"Update" NYC

It’s a Battlefield

Pat Benatar sang that famous song of hers, Love Is a Battlefield, but as we get older and our problems become bigger than just heartaches or waiting for the phone to ring, that it isn’t just love that is a battlefield it is life in general that is this great big battlefield. We are all soldiers out to war, going out in combat and fighting against our own demons, our own personal challenges and doing our best to avoid at all costs those deadly land mines. In city a like New York, where we are all compressed on this tiny island, the chances of hitting land mines are even greater. You have to be careful and be on the lookout at all times or else it could destroy you.

Last week, as I started off my own war, I started off rather sluggish but it was all worth it. It was Monday; I had gotten home late the night before from having an amazing first date with the guy that my girlfriend set me up with. I was determined to have a good week and from the plans I had lined up there really was nothing that could cause my week to end in tragedy.

The spring season here in New York is taking a bit longer to get started this year so when it reached a descent temperature on Wednesday, the energy in the city felt amazing. That evening I was meeting a great girlfriend of mine for our monthly get together where we talk about anything and everyone. I decided to actually walk from my apartment to the Lower East Side where I was meeting her. A funny thing about New York and the amount of walking that one does by living here is that while we are constantly doing our best to avoid the negative land mines, you are constantly surprised by when you actually run into a positive one. On my walk, I managed to run into not one, not two but three friends of mine in different areas of the city and it just made me so grateful to be able to have those kinds of moments here. Unfortunately, with the positive comes the negative and I did actually see (thankfully he didn’t see me) the ex-husband of my friend whom I was on my way to see. I hadn’t seen this man in like eight years and that was a land mine that I certainly did my best to avoid, so I crossed the street as quickly as possible. When I finally got to the restaurant, my girlfriend and I chatted over cheap Mexican food and went back to her place for wine and we talked for hours until I realized it was past 11 and needed to get back to my place. It was nice to catch up and it just made me wish there was more time in the day to be able to see everyone all the time.

Throughout the week, the guy I had the date with was sending friendly text messages. They were in frequent but enough to keep each other’s interest perked. By the time Friday rolled around, I was both giddy and nervous. I saw his number come up on my phone and was certain that he was going to be canceling our date or telling me something had come up. Instead, my negative thoughts were trumped when he said that he was looking forward to seeing me tonight and couldn’t wait. Could I actually be on the brink of experiencing an amazing second date with someone? I wasn’t sure what to expect but suddenly I got ready faster than I normally do and when I got off the subway, there was a message from him saying he is already at the restaurant early, which he also confessed was odd for him.

Since we did Italian (which is his nationality) on our first date, I decided that we would do Mexican (my nationality) for our second. I chose the very tasty and fun restaurant, La Palapa, in the East Village. When it comes to a second date, you never know how to greet the person. Do you kiss on the lips? Do you give a hug? In my case, I was hoping for the kiss and that is exactly what I got. Our table was ready for us and we were seated in the corner from all of the noise, which was perfect. We ordered our first of two pitchers or margaritas and as we updated each other on our weeks, we began talking about family. I wanted to know more about his and he confessed that he normally does not talk about his family, especially on a second date but I told him that he could share as little or as much as he wanted and by our fourth glass, the flood gates or shall I say, the margarita gates were open. I sat there listening and hanging onto every word. By the end of the meal, I didn’t want it to end and I was hoping he was going to say something along the lines of, “Where to next?” Or “What else shall we do?” And I, again, got what I wished for. We decided to go to the bar, Phoenix for a few beers. And yes, I was certainly feeling the drinks and as I swayed through the streets with him laughing at me I was having such an amazing Friday night. We got to the bar, had our beers and then he suggested we go back to his place to watch a movie. We never even turned the TV on. Instead, we cuddled on his bed, talked a little bit more and he said he wanted me to stay the night. Which I did and usually I don’t stay the night, especially on a second date but after all our talking, it felt more like a third date. When he cuddled me, it didn’t feel odd or uncomfortable but rather familiar; like we had done this before.

