The longer days and warm(ing) spring weather has prompted my blood to quicken like tree-sap on a hot day. The call of the wild has been urging me to leave my hibernating nest...
Yep, it seems I've contracted a case of spring fever!
Last night I had plans to go to the annual pink party, an event my friend Greg throws to celebrate his birthday. Many years, his parties have a theme... Two years ago was a pink prom, four years ago it was a pink roller skating party (I broke my wrist at this event. No joke. Two surgeries later and my right wrist and hand still don't work as they used to!) This year there wasn't a theme, just a couple of bands, a slew of DJs, and hundreds of party-goers, all wearing pink, of course.
I threw on a hot pink t-shirt I printed a few days ago (as I foray into screenprinting, this will probably happen more and more often), the shortest short-shorts imaginable (actually, they were pink tights that I cut off into shorts... completely inappropriate and totally fun), and went to the party with a couple of good friends (one of whom I adore... once upon a time, we dated, although now we maintain a healthy friendship). I envisioned a night filled with flirting, dancing, and, hopefully, I thought, it would be topped off by making out with a cute man off in some dark corner.
I'll write about the party details momentarily, but first, let's talk about how it was to wake up this morning, after the pink party...
After waking to a throbbing head (oh, sweet reader, get your mind out of the gutter), I donned my favorite pair of paint-laden overhauls and got to work painting one of the bedrooms in my loft apartment (you can see from the 'before' pictures above that there had been some water damage to the room). I definitely wasn't in the mood for this, but I have a new roommate moving in, and the room was in desperate need of a painting job. So, hangover aside, I got to work.
The many hours I spent painting gave me time to privately mull over not only the party details from the night before, but about all of the memories I have of living in my loft. (I swear these two seemingly disparate thoughts will eventually intersect)
I moved into my huge loft five or six years ago (I can't seem to keep track of how long it's been) with Anevay, my ex-boyfriend (not Anevay's father), and a whole lotta dreams. My kid was perfect, I was madly in love with my boyfriend, and I would soon be graduating from an Ivy League school. It appeared that my life was in order... I believed that I would graduate, find a job in the arts, eventually marry my boyfriend, and live happily ever after.
But sometimes things don't go as planned, do they?
And here's where I provide a few details about the pink party...
Last night, I ran into the ex at the pink party (not as big surprise, as the birthday boy is his best friend). We chatted, even danced. All of it was innocent, and, I must say, it was nice after all of this time to just hang out as friends (I use the word 'friend' here for lack of a better word). It was nice to have things seem so normal.
Unfortunately, my ex tried taking things to another level. "Wanna go make-out?" he said, his come-hither brown eyes a-flutter. I was utterly shocked.
A little background...
For about a year after the break-up, whenever I saw my ex out and about, we inevitably ended up in some bar bathroom making out, or even back at my place. I didn't seem to have it in me to say no, not even after he started seeing someone else. I guess a little part of me was still hopeful that we would get back together. This little illusion was shattered after my ex, in conversation the morning after a night we spent together, called me by the name of his current girlfriend. At that point I decided never to be with him again (in the biblical sense)... Not only was it too painful, but he had a girlfriend (or so it would seem). I felt a little guilty. In the back of my mind I had rationalized sleeping with him by thinking of his girlfriend as the one who was tearing my ex away from me. But that really wasn't the case.
Last night, after my ex asked me if I wanted to make out, I went with him into a private room, where we stood, facing each other. It would have been really easy to not only make out, but to sleep with him. Instead, I stood up straight and said, "I can't do this. I won't do this. It would only make me feel bad."
No, we didn't make out. To be honest, I had absolutely no desire. We did, however, talk. I told him how long it had taken for me to be OK after the break-up, and how angry I had been. I asked him if he was happy with his girlfriend. He said that he was, and also that being with her "was easy."
