Paris Nights, Toronto Mornings - Story # 3

Sunday 11:00 a.m. 20**

The words of Sia’s “Breathe me” faded my thoughts into the background.

Saturday 8:30 p.m. 20**

I knew her. We’d been friends for years. Not close friends or better friends but at the very least, club friends. We’d never really spent any time together outside loud speakers and spilled drinks. It was the night after her birthday party and I had officially asked to take her out for dinner and drinks. I’m not too sure what my intentions were or if I even really liked her. If anything, I was just looking for someone to grab a bite with. She’s not typically the kind of person that I consciously seek out.

We met randomly a couple of years back and occasionally met up at clubs as a form of keeping in touch. I vaguely recollect that night: my homeboy and I were walking back to his car filled with several combinations of vodka and soda water when we spotted two girls dressed clueslessly doing cartwheels on the lawn of Osgoode Hall. So of course it was inevitable that we approached them.

I don’t remember the night we met like it was yesterday. There was nothing in the air nor was it fate. It was just another typical after the club walk on a regular summer late Friday evening/ early Saturday morning. In fact, I distinctly remember thinking her friend was cuter and had a more attractive style. Not good style by any means, just a more appealing version of a pseudo surf chick.

She was wearing flip flops, a blue cut off jean skirt and a gray zip up hoodie over a pink halter top which I’m guessing all came from American Eagle. She had no make-up on, her hair was messy, light brown and not styled in any distinct way. I don’t particularly gravitate towards people who look like they’ve been spending most of their time sitting around camp fires telling ghost stories. She was no exception. Honestly, I never understood girls or people for that matter that lived in a city like Toronto where it’s practically cold ten out of the twelve months of the year who dressed as if the beach was walking distance from their home. I love this city but we do not have white sands. We have dirty city streets that are paved with vomit, urine and disease. If you are at Ashbridges Bay on a sunny summer day then fine, I get it, but the rest of the time, please, put some shoes on.

Tonight was pretty much like the first night we met, nothing special. I didn’t have anything planned. We didn’t meet up at a fancy restaurant. I’m not even really sure why I volunteered to take her out but there we were waiting together to get a patio seat in a quaint little Indian restaurant on Baldwin Street. I like Indian food but it never sits quite right in my stomach. To my surprise, the dinner conversation went well. I guess you really learn more about a person through sober conversations outside bad DJs and smoke machines, go figure. Several pieces of Naan bread and a few cocktails into the evening and she began to tell me about herself. This seemingly ordinary, simple dressed, make-up free, five foot eight, poor man’s version of the “girl-next-door” really began to peak my interest. I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk along Harbour front and continue our conversation. She said she knew the perfect place. We drove towards the shoreline and came upon a dark unlit secluded spot. We sat on the bumpy rocks over looking the city lights across the calm and quiet lake water. We continued uninhibitedly pouring our hearts out to each other and connected as if we had been friends for years.

She told me some things that I could have deducted through personal observation. She grew up in a small town in the country which was obvious by her lack of fashion sense. But as the night went on the small talk turned into sad stories and club friends became consoling hearts. Her mother was a recovering drug addict and her father abandoned her at the age of 15. I learned that she moved to the city not on a whim but for a reason just as unplanned. She, years ago, had purchased a house with a physically abusive ex and one night packed her stuff and left with no plan and no direction. She just had to leave.

I don’t know if it was my digestive system’s disagreement with the Indian food but I emotionally vomited on her as well. On a fate-less, typical, routine summer night sitting on the rocks I saw her for the first time. Some people are just better seen in the dark of night.

After we exchanged life experiences, I felt a feeling of relief. There was a momentarily pause of silence. This girl that felt the constant need to wear flip flops to any and every occasion started to make my heart race and slow down at the same time. I’m not one for Hollywood romances and cheesy punch lines. I’ve never seen myself as anybody’s “Mr. Right”. I’ve always preferred to be “Mr. Right Now”. I didn’t feel anything in the air in the beginning of the night but there was definitely something in the lake water by the rocks. We kissed and I lost myself in it.

