"Update" NYC

Past, Present and Future

There is a quote by the American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson that reads, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” I enjoy that quote because often times we tend to blame our past and what has happened to us previously to justify the things we say and do in our present. Which got me thinking…how much does our past shape our present and future?

For me, my past was quickly becoming my present and it all started on New Year’s Day. Like most people around the world, on that specific day, I was moving rather slow because of New Year’s Eve and spending it with my friends. As I was sitting on my couch being lazy, I got a text message from a number I didn’t have programmed in my phone. It was a message wishing me a Happy New Year. When I responded to the message and told the person that I wasn’t sure who it was, the message I got back was from an ex-boyfriend that I not only dated but lived with almost ten years ago. I wrote about it in my last entry and how I went to his apartment a couple of weeks ago and ended up spending the night with him.

Ever since that evening, he has been texting every single day. It wasn’t aggressive texting but the occasional text message asking how my day was, etc. I didn’t think too much about the messages because they were always friendly and never romantic. Then, about a week and a half ago, he sent me a message right as I was getting ready for bed. He asked me if I wanted to spend Superbowl Sunday with him and even meet some of his friends. My friends and I hadn’t made solid plans for that Sunday and I figured that I’d be going to my ex’s apartment, meet his friends and go home. So, I agreed to go over to his place. He then responded with, “Great. Make sure to make some of your homemade guacamole.” The one thing I can make without burning the apartment down.

The next day at work, I got news that they were changing a lot of what I’d be working on and I wasn’t too thrilled with that announcement. It angered me because they were giving me more responsibility for the same pay. So, I decided to take some days off and I specifically asked to take the Monday after the Superbowl because I figured I was going to want to let my hair down and shake off some work aggression. It was also that same day that I ended up getting a call from another advertising agency telling me that they’ve been trying to get in touch with me but wasn’t sure how to reach me but someone in the industry gave them my information. Now I have an extensive interview next week and this is a position that will get me more money and a promotion. Things were starting to finally fall into place for me.

Last Friday, I told my friends that in an effort to try and keep my apartment for one more month to myself without a roommate that I’m going on a strict budget. Budget is a word that leaves a bad taste in my mouth and frankly, I’m not very good at saving so when I told my friends of my news and they were very supportive. That being said, that evening, I met up with a friend of mine first at a bar that does a cheap happy hour. So, we had our two drinks and another friend of mine sent a text message asking me to come down to a friend of ours apartment for a group of people were coming together. Got in a cab and headed down to Chelsea and next thing I knew a bunch of my friends and I are drinking prosecco, laughing and having a great time. I told myself that I wanted to be home by midnight because I know the later at night it gets the chances of me having a productive next day is rather slim. As I was sitting amongst my friends, I got a text message from my ex and he was telling me how excited he was for Sunday and then asked me if he could see me the next evening as well. I wasn’t really sure what to say or if it was even a good idea to be revisiting anything with me ex. I told my friend whom had met him all those years prior and he told me, “You are going to do whatever you want to do. I’m not sure it’s a good idea but do what you have to do.” I told my ex that I would see him the next evening. He said that he’d make plans for us and keep me posted. Another glass of prosecco later and next thing I know; I’m being dragged to a bar with my friends past 3 a.m. When I got home, I knew that I was going to regret staying out so late.

Saturday morning, I woke up and wasn’t feeling my best even though I knew I had so much to do. I challenged myself that not only was I going to make homemade guacamole but I was going to try and make these cookies from scratch based on a recipe that my sister sent me. I went to the grocery store, bought all these ingredients and came home and began to prepare to bake. I even had to buy mixing bowls, measuring cups, etc. because if I was going to do this, I was going to do it properly (not to mention that I don’t own any of these baking items). I was excited and I was following the instructions to the letter but somehow, the cookies didn’t bake properly and some got burned and after several attempts at getting the cookies right; I folded the towel and gave up. My cookies were a huge fail and while I was trying to bake, my ex had sent me a message asking if I could be ready, bag packed and outside my door by seven in the evening. I told him that I hadn’t made the guacamole yet and that things weren’t going as planned with my day but he said he would change that all around and to be ready by seven.

I wasn’t sure how to process all that my ex was saying for he was being sweet, romantic and putting in effort. Ten years ago, when we dated all he cared about was sports, chicken wings and drinking. I told him that I would bring the ingredients for the guacamole and I would make it at his place later on. I threw away my disastrous cookies and decided to go for a run at my gym before I needed to get ready for whatever my evening was going to present itself with. After my run, I was a sweaty mess and as I was exiting my gym there stood my very first boyfriend I ever had when I first moved to New York. I was eighteen years old at the time and he was thirty-three. Back then, my parents weren’t too thrilled with the age difference but I think they were still upset that I left the house at eighteen that anything else I did after that wasn’t going to thrill them anyhow. I dated him for three years until I turned twenty-one and once I left him I only saw him one more time in the city many years later. It would be my luck that I would be seeing him just as I was leaving my gym not exactly looking my best. He recognized me instantly and came over to say hi. Right next to him was his husband and I had heard that he had gotten married and this was my first time meeting the husband. I didn’t know what to say so I let my ex-boyfriend do all the talking. He told me they live in the same area of Brooklyn that we used to live in all those years ago and he still works in the banking industry. He then said how I don’t look all that different from when I was in my twenties. I thanked him (even though I assume he was just trying to be polite) and I shook both of their hands and left. I couldn’t believe what my day was presenting to me. Two ex-boyfriends that I lived with in my past now presenting themselves all in the same day? This was too crazy even for New York standards.

