Sunday, May 24, 2009

Opening The Vault: Part Thirty Seven

Once you’ve endured the drama of a long-distance relationship, it makes finding love of the local variety even sweeter. So it was when I began dating 36-year-old Brooklyn native Larry.

Larry and I met while I was temping at the Thomson Financial subsidiary where he worked. After my summer stint ended, I took the initiative to ask him out -- prompted largely by weeks of playful flirting between us.

Valentine’s Day Surprise: A dozen roses from Larry, February 1996

Like my California-based ex, Mark, Larry was sixteen years older than me and divorced. Tall, brooding and brilliant, Larry captivated me with his intellect and touched me with his tenderness.

A complicated man whose gruff exterior belied a hopeless romantic streak, Larry treated every date like our first -- and treated our age difference as an asset rather than a liability.

Still, our relationship was not without its complications, some of which stemmed from the major professional exam looming before him -- and the revelation that he still occasionally used recreational drugs. I now Open The Vault to Volume #63 and take you back to the spring of 1996...

April 28th, 1996
New York, NY

Dear Diary,

Larry and I shared a blissful reunion when I returned from my business trip to Chicago. I was glowing the next morning (as I usually do after our encounters).

But I can’t deny my anxiety about his drug use. Granted, he’s kept his promise to keep it away from me, but that doesn’t make it any less frightening.

He first told me back in February of his long history with recreational drugs. I remember going to the bathroom and thinking I would have nothing more to do with him.

But then, as it often happens with us, I became engrossed in our conversation -- and overwhelmed by the passion between us.

* * *

May 6th, 1996

Last night, we went for a walk along the river and addressed the drug issue. I told Larry it’s going to take time for me to deal with what he told me.

As he spoke of the future, and how spending more time together this summer would prove I can trust him, I wondered whether I wanted things between us to progress that far. He said he felt tainted.

“You’re one of the best things that’s happened to me this year,” Larry declared. “And I don’t want to lose something good because of something bad and because I was honest.”

“You once told me that I had reawakened feelings in you that you haven’t had in a long time,” I reminded him.

“You have,” he said firmly.

“Well, you’ve done the same for me,” I said.

And he really has. Larry has made me feel things that, in the aftermath of breaking up with Sparky, I thought I would be numb to for a very long time. That being said, I’ve decided to wait a month before letting him go. There’s no point in hurting him before his exam.

* * *

Though Larry assured me his drug use was waning, it took time for me to believe him. Just as our relationship was getting back on an even keel, another unexpected development conspired to pull us apart.

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