I don’t know what romance consist of: Maybe rose petals? Huge public professions of love? European destinations? None of that took place that evening but I didn’t need Paris to know this was something different, something real. We went back to my place and our physical connection matched the emotional one. It was surreal. I woke up the next morning excited but to my failed expectations she was gone. All she left behind was a post-it stuck on my refrigerator with the words that read:

“Thanks for the good time. I’ll see you when I see you.”

Reality always looks a lot clearer in the light of day. She was my overnight heartache. I stared at the piece of paper for awhile not really knowing what to make of it or just exactly how to react. It reminded me of why I am the way I am. Why it’s so easy for everyone in this city to connect physically but so risky to share anything emotional. Like so many people I know, I guess I’m doomed to live love one, one night stand at a time. It was a Paris evening but definitely a Toronto morning.

Measure of Success

(*Since I was way too busy this week to write something new, here's something old)

My left wing idealist university educated friend argued that there is a false sense of success in North America. We live in a consumerist state that finds solace in material things, and apparently that’s wrong. According to my anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist, one political affiliation away from being a communist and “I get all my clothes at thrift shops” comrade, there is a serious lack of substance in North American’s lives. To suggest that my matching eclectic furniture and six figure earning potential somehow wasn’t enough to fill a spiritual void that subsequently I didn’t even know existed, is so absurd that it makes George W’s war against Iraq seem justified by God himself (herself? Itself?). Didn’t she notice that the couches in my living room were made out of Corinthian leather?

The conversation began when I was out for dinner and drinks with the a fore mentioned friend and she said:

“Lorenzo take a look at your life, does it have substance? Would you consider yourself successful? Are you really content?”

Of course I am. I’m spiritual. I’ve got substance. I’m successful. Not to mention I’ve got a killer wardrobe. I’ve realistically achieved a standard of North American success that few ever reach. I’m 24 years old. I own a downtown condo. I’m a year away from attending arguably one of the best law schools in the country and working at a high end wealth management firm on Bay St. Bay St., just to clarify, for my across the border people and my ignorant Canadian friends, is the Canadian equivalent of Wall St. Anyways, enough shameless self promotion and on to my point. I’m young, rich and if I do say so myself, easy on the eyes. But for some reason she had the audacity to ask me these questions. Didn’t she see my Mont Blanc wallet that I nonchalantly placed on the table in plain sight for her to be impressed with? By now my success should have hit her like a mid morning coffee break but instead this neo hippie, Maya Angelou reading, Kensington shopping, righteous cause picketing social worker sat across from me questioning the measurement of success in the western world. I guess it’s a matter of perspective. I guess under a different light, one, such as herself, could argue that all I really am is an under achieving, I.Q. wasting, parents relying, excess wardrobe spending, trend spotting, club posing, commitment fearing, sleep lacking, cubical monkey. But nah, I don’t see it.

So I spend my weekdays injecting myself with ludicrous amounts of caffeine that I practically piss Columbian coffee beans. So I get up early everyday from less than 4 hours of sleep a night and highlight my mornings with staring endlessly at myself in the mirror while I dress myself in the latest in designer attire that I saw in last months issue of GQ while I was sitting on the toilet defecating. So I rush for the subway daily and find joy in stealing seats from the elderly and handicapped due to my obvious advantage in motor skills. You snooze, you lose grandma. So I suck dick all day, saying yes to any task my boss assigns me faster than Kunta Kinte on his first day on the job. My boss, who makes Carrot Top seem like Dave Chappelle, tells jokes on an hourly basis and there I am pseudo laughing my ass off constantly saying, “Good one sir”. So a big part of my job is being fake. So I workout five days a week to try to satisfy Calvin Klein’s definition of a human male specimen, believing underwear billboard ads to be an accurate mirror portrayal of an average North American male, flawless. So every chance I get I pump my lats, I push my pecs, or at least that’s what my personal trainer on a power trip screams at me while I workout with a perma-constipated look on my face while I validate my self with a false sense of self improvement. More muscles equals a better life right? That’s what sold me on an 16 week “Burn Fat-Build confidence” package put together by Arnold-esque trainer who’s neck is as visible as Rosie O'Donnell’s sex appeal. Who ever said self improvement was masturbation obviously didn’t know the joys of working out daily to a point past exhaustion and consuming nothing but lean chicken breast and protein shakes. Do I find substance in my life? Psshhhhh, obviously, duuh.

