Unsurprisingly, my meeting with Alejandro did not go as planned. When I walked into the bar, there he sat with a vodka and coke, in a light blue button down with those bright blue eyes and his dark wavy hair at just the length I liked. The knot in my stomach grew as I took a deep breath and pulled up a bar stool next to him. We held the old obligatory cordial conversation routine of how have you beens and what’s news that were required to be asked, but in reality, the questions’ answers were immaterial. I didn’t care that he had scored a hat-trick at soccer on Tuesday night and my story of falling on a patch of black ice outside of Mad River after a few too many glasses of wine at trivia night was completely irrelevant as to why we were now uncomfortably sitting at a bar with a bag of my belongings between us.
The conversation quickly turned when Alejandro addressed our break, “I’ve really missed you, Bacchus. But when I said I needed a break, some time to sort things out, I didn’t mean a full on break up as you so eloquently wrote about.”
“Well I don’t do breaks, Alejandro. You’re either with me or you’re not,” I replied with my voice cracking, willing the tears that had welled up in my eyes to magically evaporate just as quickly as they had sprung.
“Why does everything have to be so black and white with you? There’s never any room for a little bit of grey. I just needed some time.” Ironically, Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” was playing in the background.
I excused myself and went into the bathroom before a public emotional breakdown could ensue. I wasn’t about to be that sad, pathetic girl crying in her beer, slightly hyperventilating with snot running out her nose—that move was so 2009.
I looked in the mirror and took a few deep breaths, wondering when this rollercoaster ride of love with Alejandro would end—or would it? Maybe he was right, maybe a little grey now and then was ok. But I had never been one for grey.
I returned to my seat and faced him, unsure of what to say next. Alejandro grabbed my hand and looked me in the eyes, “You know I care about you, Bacchus.”
I held his hand tight and didn’t want to let go. Our hand holding turned into a hug, the hug into a kiss, and the kiss into another, and another, and another. One thing that was for certain is that I was grey about whether all of this was wrong or right—it felt so right in the moment, but any outsider looking in would have said, what a fool that girl is, she better be blind drunk with an IV of Jameson straight to her liver.
Before I knew it, we were heading out the door and south on Third Avenue, Alejandro’s one hand carrying my bag of belongings, his other squeezing my hand tight, leading me back to his apartment, back to where this whole ride of ups, downs, and spinning around and around had started. And if you’re confused about what happened next, I hope you’re extremely high on salvia.
As I spent a week in Ohio for the holidays, everyone wanted to know if I had in fact gotten my stuff back from Alejandro, were we still together? I smiled and nodded, telling my grandmother, my uncle, Cakes, Chico, La Bamba, Rulalenska, St. Nick, and hell, even the waitress at Coccia House that everything was great. But deep down I knew it was still a situation of grey—except it was a shade of grey I was now willing to accept, whether right, wrong, un-black, un-white, or just plain foolish.
When my flight back to New York was cancelled due to the Blizzard of 2010, I was forced to rent a car and drive back to the city unless I wanted to stay in Ohio until March of 2011 (not an option as much as I love sledding off the back of a tractor and drinking Jack Daniels before noon). So it was me, a white 2010 Nissan Versa, 479.2 miles of open road, and eight hours of country music to reflect on the past year. So thank you Kenny, Tim, Taylor, Carrie, and even you too, you oldster Reba—you’ve soothed my soul with all the twang an Ohio girl could ask for under severe highway hypnosis.
And what a year 2010 has been in love, hangovers, and that brief quarter life crisis. So goodbye 2010 and goodbye to the bullshit of Billy Blue; goodbye to drooling, farting, snoring Jason who wanted to be “held like a baby” and left behind his sweaty socks as a parting gift; goodbye to Yankee Jim who so gracelessly tried to recreate the hallway scene from Unfaithful; goodbye to Guitar Jim who may or may not have cheated on his girlfriend had he had one more shot of chilled Stoli O; and lastly, goodbye to Jimmy Bats (sigh), the one who got away—ok, the one I could never have. And as for Alejandro, it wasn’t quite time to say adios just yet.
Who knows what 2011 will bring in all things love, but here’s to a new year of sex and hangovers on the Upper East Side!