Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Letter to an Old Flame
I wish you’d move away.
There: I said it. I know it’s selfish, unfair and unreasonable, given that you were here first by a year or two. But when I run into you, or see you across a crowded room at an event -- as I did last week -- my blood runs cold. It would be nice to be able to take a walk on the Upper West Side without wondering whether I’ll run into you, and be relieved of the awkward shadow of your presence.
I still think about you sometimes. When I look at the pictures of Spain, I get wistful and a little sad. So much sun and youthful energy, red wine and gazpacho -- before we both became New Yorkers, before things got too complicated! (I almost never look at the Paris pictures. By then you were changing, and there were too many sharp edges.)
As strange as it was to have to break contact with you -- something I hadn’t done before or since, with anyone else -- it was necessary. We saw our friendship in such different ways. Our last meeting, not long after 9/11, made me realize that. There was a sort of angry cruelty couched in the friendliness. You were smiling, but your words were knives.
I hope you’re happy now, I really do. But I’m better off without you. Happier and less tormented, definitely. So forgive me, and please understand, when I say I hope I don't see you again.
I think you probably feel the same way. I guess this is what's called "moving on."
(Photo: Weathered street art, Meatpacking District, Jan. 2008)