As those words echoed in my head, I stepped down into the NYC subway. People pushing past me and others flying up the steps around me. It was a strange place to be and I was feeling strange. Standing amongst a crowd, I waited for the train to 86th Street and for my heart to stop aching. Eager to be comforted by drinks with friends, I asked the sheepish white haired gentlemen standing close to me if the next train was local. Looking at his watch, he appeared annoyed: but nodded yes. I followed the white haired man onto the 6 train, and hung onto the pole. Everything became dark as we moved through the tunnel. Felt like I was running away from my Italian, but really all I wanted was to be close to him. Smell his cologne. Feel his hand hold mine. He was the one that ran away.
Two stops later I left the train and made my way towards 88th Street, going to meet my trusted friend for some clear headed advice on broken hearts. As I walked down Second Avenue into Rathbones, he was already inebriated, wearing a big cowboy hat. For a moment I chuckled inside, and envied the care free attitude in the room. Next to him was a beautiful lady sharing drinks. I quickly realized there would be no answers or logic found in this evening. But at least someone would find love, if at least for that evening. As I sat down at the bar, the Cowboy introduced new friends. It seemed like a spiked tea party: with people dumping their sorrows in glasses of alcohol and laughing. One of the Cowboy’s friends quickly bought me a drink. I will call him “Revolver”, because the drinks just kept coming. I began to look for my Italian at the bottom of every glass. But no matter what drink he ordered, or what glass it came in: the Italian still remained missing. I was feeling really small and lost without him. And I wondered if my toothbrush still sat on his bathroom counter, or if he had completely thrown me away.
As I continued to chase the Italian with vodka and cranberry, Revolver kept asking me questions. He wanted to know my name: and I rebelliously replied,
“Boston, just Boston. Last names are highly over rated. Besides all last names stand for ownership, and no one owns Boston”. He sat their amused, not sure why. But my guess would be, that I just assured him I did not want commitment. He introduced himself without a last name too. He said he was a “Private Guy”: as if that signified he was of importance. Even with all the drinks, that translated into I most likely am cheating on someone. Although I could not be sure, I found it very suspicious.
I looked around for the Cowboy to rescue me from the Revolver, and his ridiculous rhetoric. He had disappeared again. He was hard to keep tabs on, leaving the bar minutes at a time. The sun was gone too, and I was left with the cold night to comfort my sorrows. There was no turning back now. Each drink that I took, made me feel like I was shrinking into a world of loneliness. One in which the Italian could never find me. I was growing smaller by the minute. At the end of the bar, I found a really nice older woman, glancing over at me with her gentle soul welcomed my presence. My escape was clear and I went over to introduce myself. She told me her story and I spilled mine. She gave me a hug and said I lived a harder life than she ever knew: and blessed me. I might have shed a tear, but I couldn't tell the difference any more between being happy and sad.
The world I once knew, now made no sense. I did not know how to act in it all. Everything was so obvious before, I had my Italian guiding the way. Now I was lost in my own soul. I didn't know how to be me. Could I be me? It was a strange place to be. It most certainly was not the Boston I wanted to be. Oh where must that Cowboy be? Will my Italian ever come back to be?That’s a lot of “Be’s”, well we were all buzzed.
Maybe more than buzzed, because I actually left Rathbones with Revolver, looking for my Italian. He took me to some restaurant next door, and fell down on our way in. I helped him up of course as the room stared in judgment: like they had never seen an older gentlemen on the Upper East Side with a younger lady before. So we sat and we drank. It was nothing like my Italian fed me before, but then again he was not my Italian. Otherwise we would have been sitting side by side. The only similarities were mutual friends and their age. My Italian would never drink this much, unless it was a Manhattan with old friends back in Jersey.
I only had to drive us home once, after leaving a hidden restaurant between Wayne and North Bergen. The evening became a table with the staff, and the Italian reminiscing of the good ole days. I found it endearing. I could have sat there all night, I loved seeing him smile. I loved hearing his stories. I loved him.
But as I looked across the table, I was now having dinner with a stranger. And I was far away from the shoulder I used to rest my head on. After a quick bite, and conversation I cannot remember: I felt a little better, and bigger as we made our way to Genesis. Sitting at the corner of the bar, were two young men. They introduced themselves, but all that stuck in my head was the names Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I ended up taking a nap in a booth for a short while on my way to the ladies room, hoping to wake up back in my place. So many thoughts rushing through my head, all spinning and making it difficult to remember the way home. I rejoined Revolver at the bar. It did not take long before he asked me to leave, and go back to a hotel room. Furious at his gesture, I told him off using every four letter adjective in the book. It was not like me, but neither was leaving a bar with a man to go to a hotel room. So he finally left and I was left with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
My inner Cougar had no interest, and I left them outside Genesis. I started walking and got lost. My head was spinning worse, everything was getting bigger. I was getting smaller. I had to sit down. So I plopped my bottom down on a concrete bed outside this building and buried my head in my arms. Tears streamed down my face, one by one, until a flood washed my makeup. I was shaking and embarrassed, as a Doorman noticed me crying. I took a deep breath and collected myself. I decided to play my cards and call the Italian.The phone rang and he did not answer. I got his voice mail, started to leave a message and then with tears in my voice said…
“Sorry, I should not have called”, and hung up. Sitting alone, I felt the cold air sink into my chest. Then my phone rang from a long time friend, whom I had texted. He wondered if I was okay. Usually I would never own up to it, but I had never felt so abandoned in my life. So I said yes, and he guided me to his place one NY block at a time over the phone. As the elevator took me up to his floor: I remembered being here before. The halls have doors with no numbers…and when the elevator opened the doors presented confusion. Which was the right one to knock on? Thankfully this old friend opened his door and invited me in. I immediately apologized for being so drunk and a hot mess, and he was quick to share his sandwich. He could tell I needed more than a bite to eat, and asked what was wrong. I told him the truth of my relationship ending with the Italian. He was completely shocked. But he told me he was not done, he would come back. I hoped he was right.
It was a long night in Wonderland on Second Avenue, and I just wanted to get home. I was tired of this strange place. I left my old friend and walked to the Subway. As I entered the steps, everything became a blur. Some guy shouted at me trying to pick me up, but I kept going. Going faster and faster, my thoughts running with me…until I got home. I don’t remember getting into bed, but I remember waking up late in the afternoon with no missed calls from my Italian. It was a feeling I liked to forget, but never will. My world would never be the same.