When his cell phone alarm went off the next morning, we snoozed for a little bit more but he had to go to Long Island to meet his friend for he was taking her and her son to see the circus in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, I had so much going on as well that as we walked in the brisk morning to get him a coffee, it dawned on me that I hadn’t done this with a guy in so long. We took the subway together and there he asked what my week ahead looked like and when we got to his stop on 34th Street, he gave me a kiss and said he had a wonderful time. Was this war that I have been having with myself over the many bad dates finally coming to an end? I wasn’t sure, it was only the second date after all but I was happy with the outcome. From what I could tell, there were no land mines to avoid with him.

I got home and immediately did the laundry, the gym and then I shopped. Everyone knows how good it feels when you have an amazing shopping day. Where everything is not only in your size but it is on sale. The sun was out, the city was electric, and you could see that everyone was doing their best to walk on the side of the street where the sun was shining. From waking up next to this guy that morning to my shopping experience in the afternoon, this day and even the weekend was quickly becoming one of the best weekends I had in some time.

Met a friend of mine to do some window shopping later that day and there we went to Gym bar for a few drinks before, going to another bar, Moran’s and finally getting the crew all together to attend a house party in Chelsea. The house party was one that was being hosted by a friend of ours and when we arrived it was already in full gear. Luckily, we were also pretty buzzed just like the rest of the guests. As the night went on, I had the urge to text the guy. So I did. He responded a few times and finally I decided to let him get some rest and wished him a good night. Our next adventure was to head from Chelsea to the East Village, for I needed to see my ex-roommate who was in town and at the bar, Boiler Room. I grabbed a few friends of mine, we jumped in a cab and off we went. It was really nice seeing him but of course, time was moving rather quickly but we got some brief quality time in during our cab ride home. As I was passing out that night, I thought about how much I actually crammed into one day and it was nice because there was not one negative experience about the entire day.

Yesterday was Easter, waking up not hung over but rather exhausted. And thankfully, our brunch wasn’t until later in the afternoon for I needed coffee in a major way. I eased into the morning and even sent a text message to the guy wishing him a Happy Easter…no response back. A few hours later, I sent another text just seeing if he still wanted to meet up on Wednesday since he had mentioned it…no response. I decided to put the phone away for the rest of the day and focus on my friends and the amazing brunch we were about to experience at, Beauty and Essex. The brunch was extremely fun because we all shared stories from the night before, compared notes and the sparkling wine continued to flow. It was the perfect bookend to a lovely weekend. As we all said goodbye and I caught a cab ride with friends back to 23rd and 8th Avenue, I decided to walk off the brunch back to my apartment. As my friends walked away, I pulled out my phone and there was still no message from the guy. There was no way in hell that I was going to message him again and follow up. In this day and age, everyone gets their messages. There is a good and a bad thing to these little devices. Back in the day, when all you had was a red light that was blinking with a message on your answering machine that was all that you needed to make you feel special. Now, there is no mystery to it. Everyone is attached to their phones and we no longer need to wonder if the person ever received your message or not because they did. So, while it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from him, I am still hopeful that I will hear from him whether it is in good or bad way.

Life is a battlefield and it can be dangerous, frightening and lethal. Every single day when we leave our homes and set foot out into the world, the war begins again. What armor are we using to protect ourselves? How will we avoid those land mines and when exactly will the war end? I guess the answer to all these questions is rather easy…the war never ends until we die. What matters is how we go out and fight our own wars. Just because we find someone to settle down with that doesn’t mean our war with love ends, it means that the real relationship work begins. Or when we land our dream job, that doesn’t mean the struggle of career can fade out, it actually means you have to work even harder in order to hold onto it. The most important war is the one we have with ourselves; it is the war that will determine your destiny, your fate and even your future.

So, as a new week begins and we are given the opportunity to fight the war, the big question is to ask yourself…How will you fight in your battlefield?


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