Thursday, April 06, 2006

Post-poned indefinitely

Lord. I arrived in London last night and will be here until Monday, when Robert and I are flying back to New York together for "a few more days" -- or, whenever he decides again that managing his business from our kitchen table in Alphabet City is impossible. His friends Marcus and Priya were supposed to be getting married this weekend, starting today with festivities going on through Sunday evening. But their wedding has been canceled because, after they had an argument, Marcus didn't show up the next day to sign the marriage license and Priya and her parents waited long enough for it to become painfully obvious that this was not a promising start to a long and healthy marriage. But, of course, she says she still loves him. Marcus isn't even using the word 'canceled' -- he says only that it's been 'postponed' -- and do you even want to imagine the sort of words that Priya's relatives are using? So depressing. I feel horrible for her. They've been engaged since 2003. In talking about it, Robert reminded me that it's better for this to happen now. Yes, it would have been much better if it had happened a week or two earlier (like, say, before her entire extended family arrived from India) but still -- better for Marcus to show his true colors now, while she's free enough to get out of this relationship without a divorce and children and more years gone by.

Robert met me at Paddington Station and we came home, where he cooked fresh cod, encrusted in seasalt, and scallops, and opened a bottle of Chablis, and I set the table with candles. Then I sat on his lap in an armchair and we ate vanilla ice-cream with raspberries and I wanted to feel completely focused on being with Robert, to close my eyes when he kissed me and to relax. But instead, I felt this squirrely anxiety, I kept jumping around, and feeling self-counscious about my tummy. And then, in bed, he reached for me and I started to cry.
"I feel so far away from you," I said.
And he pulled me to his chest, stroked my hair. "I'm here," he said. "I'm not going anywhere."
"No... but we will have to say goodbye again in a week. And then see each other in another month. Knowing that, knowing how hard it is to separate from you, makes me not want to open up at all."
I couldn't have sex because my muscles were contracted and I wasn't in the moment, my head was already saying goodbye in New York, watching his taxi disappear around Houston Street in seven days. He lay beside me, touching my neck and my shoulders and my arms and my tummy, and when I turned to him again, in the candlelight, I expected to feel that same tense shut-off-ness but this time, I felt excited. When I woke up today, we were wrapped around each other and when he opened his eyes, he said, "Can I bite your nose?"

That anxiety is back again -- I've felt this pervasive sadness for the past couple of weeks -- and I can't put my finger on it, exactly, on what's causing it. My family used to go to this run-down Methodist church in Nashville, in a converted garage, and at the start of the Sunday service, everyone would say together, "It is good to be in the house of the Lord." It's different, I know, but all day I've been walking around Marylebone with that same feeling, this time about Robert's house, about being surrounded by love.


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