If that brief moment of self reflection wasn’t enough to convince her, here are some statistics:
• White collar workers are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than blue collar workers.
• A1960s study noted that dentists, attorneys and/or physicians had 2½ to 5½ times the overall suicide rate of other white-collar workers.
• A recent JADA report speculated that white collar personality traits emphasize control of emotional expression, compulsive attention to details, conscientiousness and deferral of gratification. All factors thought to have played an integral role with suicides.
• Dr. Herbert Hendin, a New York psychiatrist and medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, noted that "educated people have a higher suicide rate than the general population."
• In addition, he said, "the rate of men to women is 4 to 1. White men have a higher rate than non-whites and men over 65 have the highest rate."

Business men didn’t even make the top 10! WTF? Because there isn’t a month that goes by without some sad, salary dependant suit fresh out of a meeting about his “quarterly financial report” doesn’t throw himself in front of the on coming train. Ok I’ll admit, even with my oh so great and obviously successful lifestyle, there are days I’ve wanted to hang myself with the very designer tie I’m wearing but I couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t want to. Why waste a perfectly good black $100 DKNY tie, blood stains. If I was to die I would want to be prepared, put my affairs in order. I mean, could you imagine dying at just any random day? What if it was a bad hair day, or worse yet a “dry cleaner day”? A day where all your prime gear is being dry cleaned. I could just imagine the headline, “Bay St. consultant found dead in cheap, out dated, unfitted, no name gray suit a fixated by pink Hilfiger tie. So embarrassing. Hilfiger? Who wears that these days? Pink? So last year…

My life meaningless? North America a shallow narcissistic consumerist state? In the words of Paris Hilton or which ever overly tanned blonde pop-culture “it” girl of the moment whose lives we praise and follow more attentively than our very own, “like whatever”….

Buyer Beware

(A break from the day to day to Rave and Rant)

Every girl I have ever had an experience with has been directly responsible for the man I am today. I'm not just saying that; Every psyche of my being is a caused by my experiences with the opposite sex. From the first time I was neglected by my mother to the last time I got my heart broken. Females are to blame.

I started dating at a late age. I don't count those dates to junior proms that ended after the dance. Those were not real dates. I'm talking about real experiences with the opposite sex; Not my first kiss but my first real emotional kiss. Some people might have started earlier but due to God forsaking me during the ages of 8-16, dating was not an attainable option for me. Puberty finally decided to visit me the summer after my 17th birthday and it was good to me. Girls I had classes with all through out high school started asking me what school I had transferred from. They were semi embarrassed by my response but I didn't care at that point. I was just happy they were talking to me in the first place but since then my life has never been the same. Not in a good way. Sure, attention from females can really make a boy blush and constant compliments almost made me believe I had a chance to be a model at one point (which was short lived btw) but there's a downside to all that.

Every girl I have dated since the age of 17 has fucked me over harder than a Church and Gerard prostitute. I have dated many girls in my life time and one thing I've learned is that all of them should come with a “buyer beware” sign. I enter relationships with the utmost optimism but always exit with my tail between my legs. This not my fault. This is completely theirs. My first real girlfriend was the one I took to my senior prom. She seemed perfect in everyway: Cute as a button; Honor role; hard working; down to earth and caring. At least this is how she advertised herself to me the first time we met. She was not perfect. Not in the least. The second girl I ever fell for I never ended up seriously dating. She was nothing like the first girl. I met her during my pseudo acting/modeling phase. At the time I was madly in love with someone; myself. For some reason she decided she didn't care and proclaimed her love for me. Not to be conceded but many other girls at that time also believed in their hearts that I was the man for them but she stuck out. She was persistent. She didn't take my rejection and my constant affirmation of self love as warning signs, in fact I think that made her like me more, in a weird and self-loathing way. She loved me like no other girl has ever loved me and I inevitably cheated on myself with her. I renounced my self-absorbed ways and decided that maybe she was the girl for me. Big mistake. The last and final girl I love and will ever love was my Ex. She was a little cute Snowboarder chick. She was rich but didn't care about money, easy to talk to, social, out going, caring and cooked a mean pot roast. Again, she managed to convince me that there was no other girl for me but her. I didn't at first but through her sneaky little ways I succumbed. For almost two years I forgot I was anti-love and became pro-"ill do anything to make this relationship work" guy. I didn't mind because I thought she was perfect for me but lo and behold, the lies started to surface. Not only was she a mediocre snowboarder at best, her pot roast was store bought. The relationship ended badly. (Yes because of the pot roast. Any girl that will fake a roast deserves to burn in hell or at least some good cooking lessons)

