john took me to church

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a fleeting romantic adventure in New York city.

Submitted: June 14, 2017

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Submitted: June 14, 2017

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John 13:7; Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

 

I’ve always thought that if love had a smell it would be cinnamon, and that was the scent of a late April afternoon that a skinny Queens boy asked me on a date, I accepted. His name was John. 

We met at a restaurant in DUMBO and I had loved the way he stood up, with a smile on his face when he saw me come in, and offered me his stool. We chatted about TV shows, work and music over too many margaritas until we got kicked out after last call. 

We went for a walk as he held my hand, and stopped at the edge of the East River over looking the New York City skyline.

As we kept exploring the streets with the shy energy of a first date, we found a group of people celebrating a couple’s 40th wedding anniversary. They had a limo, music, and their camera on the sidewalk. They asked us if we were married and taught us their dance moves. 

 

John’s blue eyes lit up until closing time at some random bar we found after a quick cab ride. Wondering where to go to be served drinks at 5AM, a kind stranger on the street suggested a bar with a red door in China Town.
On the way there, we found a tree of white lilies. John picked some out and placed them in my hair.

The mysterious bar with the red door was closed, but after being directed to a Chinese restaurant that had nothing but Chinese beer, we sat down on a stranger’s staircase for a rest. There I found a red rose and gave it to John, he wore it for the rest of the night. 

 

Post beer and fried chicken, we still couldn't have enough of each other. 

At some point, John lost the rose I gave him and went back two blocks to find it, he bestowed such care and caution of this rose. Every so often he would take it out of his shirt pocket and stare at it and smile, it was his, just as this night was ours.
We had coffee and raced down the streets in China Town while the sun came out on Sunday morning. 

 

Growing up a catholic girl in the Dominican Republic, religion, and all the questions that can arise with it, may result a bit overwhelming at times. No doubts rose when we took a cab to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for 9AM mass. As we sat down at the very back of the church, while hearing people’s silent and hopeful prayers, saints, virgins, and lit candleslooking down at me from the walls, I felt peaceful but confused, and I don't know if those are opposite emotions. We all need to believe in something, in this moment, I believed in John and I would have gone anywhere with him.

 

 

Eighty floors over gorgeous Manhattan, we held hands, exhausted but happy.
If you could live in a moment, this would be it. The air was cold but the sun shine was hot over our backs. John’s eyes in the sunlight were the most pallid blue I’ve ever seen.
Having eggs and mimosas at Rockefeller center, I admitted how surprised I was we were still out, it was about eleven AM by then.
I felt like I had known him forever or perhaps it was the lack of sleep and all the alcohol. Nonetheless, we had been running around the city for about twelve hours straight.

 

Following breakfast, we walked around in silence, feeding off each-other’s auras. We were both drunk and hungover at the same time, tired and half in love already.
We walked in an Irish pub because that’s what you do when you need booze at noon. We had more vodka, and watched a baseball game. I’ve never been one to care much about sports, but I listened fascinated as he, with his arm around my shoulders, patiently explained to me who his favorite players were. 

 

Subsequent tothe game being over, we resumed to a silent walk. It was about five or six PM now. At a point in our walk, he admitted to being tired, and that I had won. I told him it wasn’t a competition. 

Ever the gentleman, we took a cab to drop me off at my place. He feel asleep to my left on the ride as we he held hands. 

At arrival I offered to cook him something, chicken and rice, the one meal I can cook. I had never cooked for a man before. I felt nervous as I stumbled with the salt and the oil in my much inebriated state.

Stomachs full, we proceeded to watch a movie, but we fell asleep as we hadn't slept in about twenty-four hours at this point. He moved around a lot while sleeping, and I’m a very light sleeper, every time he moved I would wake up and find his face on my pillow. 

 

We both woke at about three AM, restless and too fascinated with each other to resume to rest. We played Never Have I Ever and discussed celebrities while pondering if we should go out again for more adventures. Before we could decide I fell asleep, and the next time I woke it was by John’s shaking hands on my arms to tell me he had to go to work, it was Monday morning. I held him tight and pleaded, in vain, for him not to leave.

 

Saint John the Apostle is said to have been the last apostle standing, loyal and strong.

I have been stood up before, and it’s never pleasant, but there was something about him standing me up, a week later, that stayed with me. It was betrayal at it’s purest form. In that moment I could feel the horrible pain of anticipation of loneliness that was visiting me like an old friend with due bills. 

I don't know which is worse; being disappointed by someone you knew had it in them, and thus blaming yourself, or being disappointed and never have seen it coming. Maybe that’s why it felt so cold, it came out of no where and it made no sense at all. One might argue that he was careless, as we know men can be, and maybe it’s naive of me to wonder at all.

 

I think burning describes well what went wrong, because it wasn't a slow descent like drowning would be. I didn't see it coming and it spread quickly and silently like a wild fire over my bed. All my lovers come in waves of ecstasy, grief and regret. 

Your mind can play tricks on you when passion has no notion of time, but I myself shouldn’t have been so careless with my own heart.
I’ve heard it’s a bad idea to make a home out of person and maybe those nights were meant to happen only once, but I wish he would have been as resilient and committed as he proved in those nights that he could be, like the commitment and the resilience we can abide in our religious beliefs, or in our lack in them.

In the end, I believe I kept the rose I gave him, which is ironic. That rose sat, until it dried up and rotted, in my bed-side table just were he left it, until there was nothing left to do but to throw it away, what a waste. Resentment can be a wonderful thing when it is used as a defense mechanism.

 

Perhaps we can find many soulmates along the trail of life that teach us that hope comes in different forms. Some times it presents itself like a bomb dropped from the sky, some times it is built over time, through multiple falls and new-found strength, and some times it comes disguised as a boy with blue eyes and a crooked smile. What if soulmates aren't really meant to stick around? What are we left with then? 

Feeling broken hearted never really ends, as I find myself writing this a few heart breaks later. I’ve learned that seeking love, trusting beginnings and hoping for the best are part of having a healthy heart, because when you don’t, that’s when you should worry.

 

For a little while, John felt like a memory of the future, like present tense nostalgia. It was like trying to look at the universe through a straw. Ask yourself, John, why did you cheat yourself off more nights with me?

 

The complexity of permanence may be innate, but I’ve never been happier than by appreciating and being grateful for the beauty of the adventures that I cant grasp. Those rays of sunlight might be universe's way of telling us fulfillment is attainable. 

We never know when is the last time we’re going to see someone. As I have learned to accept, the healthiest thing to do some times, is simply to enjoy, and this is a way of living in the moment. Making memories worth remembering is my gift to my future self. 

 

Remember me, John.


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