Friday, January 30, 2009

Opening The Vault: Part Twenty Four

When it comes to Shakespeare’s observation about the course of true love not running smoothly, I can’t help wondering if The Bard had long-distance relationships in mind. My bicoastal romance with California native Mark (a.k.a Sparky) hit more than a few bumps along the way – especially on my third visit to L.A.

Already challenged by the 16-year and geographical distance between us, I faced the added stress during this particular encounter of lying to my parents about it. A sudden earthquake that weekend added to the unfolding drama. I now Open The Vault and take you back to December of 1994…

New York, NY
December 6th, 1994

Dear Diary,

Yesterday, after going to see “The Santa Clause,” we both agreed that it had been a disappointment. We were unable to agree, though, about what to do for dinner.

The tension between Sparky and I escalated during this silly movie when I suggested we walk out

It was around 8 already and we had to be up early the next morning [because of my flight]. And I had no desire to sit in a restaurant with him in silence, which is probably what would have happened given the tensions between us.

While we were in the car, Mark said randomly--

“All it would take is one phone call to [your parents] and you could stay here for 40 or 50 years.”

Though I melted at this, I was unable to appreciate the sentiment without getting mired in the implications behind it. Mark became annoyed and another protracted silence ensued.

Later, we were standing in Mark’s living room when all of a sudden, the house started shaking. Mark guided us into the wall jamb and supported me with his arms as he said--

“Hold on Baby!”

The quake measured 4.5 on the Richter scale. Though it only lasted for about a minute, I literally felt the impact go right through me. I understood why when Mark pointed to a flashing red signal on TV showing the epicenter that had caused the quake.

“That’s about a block from here,” he informed me.

Taking my hand, he led me around the house and we examined the damage -- cracks in the walls, the lid on his aquarium precariously shifted, dishes on the floor.

Not surprisingly, the quake’s impact eventually affected Mark’s mood. There I was laying on the couch while he chose to sit on the floor in front of the TV.
How could he be so distant and act like I wasn’t even in the room?

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I put aside my pride and slid down next to him. He didn’t budge -- no embrace, nothing.

I had a miserable look on my face as we were heading upstairs to bed. Mark got angry and I took his hand in an attempt to open up the lines of communication. He pulled away and went into his room. And that’s when the growing conflict between us really began to erupt.

* * *

The argument that followed would make me question whether my relationship with Mark was worth continuing – and force me to realize he was having the same doubts himself.

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