This is not a strange phenomenon that only applies to me. This is universal for women and men a like. We all get tricked into believing someone is perfect for us. This is not my fault. This is not the "fake pot roast" girl's fault. There are three specific people to blame. Zack Morris, Meg Ryan and the Trix Bunny should be executed. They are 100% responsible for every heartache you and I have ever experienced. I blame them.
In the 90s these people shaped, in its totality, my concept of love and relationship. Everything I know with regards to the birds and the bees they have embedded in my soul. I watched Save by the Bell religiously; all three episodes a day. I idolized Zack. I followed him through his endless adventures of chasing Kelly Kapowski. Kelly was the girl of Zack's dreams and most episodes revolved around him trying to out duel every other guy in Bay Side High for her love. Zack would do anything within his means to convince and in a way, manipulate Kelly into believing they were meant to be. Inevitably Zack and Kelly end up dating and things sort of work out, in that perfect high school ending sort of way. Nothing bad ever really happened during the Save by the Bell years. Zack always gets his girl and at the end of the day, things work out. I was lead to believe this was true. In turn I spent most of my life chasing women and shaping myself into what I believed would gain their love. I liked a snowboarder, hipster chick, I became a snowboarder, hipster dude. This is what Zack did. Convince the girl your the perfect guy for her and when you inevitably end up together, she will see you and love you for the wonderful person you are deep down. she will not! She will realize you are not the guy she thought you were and resent you for that. Fuck you Zack Morris and your false teachings! But Zack is not completely at fault, Meg Ryan shares part of the blame.

In the span of a decade, Meg Ryan has made several memorable movies. The first Meg Ryan movie that made a lasting impression on me was when "Harry met Sally". It's a story about two great friends who turn a platonic relationship into a romantic one. In the end they fall in love with each other and live happily ever after. This movie taught me that the girl of my dreams is right under my nose and is most likely my best friend. She also made "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Addicted to love". These movies are staples of her career and the North American concept of love and relationships. In "Sleepless in Seattle" we learn that when someone, who barely knows us, travels half away across the continent to stalk us, over hears our voice through a late night radio show and convinces our family members through persistent letters that we belong together, is ideally romantic. This is what Meg does through out the movie. This is the whole movie. They lock eyes in the end and its literally love at first sight; how romantic. Her craziness doesn't end there, it only gets accentuated in the movie "Addicted to Love". In "Addicted to Love" her and failed big screen actor Ferris Buller, join forces to sabotage their ex's current relationship in the hopes of winning them back. What a moral. Meg plays an offbeat, left of center, indie, weirdo but in a really cute way, unconventionally beautiful girl. Her and Ferris come up with crazy and original ways to try to split their exes apart but in the end they discover that they are in fact in love with each other. In hindsight, I realize Meg's characters in these movies are the women I believe to be ideal. These are the people we all believe to be perfect for us; Unconventionally beautiful people who are unique and different from most and preferably our best friend. In truth, these people are no where close to being perfect, nor are they good for us. They will break our hearts. They are left of center for a reason. They fall in love easily and fall out of love with the same effortless grace. Their counter culture "off beat-ness" is not cute, it's fucked up. They risk everything for a love they barely know because they malfunction emotionally and in turn cling to people. They are not hopeless romantics. You are a hopeless romantic for falling for these people. They are serial heartbreakers and Meg Ryan is their leader.

