He loved the Oriental Rugs in the elevator.
He thought the bathrobes were decadent, and I had to agree.
He became accustomed to staying there when he was in town, which, looking back, wasn’t as often as I liked to think.
Whether I wanted to or not, the lobby, the bar, the interior always reminded me of him, and it made me a bit melancholy.
Yet things have changed, and two years later almost to the day, I found myself there with somebody else, dining in the familiar dining room, again paying an ostentatious amount for a drink. Tangible evidence that in even a short time, things can change dramatically.
We live in the reality of today, of the moment, and while we have our hopes & dreams, we live in the present and ignore the fact that one day you may find yourself in the same situation with someone new, may find yourself repeating the same actions but nothing is actually the same. How can we envision our future other than what we know, or at least envision it with somebody new?
We’re optimists, or at least we try to be. When things are going well, when we can’t get that silly little smile off our face, giddily wasting the day with daydreams and imagining the next time you get to see him, we think that it will always be like this. It’s this very romanticism of new love that sends some of us to the alter long before we’re ready, then sending us to the divorce lawyer in shame when we thought we had found everything we wanted.
I know my present, but I remember my past. I remember late night phone calls, I remember a sweet, unique sentiment around valentine’s day, and yet I remember the worried inquiries from my friends who tried, without avail, to dissuade me from what was quickly becoming a bad situation. I remember my assurances in return, that somehow it was my fault that he treated me that way, that somehow it was okay for him to take me for granted. I remember trying again, looking for the best when I was seeing anything but.
He wanted to know a criticism that I had towards him; these conversations were frequent and at the time, I marveled in how mature we were to be able to talk about our faults with each other, figuring that we were doing it to avoid making the same mistakes. I told him that I was not so worried about him being immature, but that I was scared because I couldn’t see an end in sight to his immaturity. Without realizing it at the time, I was able to imagine my future, and instead of inherently figuring that he would be a part of it, I was afraid that he wasn’t prepared to be.
Most days it doesn’t bother me, doesn’t occur to me to think about him. Most days I am not even resentful, not angry at him even despite his cowardace and disappearance. I’m glad I know better, glad I have gone through it because I know that I’ll never make that mistake again. And then something small – a random appearance in a dream, an oriental rug in an elevator, makes me remember, and for once in my life, I’m glad I remember both the good times AND the bad.
And yet years later, with new people and new experiences and new likes and new loves, I still find myself remembering him when I step foot in the Ritz, even when it’s with somebody new.