Well, well,well, will wonders never cease?
Ok. So, here I am in Baltimore. Who knew just a few months ago that I’d leave New York and move back to the only city that I could possibly love more. Me! The adamant New Yorker.
See , here’s the thing. In New York, I was working with many different performing artists and companies, helping them to get their shows off the gr0und. Often I was doing this for no money, or a small stipend. If I was going to walk away wth more than $300 for the entire project that was a huge deal! In Baltimore, (ok, College Park) I do the same work (actually less – don’t tell anyone that) and get a full salary, benefits, and the opportunity to work with amazing artists (I’ve already got Patti LuPone and Bill T. Jones on my work schedule.)
In New York, I lived in amazing Astoria, easily one of the best neighborhoods in the entire city. And I lived in a house, with outdoor patio, lots of privacy, and the cutest little dog ever. Oh, and three other people. At 32, I couldn’t see any way to live in my own place, not only in the near future, but ever. It’s just so expensive, and I loved my “work” too much to give it up for something more lucrative. In Baltimore, I have my own apartment. And it’s huge. In an awesome downtown part of town. I live within walking distance of the downtown stuff, Inner Harbor, Aquarium, all that. The city sailing club is just up the street. Living alone is a dream come true, that I never ever thought would happen for me. (I do miss my dog and my sister, though.)
While I was in Maine, it became very clear to me that I needed to make some changes. My heart was aching, my psyche was in terrible condition, I felt helpless and lonely. So I made a list of the things I wanted in my life. I went whole hog. What did I want in a job, what did I want in my life recreationally, what sort of location did I want to live in, etc. I sat at the kitchen table at Dunlap (oh, Dunlap, my love…) one morning, stared at the Stonington harbor and started looking for a job.
The very first job I found was for an event coordinator at the University of Maryland’s performing arts center. It fit all of my criteria, so I began working on an application. It ended up being the only job I applied for. A little over a month later, I got the offer. A week after that, I got a raise.
The job was followed quickly by the first apartment we looked at, the first car we looked at. Everything fell into place so neatly. I was able to wrap up my last two shows in New York just in time for the move. It was perfect.
I have missed my friends. Alot. Making my mind understand that it’s not in NYC anymore will take some time. I was feeling especialy lonely last week, and was able to meet up with someone I knew from home, who introduced me to a bunch of fantastic locals. I also talked to Paul, my best friend in New York, who decided to come down for a few days last weekend.
And then, I found the catch. Nothing comes without a price, right?
Paul and I walked up to Harbor Place for dinner. Phillips has always been one of my favorite restaurants, so we decided to go there. We sat down and waited (a while) for our waiter. When someone did finally come over, I wasn’t really paying attention, but I heard an overly familiar “Hey!” looked up and realized it was Aaron.
Aaron, who destroyed me for years. Aaron who hurt me in ways no human being should ever do to another. Aaron who’s life was threatened by my roommate if he didn’t move as far away from me as possible, and never came back. Aaron, who I believed was safely tucked far away in LA, trying to be an actor. That’s who my server was. At Phillips. In Baltimore. On. My. Street.
I stopped breathing.
I started shaking.
Paul, who I remembered had never actually met Aaron, had no idea what was happening. Aaron excused himself, and I turned to Paul and told him we had to leave. It wasn’t until we got out of the restaurant that I was able to say “that was Aaron.”
Paul, was there for me, with me, when the shit of my relationship with Aaron hit the fan. He was there to start to clean-up the mess. I was severely damaged for a long time. Paul offered the first signs of hope that I would make it through with minimal scars. I have friends (particularly guy friends) who don’t understand my relationship with Paul. It stems from this. Paul will always be extremely important to me, no matter who I’m dating, and this is why.
I’m so so so lucky it was Paul with me when I discovered Aaron.
He knew just what to do. We walked away. He led me, let me deal physically, figure out how to breathe. We went to another restaurant, he even did a shot of whiskey with me (he doesn’t drink colored liquor). And then he was there for the next two days.
Paul said something to me in the midst of all of this that sticks with me. He said that I was the strongest person he knew.
I am so much stronger and different then I was just four years ago. The woman am now wouldn’t have gone through what Aaron put me through. She would have struck back and found a way to be selfish and proud. She wouldn’t have lost three years of her life.
So, today, I walked up to Harbor Place, just to see how it made me feel. I felt nothing. I didn’t feel anxious or afraid. No tightness in the chest. Nothing.
I will be fine. I know now. Maybe this is why he’s here. I needed to know that I don’t need to fear him anymore. I’m free. If I come across him in a social situation I may still punch him in his ugly face, but I don’t need to be afraid of him and his tiny soul.
Moving to Baltimore may have been the best thing I’ve ever done.