Meg's movies always get re-runned on Television stations. I don't know why this is. I'm guessing it must be because there is some form of truth contained in them. These movies are memorable not because of any real artistic merit, not because of great acting or a great story, nor are any of them good for any specific cinematic moments. Now that I think about it, I'm not all that sure why these movies are memorable in the first place. I'm pretty certain these movies suck but for one reason or another I own several Meg Ryan movies and continually watch them. Someone has convinced me that a Meg type of woman is what I need in my life to be happy. These are the same people who convinced crack heads to take a hit of crack. They are the people that brainwashed the Trix Bunny that cereal is the answer to his happiness.

How long has that Bunny been chasing that cereal? God damn why can't someone just get him a bowl? Why are kids so cruel? I whole heartedly want to cry for that bunny but a part of me always laughs at how silly he is. Why not just give up? Why is his whole existence dedicated to a bowl of cereal? What happens after he gets the cereal? Will he be happy then? Will he finally give up his relentless search or will he search for another bowl? These are not simple questions. These are deep philosophical questions. The answers to these questions will give purpose to your life. These are the questions that plague humanity. Human nature dictates that we are never satisfied; Maybe momentarily but never permanently. We can all relate to the bunny. We spend the majority of our lives on a vigorous search for love and when we find it we are never satisfied. But is love what we really need? Someone has made us believe that there is nothing greater than love. Love will solve all of our problems. It is universal. Zack, Meg and the Bunny go through great lengths in its pursuit and so do we. It is our bowl of cereal but unlike the Bunny, we do get a taste. The problem is the taste is just never enough. Love is never enough. Don't believe Zack's bullshyt and Meg Ryan's propaganda. True love doesn't exist in real life, only in movies. It is Jack and the metaphorical bean stalk. It is a fairy tale told to little kids to sooth their minds before they go to bed. Like my idol Zack, I have been doing everything and anything to chase my proverbial Meg Ryan but I should have learned by now, that silly me, love is for kids.

Last Call

1:55 a.m. Saturday, 20**

I took the last sip of my Gin and tonic.  Said girl was standing in the back of the line awaiting the use of the bathroom. At any half happening venue in the city, women always have to wait exactly twenty nine minutes more than men for the exact same purpose of relieving themselves.  I’m not really too sure why this is and have often wondered just what exactly women do in there.  I can only guess it’s because we as men urinate upright and all the hardships that go along with peeing sitting down causes this major delay in bathroom time.

I waited for her to come out.  Exactly thirty three minutes later, I informed her of an “after hours” spot located under a hair salon that twice a week housed designer collared shirt and tie wearing, pseudo junkies looking to pro-long their pathetic weekend warrior like debaucheries.  I intended to be one of the said pathetic people and invited her to bear the same label.  Without a doubt she came along.

We got there by cab shortly after.  In an “after hours” there are no more games; true colors come out with the help of a small group of Columbian guerrilla mercenaries.  If Red Bull has wings then Cocaine has a strap-on jet pack.  After a segment of the rebel forces fought and died their way into our blood stream she got a lot “friendlier”.  Good job men, mission accomplished.  Buy a girl a drink and you get a conversation.  Buy her a ring and you get a mini van and a mortgage.  Buy her Cocaine and at the very least, you get a blow job.

1:45 a.m. Saturday, 20**

“I know, I can't afford to stop
For a moment... that it's too soon… to forget
I know, I can't afford to stop
For a moment… that it's too soon… to forget”

The Lights flickered on and off three times to the chorus of "Ms. Fat Booty”.  Last call.

1:01 a.m. Saturday, 20**

There she was, by the bar holding a glass of red wine, blatantly being approached by one guy after the next. She turned down their advances loud enough for everyone in the place to know that she had class but friendly enough to keep the potential suitors and free drinks coming.  May the best man win.  She loved the attention, it was obvious, at least to me.  You have to respect a girl friendly enough to give just about any would be approacher false hope with her “McDonalds-smiles-are-free-with-any-order” attitude but still reject a dude just after that drink is bought for her.  Trick.

She was wearing a fitted silver striped midnight blue dress bottomed off with black nylons.  The nylons had obvious self-made runs, her eyeliner was over applied and her hoop earrings were way too big.  I knew she was going to be trouble, it was obvious by the size of her earrings.  The bigger the hoops, the bigger the Ho, it’s a known universal law.  But still, I knew, for me, she was tonight’s overnight heartache.  I caught her glancing at me a few times.  I waited till the third.

