The Nostalgic Tourist

Published March 29, 2006

My non-stop to nostalgia has collided with reality. A bitter reality. A harsh reality.

I get out of sight quickly by ducking down the alley adjacent to Jane's apartment. I hear voices getting closer. I hear the couple enter Jane's apartment. Suddenly Jackson runs right up to me. I bend down to pet him. He remembers me. He laps at my hand, and we get reacquainted until Jane calls his name from inside her home. Jackson looks me in the eye, turns and moseys away from me, toward his master.

The door slams shut, and I curse my stupidity. Harry and Sally live in separate worlds.

"You can't be this close to the ocean without putting your feet into the water." Someone I know always says that, so I abide. I stop at a 7-11 and buy myself a bottle of a good time and head to the beach. The day's events wash over me as the liquor pours down my throat. I am the walrus. The fool on the hill. This is my long and winding road.

Flashback. Jane and I were sitting on a flight of stairs, amidst hundreds of books. Jane loves to read more than any other person I know, and we were relocating her library. We were moving her into a new apartment. We had been moving all day. One of the last boxes, this massive, over-packed box of books, made it halfway up the stairs before the bottom gave out. Sitting among the wreckage, faced with the task of cleaning up the mess, Jane just started to laugh. Before the giggles I was about to blow a gasket, but her giddiness was contagious, and I too began to laugh. That's what I love about Jane. Inside of this smart and sophisticated woman is this little girl, full of wonder and awe. There's this little girl that peeks out from these big brown eyes and takes in the world like she's taking it in for the first time. She's this little girl that lights up a room and continuously dances to life's endless song. It's quite breathtaking, as is she.

art beachGood times over. My bottle is empty, and the tide is coming in. I'm drunk. I do foolish things. Jane answers her door on the second knock and doesn't seem all that surprised to see me. Then again, Jane never liked to appear off-guard. I try not to slur my words when I speak. I try, but fail.

"I needed to see you, Weakness."

She responds. "Why?"

"Because you're mine," I announce quickly, suddenly feeling proud of myself.

Jane laughs. "You're drunk," she says. "And I didn't say what you think I said. I asked you to tell me why you thought you needed to see me."

There is silence. She doesn't think I'm going to respond. See, the crux of our relationship crumbled under a lack of communication. I always had trouble expressing myself, and the great communicator strikes again, as I am at a loss for words. Standing on a mat that invites me into a different world, I struggle to find the words to answer her question. Without speaking, Jane starts to shut the door.