Monday, December 18, 2006

Izvinite

Please excuse me. It's been a long time -- so long, in fact, that I'm writing these words now the way I imagine you'd write them from a boat gone for lost: chicken-scratch on the back of a receipt, rolled up and whisked into a green glass bottle. Corked. Thrown out, into the sea. I was in a bad place last June, from June on into July and August and September, October. I came back and read these last entries that I wrote here and cringed because I could feel it there, so bad and so true, that I wanted to change my life -- but I wasn't strong enough to do much more about it than describe the desire.

I'm in Moscow today. Yesterday I was in St. Petersburg, with Robert, and we wore a hat that we bought on St. Mark's Place for fifteen dollars; it ties under your chin with two furry earflaps. The whole thing looks like a beaver that just crawled up on top of your head and died there.

So it is that cold here. Though, accordingly, it is still the warmest winter in something like 1,265 years. I hear New York is beginning to feel a lot like...balmy Palm Beach? I was in New York the weekend before last, first for the final walk-through of another apartment and also for a job interview, and even though the wind stung my eyes and I got trapped, momentarily, in the eye of a small tornado of garbage, I was so happy to be back.

In June, in the briefest of explanations, what happened is this: I flew up to New York for the board interview of a co-of apartment on 16th Street. While I was there, I spent two nights at Phoebe's (in her guestroom!), had drinks with Camille, got my haircut, bought some sunscreen, moved down to a hotel on the Lower East Side, and went to a party at my old semi-boyfriend's apartment, where I got so nervous in the elevator going up that I thought I might fall over. And that was all in the first two days, before Robert got there. (The party, by the way, turned out, after all, to be great and I walked east on 96th Street feeling slightly woozy and pink from flirtation and new acquaintances. The old "boyfriend" was remarkably unchanged -- an impeccable host, as charming as ever, and absolutely not for me.) The next morning, Robert arrived from London. We ate brunch, we went to Central Park, we talked and talked and talked -- and he told me that he doesn't want to get married. I told him that, in that case, we didn't have much to talk about. I refused to leave until after the interview but called American Airlines to make plans to return to Tennessee straightaway when it was over. ("I can see it," my sister said. "You, in East Nashville, living in a cozy bungalow.") So even if I wasn't over the moon about picking up the pieces and starting fresh, in my childhood bedroom, I was at peace with this resolve enough to realize that my life would go on, beyond Robert.

We went for one last walk before the board interview, where we would pretend to be like happy almost-homeowners, and had just finished eating two cones of gelato (strawberry for him and malted milk ball for me) when we found ourselves at the corner of Spring and Elizabeth, next to a wall of grafitti. And Robert said, "I have to ask you something but I want you to come to London so I can do it properly."

All sticky hands on my hips, I said, "If you want to ask me, you better get down on our knee." So weary, it had to be a joke.

And then, he got down on one knee. "Sarah, will you marry me?" Just like that.
I didn't exactly say yes -- but I didn't exactly have to. Hadn't I already been saying yes for a very, very, very long time?

The next day, I moved to London.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Kerri said...

Glad to see you are back. I had checked in a few times, and wondered what had happened with your relationship. Looking forward to hearing more!

4:50 PM  
Blogger alyce said...

A surprise snowstorm has left me stranded at home here in Santa Fe, trolling through the blogs of yore... so glad I stumbled back here.

My sincere best wishes for you this holiday season.

I hope you get your hearts desire.

Best,
Alyce

2:29 PM  
Blogger camille remarkable said...

I wish I'd checked this earlier. I was in London last week. :(

I may come in summer. Please be in touch.

Love,
Camille

3:19 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

sister sarah-
you are on quite a journey. thanks for sharing glimpses of it with us. i love you and want to talk to you soon.
xoxo
meg

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i check every so often hoping you will update again... i hope you are well.

xo
c

11:01 AM  

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