The magic number with love and sex is always three.  You go on a date with someone for the third time and you better have a condom on you because the two of you, in all likely hood, are exchanging a high amount of bodily fluids.  You’ve been dating someone for three months and someone is probably going to drop an “L-bomb”.  And of course, by the third time you have sex with a girl, whether she admits it or not, she has began to envision herself in that white dress and you holding her hand in front of her love ones wearing that penguin suit.  By the third time, whether you can make her leg quiver or not, she’s hooked on you.  I made my approach.

“I came over here to see what the big deal was all about.”  She looked confused.
“Left and right, I see one dude after the next coming to talk to you and buying you drinks.  What’s your name? Are you famous? Is there a reason for guys to keep buying you free drinks?”

She laughed, introduced herself and told me she had no idea what all the fuss was about and assured me she was just a “regular” girl but not once did she justify accepting the numerous amount of drinks.  We conversated for awhile, laughed, exchanged numbers and said our goodbyes but in no way did I or she intend that to be the end of the night.  Again, this was obvious by the size of her hoop earrings.  I knew any further pursuit would end in nothing but a “Lindsay Lohan-esque” type of night.  But for some reason I just couldn’t help myself, the perfect combination of that Bombay Gin and that Tonic water just makes me want to continue chasing “waterfalls”.  Truth be told, I often wake up the next morning tip toeing out of some stranger’s unfamiliar apartment asking myself why I continue to do the things I do.  Regret has been such a consistent part of the diet of my life that there isn’t enough Starbucks bran muffins to defecate it out of my system.  But still, I’ll have to admit, with all the regrets and all the overnight heartaches an awkward morning will always beat a lonely evening.

Exes - Story # 1

10:10 pm Friday, 20**

Cue Lenny Kravitz’s “Again.”

9:01 pm Friday, 20**

I’m late. I was supposed to be there by now, and I’m still in my washroom fixing my hair. It takes all of 5 minutes to give my hair that pseudo natural just-out-of-bed look. The key to being guy-chic is to look good and put together in that perfect, messed up way, as though you don’t care. Put on a fuchsia Prada shirt with black Prada pants and shiny brown leather shoes and you look like Euro trash trying too hard to impress. Enter any hip Toronto bar dressed in a three piece designer suit with matching designer shoes, and you might as well carry a sign that reads, “looking to get married within the next couple of years.” You want white picket fences, 2.5 kids, an ulcer and a dog named Dexter? Go bar hopping in a three piece designer suit downtown and watch the late-20 to mid-30 wannabe Torontonian hags flock to you like soccer moms to Mick Jagger. Any true Toronto man with a sense of fashion would never be caught in something so put together; you might as well have never moved out of your parents’ house and continued to let your mother lay your clothes out. Suits are perfectly fine for the workplace, but they should be left in your closet after 10 p.m. If you want to attract successful, beautiful, mid-to late-20s Toronto women, you need a real sense of fashion; A CK shirt under a Comme des Garçons cardigan, bottomed-off with plain white desert sneaks or a shirt and a tie with a simple black vest over broken-in 501s… You get the idea. Trying too hard is a deadly sin when it comes to attracting women. I think this is a crucial rule most guys overlook. I’m glad – less competition.

20 minutes late, and I’m standing in front of J-time sushi; one of the 25 or so Japanese restaurants on Bloor. She was late as well. I called her cell as soon as I got there and lied about my time of arrival. She apologized while I made it seem as if I had been there on time. I’ll take whatever upper hand I can get.

Spring arrived a week ago, but left the rain behind. It was a nice night and – truth be told – the weather calmed my nerves. Until I saw her walking towards me, of course. It had been close to half a year since our falling out/break up. We hadn’t really spoken with the exception of some disheartened late-night emails and to-the-point angry text message exchanges. To my dismay, she looked good. Her blonde hair seemed longer than before. Then again, 6 months would do that. Logically. Her 5’5 frame looked slimmer and was accentuated by the blue jeans that painted her hips and the half-zipped hoodie that covered her halter top, subtly showcasing just enough of her cleavage to garner attention without making her seem slutty.

