October 3rd, 2009 — 3:07pm
When you still have feelings for each other, remaining friends with an ex can be tricky — as I discovered time and again with California native Mark (a.k.a. Sparky).
Nearly two years after we broke up in 1995, I was crushed when a dinner encounter in NYC failed to produce those three little words from him. Oddly, I’d grown accustomed to hearing it in our post-breakup relationship. I soon found out the reason Sparky was tight lipped. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of ‘97.…
April 4th, 1997
New York, NY
Sparky called me today. I knew he’d eventually call, but didn’t expect to hear his voice at work this afternoon. I could feel my heart beating rapidly and the effort it took not to be tongue tied.
1 State Street Plaza: I was at my desk here at Thomson Financial when Sparky called
As if he’d read my mind, he told me what was going through his Monday night.
“I didn’t want to get too crazy,” he said.
“Meaning what?” I asked, wanting him to spell it out.
“I didn’t want to make it any harder than it had to be since I knew my visit was going to be short,” he said.
I told him I was surprised he’d been in such a hurry to leave, and wondered if it was because of me. Sparky insisted he was tired from his journey — and that he’d held back because “there’s a lot of etiquette” to our relationship.
“I didn’t want to degrade what we have,” he said firmly.
Sparky admitted that he thought about asking me to come back with him to his hotel.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want you to,” he told me, to which I responded that I had considered asking him to spend the night.
“I miss you,” I said finally.
“I miss you too,” he said — in that warm tone of voice that indicates he thinks of me often.
It meant so much that he called just to tell me, albeit without those three little words, that his feelings haven’t changed. All my doubts were laid to rest — our love is still alive.
We’ve spent more time being officially split up than we have as a couple and yet, we can’t seem to let go. Is it so wrong to hope that, someday, all of this what if-ing will lead us to a second chance together?
* * *
Though Sparky and I remained connected, we also continued to move forward in our separate lives. An unexpected twist of fate in his life would force us to do what we had been unable to when I first walked away.
| being friends with an ex, catching up with old flames, ex boyfriends, long-distance relationships, saying I love you
September 26th, 2009 — 3:10pm
When it comes to breakups, some are truly final while others simply begin a new chapter in your relationship. For long distance love Mark (a.k.a. Sparky) and I, it was a case of the latter.
After our rocky bicoastal romance ended in 1995, Sparky and I continued seeing each other periodically when business brought him to New York. Each time, the powerful chemistry between us would resurface. I now Open The Vault and take you back to March of ‘97…
March 31st, 1997
New York, NY
I saw Sparky tonight for what was the briefest encounter we’ve had in the three years we’ve known each other. Amazingly enough, in the space of just a few hours, my feelings for him resurfaced with an intensity that had me in tears just a moment ago.
X Marks The Spot: Sparky and I reunited here at a now-defunct restaurant on 58th Street and First Avenue
After our tumultuous reunion last fall, I felt certain — or as close to being certain as I can ever be about what Sparky and I have (i.e. not very) — that each subsequent encounter would diminish his place in my heart. But it was the exact opposite that happened tonight.
I could feel the deepest emotional parts of me responding to his closeness. We lingered in one another’s arms every time we embraced. And it felt so wonderful, like it always does, when Sparky finally pulled me into a long kiss. Only one thing was missing — those three little words.
It never really occurred to me that that would happen because, no matter what, we’ve always said “I love you” when we’re together. As if, in the middle of our overwhelming differences and impossible situation, that was the one thing I could always count on. Until tonight.
Sparky told me several times how happy he was to see me, and he was the one who initiated most of our hugs. Maybe I’m being unfair, expecting him to pick up where we left off, but he makes me believe that’s possible every time we’re together. He’s the one who reiterates how we’re at the same point in our lives, and how I should remember him in the future.
He didn’t say “I love you,” and yet he seemed truly delighted to be with me again. They say silence speaks volumes and he didn’t mention a word about his live-in girlfriend. Can I assume this means his heart still belongs to me? More importantly, why does that even matter anymore?
* * *
The question of Mark’s feelings would be answered soon after our brief reunion — though it wasn’t enough to ward off a painful revisiting of where we’d gone so horribly wrong in the first place.
| catching up with old flames, ex boyfriends, First Avenue, long-distance relationships, saying I love you
August 29th, 2009 — 3:05pm
When you reconcile with an ex, there’s always the risk that it won’t be as good the second time around. Back in ‘96, the gamble paid off — briefly, anyway — for me and then-boyfriend Larry.
With a new understanding based upon the fact that I couldn’t make a long-term commitment to him, Larry did his best to make me happy and to make up for what had contributed to our breakup — his failure to support me through my mother’s illness. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the winter of 1996…
November 28th, 1996
New York, NY
Thursday night, Larry treated us to a big night out — dinner, drinks at Naked Lunch in the Village and dancing at Windows on the World.
Windows on the World: A romantic evening here with Larry found me thinking briefly of my ex
Thoughts of Sparky came up when a love song by Sting came on, but my usual wistfulness was happily supplanted by the gratification of knowing I’m with a much better man now.
“I want us to have a wonderful relationship,” Larry murmured as we held hands across the table. “You deserve that.”
* * *
December 4th, 1996
I’m nursing a bad cold at the moment. Sleep deprivation has wreaked havoc on my body — though, on the bright side, it’s resulted in lots of TLC from Larry.
As we held each other last night, I looked at Larry and found myself wishing I could give him more. While talking about our relationship, he said–
“Neither of us lives in a dream world. When we spend more time together, you’ll know. And so will I.”
The ominous foreboding of his words made me bury my head in Larry’s chest, hating the thought of our eventual parting. I don’t want to think of us as marking time, I want what we have to last as long as it can.
“It’s there, you know,” he said as we embraced.
“What is?” I wondered.
“The L word,” he said softly.
I know it is.
* * *
It was the closest that Larry and I would ever come to saying those three little words. And it took our final weeks together for me to realize just how much he had done — and what it would cost him — to express that sentiment.
| reconciling with an ex, saying I love you, Windows on the World