” The moment we want to believe something we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” George Bernard Shaw
Destiny Part Three; Blind or Blind-sided
Months had passed since I’d last seen Tony, when he contacted me on the Sunday before Memorial day with a lunch invitation. Happy to hear from him, I dropped what I was doing and headed over to his apartment in uptown. Within the hour we were headed to our favorite Greek restaurant in the suburbs. During lunch we caught up on what had been going on in each others lives. It sounded like he was doing well, shooting concert photography for an online site with the new camera he bought. On the drive back to the city the usual topic came up; getting back together. It had been three years since we broke up. We have had this discussion many times but failed to come to an agreement on how to fix what went wrong between us. We were still friends though; actually he was one of my closest friends. The conversation always went the same; I’d say let’s go on a few dates and see if we can get along and his response was always let’s just book a trip and travel like we used to!
But this time his tone was a bit more serious; “Things were so amazing between us, all the places we went, the things we did, you have to admit we had such good times. It has never been the same alone or with anyone else. We are so good together, both photographers, both Italian, same interests…”
Hey remember that time in Vietnam, that we spend an entire night taking pictures of that bridge on the lake and we forgot to even eat? Most of the restaurants were closed by the time we remembered!
“Hoan Kim Lake!” I said excitedly, “that was so much fun. remember, I wanted you to return my food because it was cold and the waitress yelled at you in Vietnamese! Sorry but that was funny!”
“Oh yeah.. good times” he added sarcastically.
“Well…yeah the best of times and the worst, like when you went crazy in Venice and I had to follow you around St. Marks on New Year’s? I’m sure you didn’t forget that one.”
Cutting me off he said; “Can we stop talking about the past? How many times do I have to apologize? I keep trying here “.
No argument, no excuses, this time was different; “I love you, maybe I just wasn’t ready to try in the past but I am now, and you are the only person I want to be with. I think of you a lot and it is hard to find what we had with anyone else.”
Expecting my typical skepticism; “You are really going to regret this one day, taking what we had for granted, it is not that easy to find you’ll see.” A warning I did not take seriously at the time.
“Ok, Tony, you’re right we are good together, maybe we should try again.”
“Perfect Asia is it – we haven’t been to China yet or…”
I had to stop him. Tell him. I had just booked a trip to India with my friend that I could not cancel-It was in two months. “I can’t go to China until next year at least, I am going to India in two months”.
Silence filled the car for the rest of the ride back. He always hated when I went on trips without him.
Once back at his place, he invited me in to look at some photos he took when he was in India. I couldn’t help but notice the art that filled the walls of his one-bedroom apartment, every single piece representing that amazing trip we bought it on. The 6 foot-long painting of the Buddha from Thailand’s Chatachuck market that hung above his bed, the classical Greek vase from Athens that he spent hours negotiating price with the shopkeeper, the collection of venetian masks from a famous mask maker in Venice, and the painting one-talented elephant named Sula, made for us in Chiang Mai. Memories quickly came flooding back… both good and bad. It was fear that prevented me from getting back with him. So many times I fell for this tactic; he would pour on the charm, pay a lot of attention to me, suggest an exotic destination and I was hooked. Except that once we booked the trip, like clockwork within about a month the relationship would fall apart and we’d have five difficult months to force ourselves to get along until we left.
After a little while, the conversation began to unravel. Hoped for plans failed to fall so easily into place with news of my India trip, we started to argue about everything; dating, past arguments, not hanging out anymore. I decided it might be best to go, while we were still on somewhat good terms. It was important that we end this on a good note if we were ever going to try to work this out.
“We can still get back together-I just can’t book anything until after India”, I said half-heartedly. But I could see my offer was met with disappointment. “That is a long time away”, he said, with his head down, “I was hoping we could plan a trip for this fall”. I sat next to him and kissed him on the cheek and awkwardly hugged him. A strong sense of uneasiness filled the pit of my stomach, as I got up and turned down the dimly lit hallway towards the door. I looked back at him for a moment; there he sat in his back leather couch, flipping through photos on his camera, I wished he would have stopped me from leaving, jumped up and said don’t go, but he did not look up. I wanted to tell him I loved him too and that we would work this out. But I didn’t.
We will have another chance to work this out, we always do; I shut the door quietly behind me and left.
Unfortunately, there was not that one last chance. This was the last time I ever saw Tony.
Next…Athens; Chasing Shadows.