I suppose being with me is not very easy. I have an extremely strong personality, become impassioned by many things, am incredibly driven, have wicked PMS (which also drives me to create great art and write some of my best work), and, on top of it, have my daughter (with all that entails- good and bad!).
But I realized something last night...
I am pretty fabulous. My enthusiasm for life is boundless. My kid is amazing.
As I looked at my ex, I realized that my attraction for him had waned. The spell was completely broken. I no longer wanted him, and though I think he's wonderful, I could see all of the ways that he wasn't enough for me!! Besides, a guy willing to cheat on his girlfriend isn't very attractive... At least, not in my eyes. And the lack of consideration for me- for how I might have felt had we gone and 'made-out', made me realize that although I might be a 'liberated' woman, I have a system of ethics that I want the people in my life to adhere to...
It was liberating, truly. For although I haven't been in love with the ex for a long time, there was still a little part of me that was made sad by the memory of us having been together...
But not any more!
After our talk, I went home. It was late (or early in the morning, depending on how you look at such things). I had spent the night dancing, flirting (with oh so many beautiful men), and just generally cavorting. It had been so much fun. No, I hadn't made out with a cute boy. My spring fever had propelled me into a new direction...
My fever made me want to get home to my beautiful daughter. To fall asleep, alone(!), in my bed. To wake up, paint the empty bedroom, do some spring cleaning, and start the week feeling fresh and new.
My 'fever' already has me thinking about how I want to spend next weekend with Anevay... I'm thinking that we ought to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden so that we can see all the green things starting to grow. Or perhaps we'll go to Coney Island, a strange, beautiful place at this time of year.
And so, this morning, when I finally rolled out of bed (thank you, sweet little Anevay, for letting me sleep in!!), I looked around my loft and felt extremely thankful for all that I have. Two amazing roommates, a stellar kid, and, with my unemployment insurance having been extended, many more months before I'm in total dire straights (currently my finances are miserable, but depending on your definition, they are not yet dire).
Today, while painting, it was impossible not to remember what the loft was like before the rooms were built. I thought about my ex. About what it had been like when we lived together (in the beginning, not at the end). I'll admit that I felt a little tug at my heart, but it passed quickly.
Amazing people have come to live with me. Mostly foreigners, from whom Anevay has picked up smatterings of other languages. I thought about my ex-roommate, Viola, and how she listened to me get excited over certain men I've dated, and ultimately, broken up with. I thought about all the brunches and lunches and movies with our ex-German roommates, about all the great things we've been up to lately with our South African roommate (thanks, Clare, for being so great!), and how much richer our lives have become.
As I painted, I could hear Clare making bread in the kitchen. I listened to her sweet little interactions with Anevay, and I felt lucky that I get to live with such a kind and thoughtful person. I wondered about how Alberto, who is just moving in, would contribute to our little household. How exciting, all of it!
No, I'm not living with a partner... But over the last couple of years, my world has certainly opened up a bit...
Yes, I have spring fever... Undeniably, I feel the call of nature, the warm weather luring me outside. But this year, my fever doesn't seem to have me going boy crazy as it has in the past... In just one night, I seem to have lost all desire (for now) for empty make-out sessions.
In fact, I feel solid. True. I imagine myself as a spring plant, sending off new shoots in every which direction.
It would seem as though the pink party gave me a new outlook on life... certainly I am now looking through rose-colored glasses!!
Oh, how good to be alive.
Before I get to work finishing painting (I have yet to paint the ceiling), I leave you with the first line of Walk Whitman's 'Song of Myself':
I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to
Happy Spring, all my lovelies! I'll soon be posting a few pictures from the Pink Party... Seeing me in my pink outfit will probably provoke a little laughter!
I am Melissa Banigan. I've been many things under the sun, but am currently a single mom raising an amazing kid in Brooklyn, writing novels and short stories, and working on some art (canvases and paper). I also, under the moniker melifera, produce off-the-cusp embroidered clothing and bags.