With seeing both exes in one day, I got to thinking on my walk back to my apartment from the gym, if I was actually moving toward my future or stuck living in my past? I didn’t have much time to go down the path of thinking in the past because my ex-boyfriend was going to be picking me up in an hour. I quickly packed a bag, got ready very fast and as I was putting the groceries for the guacamole into a bag, I realized I bought a bad batch of cilantro and so I needed to run to the grocery store before he was going to be at my doorstep. I had only two minutes to spare but everything fell into place and he arrived in front of my building at seven.

He was very proud of his new car because it was just that…brand new. It had all the bells and whistles but he knows none of that stuff impresses me even though he was trying to show me all what the car could do. When I asked him where we were going he said, New Jersey. New Jersey? I asked him what the hell was in New Jersey and he said he was craving some restaurant called, Bonefish. I had never heard of it but apparently it was descent seafood and now I was on my way to New Jersey with my ingredients to make guacamole sitting in the back seat of his new car.

On the drive to the restaurant he told me that he made reservations. To some, making reservations isn’t a big deal but my ex never once made us dinner reservations or did anything all that romantic, so when he told me that, he looked at me and said, “This is the 2.0 version of me.” I smiled, listened to his stereo that was blasting The Lumineers and decided to just relax, stop processing and see how this “2.0” version differs from the original that I knew ten years ago.

The dinner was lovely including the conversation. He said, “Don’t you worry about anything tonight. Order whatever you want. This is on me!” I was taken aback by it all and I was slowly beginning to see him in a different light. After dinner, we drove back to his apartment in Astoria and once we got inside his place, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted anything to happen, everything was happening a little too fast for me and I needed to slow things down before I was going to repeat my past. We sat on the couch, watched some television before I suggested we go to bed to sleep only. He agreed and said he was tired anyhow because it was already two in the morning.

Sunday, he got up before I did and I needed some more time in bed to myself. I knew that I was already locked into spending the game with him, meeting his friends that he talked so much about and that I was off from work the next day. That was all I knew and for the time being, that was all I wanted to know. I got out of bed and he had already gone outside and bought fresh bagels and even made us coffee and once again, he was surprising me by all that he was doing. I’m not totally naïve to understand the reasons why he was doing all these things was partly because he is wanting us to get back together again, to prove to me that he’s changed and above all else, to make up for the past.

We had a few hours before his guest were to arrive and so I needed to get cracking on making my guacamole (which turned out amazing thankfully) and while I was doing that, he was watching the Rangers game. It felt a little like we were playing “house.” It was just like it had been in the past with him on the couch watching a game and me in the kitchen trying to be domestic. However, in the past when we lived together, I didn’t know I was too young and wasn’t ready to be living that life nor was he. We went too fast and as quickly as we moved in together, we moved out just as quick. I didn’t want history to repeat itself but it had been ten years and people do change, so should I embrace this “2.0” version or let it go yet again? It was a question that I couldn’t allow myself at that time to think about but knew that I was going to need to address it sooner rather than later.

His friends began to arrive one by one and they all were really lovely people. I enjoyed meeting each and every single one of them. They were also very friendly toward me as well. I noticed that I wasn’t really getting drunk, which I was alright with but I did notice that my ex was drinking heavily. I kept telling myself that this is his special night, he’s around his friends and me and he even took the next day off as well therefore he can do whatever he wants. After the game, most of his friends left because they all had to work the next day. There was one couple that stayed behind, a man and wife. The husband was paying a lot of attention toward me throughout the evening but I didn’t think anything of it because this was my first time meeting these people. It was now just the four of us, my ex was getting very drunk and it was the kind of drunk that always made me very nervous back when we were dating. He would get aggressive and say and do very stupid things.

All four of us were sitting on the couch and the husband was sitting next to me and at one point he said to me, “You are really beautiful. I’m not gay but I just wanted to say that.” I knew my ex very well and I knew that he wasn’t going to like hearing what his friend just said to me. True to form, he got upset and started saying mean things to his friend. Right then and there, I saw that my ex hadn’t changed at all. There was no “2.0” version but rather this version was simply ten years older and hadn’t gotten any wiser. I didn’t acknowledge what the husband had said to me and began talking with his wife while my ex and the husband were getting defensive with one another. I knew exactly how to act around my ex when he got aggressive and if I ignore him than he would calm down which is what he did. His friends left quickly after that extremely awkward moment thankfully the guys resolved whatever they were discussing. Once they were gone, it was late and I just wanted to go to bed. My ex had a different idea and wanted to have sex but after I saw that he hadn’t changed at all, the idea of him even touching me left me wanting to never see him again. I acted like I was exhausted and wanted to pass out which once he hit his pillow, he quickly passed out.

Yesterday morning, I got up around nine in the morning, splashed cold water on my face and gathered my belongings. Just like our past together, he woke up the next morning not remembering anything, asking me what he had said and done the night prior and I simply couldn’t get out of there quickly enough. He was surprised when I was leaving so fast because he said he wanted to spend the day together but I told him I had too many errands to run and needed to get going. It was my perfect opportunity to tell him that I wasn’t coming back, that it isn’t a good idea to start anything back up again and that I’ve moved on but after ten years and two visits, I no longer wanted to be a part of his life.

I can only speak for myself when I say that there are times when I wonder if I’m moving forward or do I just keep reliving the same life over and over again. I know that I’d certainly probably move a lot quicker to my future if I stopped entertaining my past but regardless of where you are in your life, if you don’t deal with your past, it will come back and present itself to you so that you actually can move forward once and for all.

Each path we take in life is based on our past, present and our future. Some paths we take may lead to a bad place and other times our paths change our entire way that we see ourselves. This leads me to yet another quote by, Ralph Waldo Emersion and he writes…

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

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