Thursday, November 29, 2007

a room with a view


I used to recycle ex-boyfriends. I was kind of known for that within my circle of friends. In fact, their not-so-subtle use of that term (which I’d never heard before) is in part why I began to reflect on my habit of getting back together with ex-boyfriends... And later decided that I wouldn’t do it anymore.

It’s so easy. To fall back on old habits. To be with someone who wants to be with you. Effortless. This time, we’ll really, really make it work. I always think that. At least until the fighting starts a month or two later.

Arguments made much worse because they escalate so quickly. They escalate because there are so many old resentments. Unresolved issues. A simple disagreement about paper towels becomes a shouting match that ends in pouting and hurt feelings. Because that person never takes responsibility for anything, you see. It definitely isn’t an argument over Bounty. One person thinks making the bed day after day after day is a waste of time. The other, convinced it’s a mortal sin to be without military corners for even an afternoon. How can that ever work?

But lately, well... Some habits are hard to break.

He’s a talented sculptor and artist. He doesn’t work. He doesn’t have to. He creates beautiful sculptures of beautiful women, caught in repose, head bent over knees. Vivid paintings that are striking in their simplicity. Captivating.

And he’s an amazing cook. Caramelized scallops and full-bodied chocolates served with a robust red on Valentine’s Day. When we are together, he binges creatively, painting for hours at a time. Stopping only for sustenance. During one memorable weekend, he painted 30 paintings in three days. When we are not together, he doesn’t seem to paint at all.

The last time I saw him, I flew to New York to visit him at one of his homes in the Adirondacks. That house! It had the most incredible architectural design I’ve ever seen. He designed it and then helped build it too, because he loves to create and work with his hands. Only an artist could have designed that house.

It was built around a birch tree.

I was awe-struck the first time I saw it. The tree rose from the floor in the main room and reached all the way to the ceiling. The top of the tree fanned out naturally into tiny buds, creating the headboard for the bed in the loft. Amazing.

The home rests on a lake. Surrounded by homes owned by other family members. Of course. I loved looking out the window. Staring out at the lake. I did that a lot. He didn’t really want me there. I could tell. Phone call after phone call telling me he missed me, only to fly to New York and to feel his compounded resistance. His anger at his need. His anger at me.

He’s so persistent. Persuasive. I’ve ignored his calls, cancelled dates at the last minute and generally refused to speak to him, and still. He talks me into it again.

“I’m in a different place now,” he says.

And I have to wonder, before my hopes get too high, if that place has a room with a view.