On a sunny December morning I was crossing 43rd Street on my way to a meeting, talking with Bond, James on my cell phone when wondering out loud, I blurted “would you ever want to share an apartment with me, here?” In less than a heartbeat, he responded “Absolutely girl! –That’s exactly what I want to do!”
…Have to admit, I blinked. Wow/Yikes. “Really? You would do that??”
That was before the holidays, when we’d just come off of our trial non-exclusivity so I could guiltlessly explore a potential relationship with The Ambassador. I didn’t have to get much further than a few dinner dates to figure out that he wasn’t for me — but not before Bond, James managed to do the hokey pokey and wind up with a bitch’in itch’in (harmless STD) back in Tampa, getting even . . . So we were back, feeling safer with each other, not exploring other intimate relationships and trying to figure out if that meant anything significant.
Around the same time, he got a call to complete the case in South Africa in mid-February –and invited me to come along. As my inner voice screamed for joy, I answered “Wow/Yes,” and scrambled for the calendar. I noticed how close his proposed travel dates were “from Purim to Passover” –the standing invitation I have from Neot S’madar to come back to the Holy Land and bottle a few more olives. So I played around on Expedia and discovered that for just a bit less than the price of that business-expensed RT ticket to Johannesburg, I could stop in Tel-Aviv for a few weeks and still get home in time to hide a few Easter eggs. Not only was the timing perfect and the price amazing (on Bond, James) my small studio sublet was up at the end of March (while I’d be labeling those bottles of olives) and he suggested he cover my rent since he’d need a place for a project that would be finishing up in NYC. The only remaining challenge then was figuring out how to break the news to my producing partners that I would be taking off for more consecutive time away (7 weeks) than they’d ever imagine possible without some sort of surgery and recovery involved. And then we decided to close STICK FLY, to tour (film to follow) – so I’d be totally guilt-free. The Universe works in wondrous ways…
But for whatever reason, I was determined to find ‘the’ apartment before leaving town, which I did do –but we had to sign the one-year lease immediately (or lose it) so there was still the issue of Bond, James moving us in to “our” apartment while I’d be packing those bottles of olives, 60 kilometers north of Egypt and a mile or so west of Jordan
It suddenly hit me that I’ve truly been living “unscripted” – that for the last two years, I’ve really designed my own life, totally enjoyed my adult freedom yet dealt with the rent (pieced together from an unexpected resource/subletting my co-op), children who expected me to be there (tada! SKYPE!) and the choices I’ve made from the options I’ve had (i.e. stretching that free ride to Johannesburg to include Tel-Aviv).
We may be nervously taking leaps of faith but actually, three out of five of us suddenly single mid-life babes are independently attached, just two years after we connected. We’re working from home, dressing for comfort, riding bikes, drinking decent wine –and generally living our lives the way we want to. Surprisingly, we’re not single anymore; we’re not dating. When we confide/share up on Karen’s rooftop, it’s about the relationship(s) we’re in. We live on our own (that’s the independent part), we’re spending part-time (the attached thing) with guys we really LIKE, willingly commingling their cups with our saucers.
Interestingly, our coupledom plays out in different formats. In my case, Bond, James hopes to spend two weeks a month in NYC (and I’ve committed to one week every other month in Tampa) and is putting cash down on a half share in an apartment I’ll be living in full time. Tool Man spends long weekends at Karen’s rooftop studio (and the occasional mid-week quickie) but feels more comfortable contributing his handiwork and financially supporting her business than subsidizing her rent. Vegas made noise about moving to NYC and in with Emma last fall, picked up a job in China this winter and is spending more time with her now, commuting between the two crazy places, we think, in the process of mentally and physically transitioning into the inevitable cohabiting. Only Pailey is still “out there” having invested the last two years chasing a guy who kept her dangling. Of the four of us, she’s the only one who made a checklist of who “he” has to be and although there is some tolerance for a bear market, the bulk of his portfolio has to carry a lot of blue chips.
I can’t speak for my other two gal pals, but I like the idea of moving into a brand new space with Bond,James –starting over… I’m okay with blending his geek with my drama-queen. Amazing, really, that I’d wind up with a guy who lives an airplane ride away and really wants joint ownership of sofas and dining tables. But I still flirt. I’m not the least bit interested in dropping my towel for anyone else on the planet (ok, so maybe one or two old fantasies still linger) but I like the random eye-connect and smile from a passing stranger, chatting up the guy (or the couple) next to me at the theater, the grocery line, the airplane seat…
I made a new friend recently. In his early sixties, he’s an accomplished, happily married man who’s traveled as much as I have, lived in other countries, raised terrific children and has the kind of open, friendly personality that lends itself to easy conversation. In talking about relationships and commitment, he commented that “Some people go wide; others go deep. Those of us who go wide wonder if we have the ability to go deep…”
And I suppose that’s where I’m at. Wondering if I have the chops to stay in a committed relationship, go the long distance (granted there’s a top end there that isn’t all that distant, but still…). JB went home a long time ago to live her happily ever after –and now 3 out of the final four made some space in our underwear drawers for a couple of pairs of male briefs. We’re choosing to believe, as much as we can, that this time will be different, this time it’ll work.
Who knows? But if we stop putting one foot in front of the other and don’t give it a whirl, we’ll never know.
Perhaps the greatest of all illusions, Shaz, is that life could somehow be better than is already is.
You’ve got it made –
Precisely, Shaz, your life.
NOTE TO SELF: Grab the bigger closet.