Great *insert sarcastic undertones here*. Seeing an ex for the first time is always hard. There is an ongoing competition between exes: to see who ends up better – in every aspect of life. I realize how shallow this sounds but it’s true. No exceptions. We all know this is the case, but few of us are willing to admit it. Why else do we put together an outfit days before the first time we meet an ex again? Why else are we so concerned about how we look? By the time we’re ready to meet our exes, we’re most likely completely over them, so the competition is only with respect to our vanity and self-image. I don’t secretly root for my ex to fail. Really. In fact, I wish her all the best. I just want to be better. If she’s a millionaire, I want to be a billionaire. If she has an apartment downtown, I want a condo uptown. Ironically, by being the one to admit this, I have conceded defeat. I have painted myself as the pathetic ex who yearns for approval, deep down. Like the fashion rule, a similar stipulation applies with exes. Apparently, the key to truly being cool or being over someone is not to care. Well I guess I’m doomed to live a life of fishing for approval, Star Trek reruns and weekend Comic book conventions.

I’m so sorry I’m late. Dexter came by before he went to work and… Well, you know how it goes.”

Dexter was her new boyfriend of almost 6 months; precisely the same amount of time we had been broken up. How convenient. I guess she was the obvious winner of the “who falls in love first” battle. But I didn’t at all feel defeated by this. Dexter, after all, was a dog’s name. Not to mention Dexter was currently an unsuccessful photographer, short, skinny and reminded me of a black version of David Spade. So until I saw his photographs on the cover of Vogue, or he suddenly got back on the puberty boat that seemed to have left him behind, I had no feelings of insecurity in this department.

The dinner was going well. My unresolved feelings were concealed by my jokes about raw fish and Japanese culture. “I heard everything moves faster in Japan… So much so that they don’t even have the time to cook their food.” Corny, but she laughed. After the first 10 minutes of struggling with the chopsticks, getting reacquainted and updating each other on the course of our lives, her current boyfriend wasn’t mentioned again. Instead, we reminisced about the good times we had and laughed about the bad ones. I had hated her since I’d let her go for what she did to me last summer. The main reason I agreed to see her was to show her how much better off I was without her. And I was, as I’m sure she was. I had a whole itinerary and monologue prepared. The monologue was suppose to subtly showcase all the good things in my life I had accomplished post-Liz. I planned to casually mention how focused I was on my career, “unintentionally” lift my shirt to show off the six-pack I now had time to shape at the gym, and casually mention the model I was currently seeing. But for some reason, a different, unrehearsed speech came out. Blame it on the combination of Saki and wasabi.

Liz, you know I never wanted things to end up like they did. I never meant to put you through all that shit. I know everyone thinks I did, as some sort of retribution for you cheating on me. But that was never my intention. I was mad at you for what you did. I wanted to kill you, but instead I took you back. I loved you. Believe me, I did. I should have just walked away that day and the last year could have been avoided. I guess I couldn’t control my emotions; my insecurities just got the best of me. You got the best of me.”

I couldn’t look her in the eye as I muttered my cheesy, heartfelt speech. Since the words were unrehearsed, I was unsure of the reaction they would garner. I wasn’t sure if she was going to respond with a valley girl, “ummm ok”-type of reaction, or completely laugh in my face. When I finally looked up and caught her eye, I saw that the words had affected her. Her pupils rested on a shade of red and it seemed as if she was trying to hold back tears. For the last 6 months I’d been so caught up in my hatred that I’d forgotten that there was once love there. There the two of us sat, in a booth on opposite ends of the table, chopsticks in one hand and broken hearts in the other. I guess I struggled with more than chopsticks that night.

Nothing more was said after that. We left the noise of J-time sushi shortly after, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. The night was still early, but there was no mention of any of our respective plans after that. I would eventually finish up my night by meeting up with my friends at the Drake. As she waved goodbye and walked away, a part of me wondered where she was headed. When we were together, there was hardly a minute we spent apart that was unaccounted for; however, being privy to that information ended when we did. Maybe she was headed for the comfort of Dexter the dog. Maybe she was going to cry to her girlfriends about me. Maybe she would simply forget about our encounter. Maybe this was the closure she needed to finally move on. Wherever she was headed, whatever she would end up doing after that night, a part of me would always wonder.