. And restaurants: 20% cheaper, but they give you enough food that you can take some home.
8. Space. Inside. My apartment is huge. I never was one to be all "I need more space". But now that I have it, it is having a powerful effect on me. I have a room for sleeping/meditating, a room for watching television/making out (first and second base)/using my computer/playing with Kimble, a room for bathing, and a kitchen that I can eat in, should I choose to. And a couple of hallways and a couple of closets. And two opposite exposures that gives me a breeze. I went from a dark, hot studio (which was really efficiently laid out, I loved it for what it was), to a gallery-like breezy white sunny space. For the first time, I feel like a corner of New York is a home I want to show the whole world.
9. Temperature. We've had some hot days this summer. The apartment does pretty good with the breezes. But my street is something else. I turn off the avenue and onto the street. The streets in Astoria run north-south, so they have been in shade for several hours by the time I get home. They are lined with sometimes huge trees, whose canopies cover the entire sky between the two sides of the street. There are three sycamore trees like this in front of my building (pictured). The effect is that the street is about 20 degrees cooler than the avenue. There's something incredibly pleasurable about having a windy, cool street greet you after a hot and sweaty train ride.
10. That I chose to live here.
Today at Folsom East, I was soaking in sun, charging my batteries. I was with my friend Mathieu, who was visiting from Montreal for the weekend. We were having fun, catching up on each other's lives. We talked a lot about love, the loves in our lives, a fuck buddy we have in common, and friends we have in common. I met Mathieu with my last boyfriend, and we all had a lot of fun together. So he's seen me through a lot of transformations over the last three years.
At some point, I called him a whore. "I'm not a whore when I'm working with you." We laughed at his slip of the tongue.
We talked most about love at a distance, and its peculiar forms in this age of telecommunications. He wanted to know all about my growing connection with FC; I got a full accounting of his affair with someone in Vancouver, who stood him up on a trip to Peru after Mathieu had already arrived in Lima. Both of us are mostly focused on a particular love; neither of us happens to be seeing anyone else. This is when Mathieu and I connect best, because he's free to make his move on me, and I am free to accept it. The dissatisfaction we felt from our long-distance love interests was countered by playing with each other. We went to the private bathroom in the Eagle together and made out.
Later, we were outside having a beer.
"You're lucky you don't live in Montreal."
Why, I said.
"Because I'd have a ring on your finger." And he sipped his beer.
Today I learned to do a clock choke. One arm around neck grabbing the gi collar, the other under his other holding his arm down, chest over the shoulder/back of neck, forehead down at the mat, and you stabilize with one leg. Swing the other leg, and walk, like a clock, until your partner taps out. If everything is in position, it is an effective, fast choke. The collar on the gi is like a rope, and you need only constrict it.
It happens in the elevator at the building where I train Brazilian Jujitsu. Elevators the world over go to the ground floor, then pause; I have always everywhere been able to count "one", and then the door opens. But when this elevator takes the slow descent from the tenth floor to the first, it stops at the ground, and I count "one", and the doors do not open. There is a moment of restlessness in the elevator--everyone else is used to normal elevators' rhythms too--and then the doors open. There is one pause, and then there is the second pause. The first is part of the normal rhythm of things. The second is an interruption, and hesitation, and fear.
It happened when I played rugby. I would position myself on the field properly to tackle the opponent I had marked, and then pause for him to actually touch the ball, so that he was eligible for tackling. The opponent would get the ball, and I paused again. I've done a lot of work on why I did that. At the moment when I need to act, or he will score, I momentarily hesitate. I was afraid of missing the tackle, looking foolish. I was always a terrible tackler.
It happened when I last visited FC. We were in Santa Monica, and we were driving. When we are together, we have long quiet periods in our conversation. We are just being in each other's prescence, communicating our contentment through quiet. During this particular quiet period, I felt him get uneasy. I looked. A thought had crossed his mind. His eyes were edging off the road to me, and then back. He was nervous about something, hesitant to say it. One of the things I adore about FC is that he recognizes these moments in me, too. We both call each other on it. When he fully looked at me, I said "what is it?".
It happens when I roll. I rolled for the first time last night. Practice was only rolling, in 5-7 minute stretches, after which we switched partners. I know little about the skills of BJJ, so I learned a lot from my training partners. I asked questions, they gave helpful tips. We started on our knees, did a little handshake, paused, and then began. And I just began. There was no second pause. I just danced with it. BJJ is like a flow. There's a connection to your opponent, countering his moves, yes, but also momentarily acceding to his moves, so that you can leverage him with some kind of reversal. Either I've grown up since my rugby days, or I am simply more comfortable with choke holds and arm bars than I am with the risk of concussion, but I loved just getting into it, knowing nothing. As I spoke with each of my partners, all of them were surprised to learn I hadn't wrestled in college or trained another martial art before. It was obviously not because of my skill, I only know a few holds and I made up the rest as we rolled. It was because I didn't stop to think about it.