The Wanderers, December 14, 2014

“Just as a painter paints,
and a ponderer ponders,
a writer writes,
and a wanderer wanders.”
Roman Payne


In spring I went to have drinks with a friend from Copenhagen who was in the city on business. We went to my second-favorite rooftop at The Press Lounge (the view is pictured above). I showed him all the important parts of the city skyline before we settled with beer and champagne.

“I like bad boys,” I said to him casually in the middle of a Tinder-related conversation.

“No you don’t,” he said. “You do not like bad boys. You think you like bad boys.”

“You’re right,” I said. “‘Nomads’ are more my type. Like my crutch. I’m always falling for them and it’s always bad news.”

“What is wrong with nomads?”

“They’re always leaving me behind,” I said.

I thought about my ex Robert, who’s lived in quite a few countries after we met, then Soren who did a tour with the Peace Corps, and Benjamin, the only man I nearly fell in love with. Things with Benjamin started to crumble when he mentioned one evening (over the phone, in Portland where he lives) that his dream was to live in a medium-sized-town somewhere in the midwest or west coast, or do some social work in South America, or move back to Japan.

“We want different things, Ben,” I said. Which was my secret way of saying, “I love New York more than you.” New York and I met too soon, that’s the problem. Unlike other people, who spend their college years in one place, then their 20s somewhere else, then, by their 30s or 40s have some idea of where to rest their head and find it -- I was lucky enough to fall in love with the first place I set eyes on. The day I loved New York I realized that I was no longer free, that I would be bound to it. Knowing that I needed New York frustrated and angered me. The last night I heard from him, he was sobbing over the phone.

I always fall hardest for these men who do not live nontraditional lifestyles and who scoff at the notion of “settling down.” Bo might be leaving New York within the year, and this news won’t come till the end of January. I lie and say that I won’t think about it until the time comes, but I think about it every day. When we hug, I see an imaginary clock hanging over his head.

Sometimes it isn’t just enough to be in love -- so many other variables are at play. This makes me envious people lucky enough for the good timing, for the success; lucky enough for conclusions. At some point in their lives there was perfect synthesis. I haven’t had that luxury.