Love’s Lethargy

Her long, slender legs were cocked up over the back of the sofa, her body slumped into a deep pit in the cushion. Her rear was the point of pressure, funneling her 100 lbs into that one tiny spot on the sofa. She lazily held a tragic romance novel open in one hand, and bent forward to brush her shin with the other. Ugh, how stubbly, she thought. Yet another thing to take care of. She decided that the shower and shave could wait until tomorrow. She had yet to put away days of laundry; yet to prepare her lunch for tomorrow; yet to feed the dog… and she was as engrossed in a tragic romance novel as a hardened New Yorker could possibly get, occasionally feeling sorry for the star-crossed lovers, but more frequently finding herself rolling her eyes, slapping the pages, and shouting, “Oh, get it together!” She was determined to finish everything she started, however, even if it compromised the tedious preparation of tomorrow’s lunch. I can just nuke a veggie patty, she resolved, and sank back into the tragedy. Something about navigating the choppy waters of literature served as gentle distraction from the dull goings-on of her daily life without her love. Not that he was absent from her life – he was simply away for days at a time, and the two would count down the milliseconds until an upcoming, much overdue embrace.

Her eyes would intermittently swim on the tragic lines of this borderline-boring tale of heart-wrenching grief. Instead of thinking on her extensive to-do list, she thought about how much better her own love affair was. She wasn’t wholly the bragging type; a New Yorker, yes, but she never idolized her own lifestyle. But this novel was meant to emulate the tragic realness of derailed and diminished love… so she would retreat away from these silly, invented characters and into her own memory bank. Who lives like them? She would reflect on the fantasies come to life with her lover – how could reality be so much more riveting and peaceful than FICTION?

She imagined his face the last time they convened, his eyes resting for a second on various parts of her face and body, his chest heaving with anxious exhilaration, and his smile – an ear-to-ear, face brightening smile, into which she fell spiraling into a canyon of hopeless adoration – his smile curling with each blink of his darting eyes. He asked her, “Is your eyeshadow gold today?” and brushed a hair behind her ear before gently lying kisses across her forehead. She chuckled to herself, remembering her bliss and blushing state of flattery – and her awkward, girlish response: “Are you a makeup guru?” Luckily for her, she recalled his lovestruck giggle and reply: “No, I just pay attention to all of your details.”

She did, too. She memorized every mutable tuft of hair that sprang rebelliously from his curly head; the boyish freckles spattered across his nose and cheekbones; the sharp geometry created by his handsome jaw; the neat alignment of his pretty teeth; residual glitter on his neck, the result of hours of nestling in his arms… oh, was she in love with him. She memorized his pitch variations during important explanations and appreciated every bit of his knowledge he’d shared with her, doing her a greater intellectual service than he could ever appreciate. His forceful, but alluring, touch – she could feel it along her waist to her hips; she replayed the times when she felt consumed by his masculinity, praying that he never stop caressing her. His compassionate nature and his laughably polite mannerisms to everyone he met; his ultimate prioritization of her wellbeing over his own. She closed the miserable novel and held it tightly to her chest, imagining her love story strewn across the pages instead. She held it as if it were him, and missed him.

Unmotivated to continue reading about such sad and unfortunate types, she gathered herself and sat down to relish in the fact that her happiness was around the corner. One day, they would save water by showering together as a nightly ritual; they’d fold laundry in unison while making fun of everyone in the Laundromat until she wanted to seal her nostrils from the stale, chemical stench of the establishment; they’d prepare complicated lunches together in fancy tupperware containers; and their dog would be the happiest and best-fed puppy in the city. She LOVED her future, and it had barely begun to unfold! With him, she felt weightless, invincible, powerful, and alight with promising ambition… Thank goodness for him, she thought over and over. Thank goodness for his contribution to me becoming Adult Me, with dreams and professional goals and compassion and understanding and forgiveness. Thank goodness it’s him that is my reality. People should read about US, she thought.

Dazzled, she toss the book aside and lay and missed him some more, and waited for the weekend.

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Love’s Lethargy

Departure

This is one of those instances in which I cannot seem to find the right descriptors – “homesick” is far too strong of a word to describe how I feel, and “bittersweet” certainly does not set the proper mood.

The instance is my return to New York! The problem is: I would love to continue traveling (not so much STUDYING abroad), but I would prefer to do so with members of my home community. I miss them, and I miss New York, but I would be happy being away with them. What would you call that?

This final day is one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen here in Sweden – I can’t actually believe what I’m feeling. NY is experiencing the edge of a hurricane. What’s going on? I just know that this Scandinavian good-weather kick will die within a few days…

Departure

It’s up to you, New York, New York

I’ve always been hyperaware of the conveniences of living in NYC. Sure, it’s a swampy, overpopulated hellhole with a wonky transit system; but, with proper coordination and ambition, you truly can accomplish ANYTHING once you’re there. You can eat nearly any cuisine your heart desires, and if you can’t get it to-go, you can gather the ingredients to make it yourself. You can get anywhere in the city after a few hours of .. interesting schlepping. Nothing is separated by miles of endless space and grass (ok, yes, nature is beautiful, but I succumb to boredom rather easily!) You adapt to people and situations at the drop of a hat. You can meet anyone from anywhere and absorb new information: points of view, concepts, linguistic particulates, magical bus routes, urban fauna and flora, exercise routines, spices, abandoned buildings, specialized bookstores, immigration history, the political fog… in NYC, whether it’s your hometown or not, you are a perpetual learner.

Similarly, while traveling, you are a perpetual learner. Abroad, you are learning a new culture and about your own adaptivity. Is it safe to say that wanderlust may be partially satiated by simply living in my hometown? 

It’s up to you, New York, New York

Briefly looking in the mirror

Our professors left major projects along with final exams to the last week of classes. We’re all so out of routine with the Homework Grind that we don’t know whether to sh*t or go blind. I’m so close to home that I can taste it! I haven’t really felt the queasiness of homesickness, but the comforts of home have certainly been desirable. Although my bed has been only cushy and tranquilizing, I miss my good old Bob-o-Pedic. 

There are a select few things I’d like to retain upon arrival. I want to seriously get back into jogging! We walk miles and miles (or should I say km and km) per day, and it feels GREAT to be to exhausted that I pass out quickly at night. I want to cook more meals collectively (never alone, haha). I want to get great instant coffee so I can make frappes every morning.  But I’m going to relish in the fact that I can obtain iced coffee anywhere, at any time. I cannot wait for this!

Briefly looking in the mirror