The last time I cried for more than five hours was winter of 2003, when I conceded defeat to my parents and decided to attend college in my hometown (my sister knocked on my bedroom door and heard me sobbing, still, and told my father "she's still crying" so he came in and patted my shoulder gingerly). The next time after that was the spring of 2007, here in New York, and more recently, last Saturday morning (the 19th). The mouse droppings I found in the kitchen sink and on the floor were what broke me. So I picked a spot between the two cushions in my three-seater couch and remained there for hours with a roll of toilet tissue. The super didn't appear as asked, but I didn't want him to.
Then around three o'clock, I pulled myself, and the spilling emotions in the air around me together and took a shower. I had a party to attend.
I rode the A for 45 minutes downtown to my destination, and tried to chart the next few weeks.
"No plans after tomorrow," I vowed, hoping that if I cancelled everything I'd feel better. But I wasn't even sure if my sadness was from being too busy or not busy enough. This or that. That or this.
At a party in a very beautiful apartment Alistair and I had champagne and talked to delightful people. I was so happy to hear his voice, to touch his arm and have conversations that we would later dissect when we were alone.
Sunday (the 20th) morning I woke up early and the rain was tapering off, the sun coming out. I met with Kennedy and Philippa (on a short visit to NY after having moved to D.C.) at Waverly Restaurant for brunch. I told them about the first time I'd eaten there, back in 2009 when it was the hot place in town and the phone number was unlisted -- I think it still is?
"We made reservations in person and they gave us the earliest table," I laughed, remembering. This was back when I crashed galas and wanted to be cool. "We looked around for celebrities but we didn't see any."
Back then they sat us in the garden and I’d had chicken but no wine, to keep the bill down. I didn’t realize how beautiful the garden actually was until we dined there in the sunlight with Kennedy and Philippa. I hadn’t seen Philippa in weeks, and as usual, I felt like I needed years to catch up on everything in her life, but was only given an hour.
I raced to Alistair's home in the afternoon to prep for a dinner party. He outdid himself: a rack of lamb, roast chicken, Yorkshire pudding and a homemade bourbon chocolate sauce drizzled over ice cream.
The rest of the week was normal. I was looking forward to a long Memorial Day weekend of nothing besides treating Alistair to a day out. Saturday I took him to a picnic and a movie at the Hayden Planetarium. It was scorching hot in the city, just the way I like it.
I found myself beginning summer the way I always do, by making a phone call to my favorite rooftop space: "Is the roof terrace open yet?" I asked. "Not yet," the woman said.
"That's OK," I said, "I'll wait."