I’ve been in New York for almost a week now, and I have to say, one of the most remarkable aspects of visiting the place I called home for twenty-five years is the way time has become fluid, taking on different forms depending on the container. I’m feeling it differently than on previous visits. But then, the longer I’m away, the more happens, as is entirely natural, and the more that happens in everyone’s lives, the further away we feel from each other, and my relationships are forced to comprehend the time apart as an emotional as well as a physical distance. Or not, depending on the kind of relationship in question.
For my three year-old Maltese, who has spent the last six months living with my parents, time seems at once weighty and meaningless. Dogs have no sense of time, I’m told, and for Baxter this appears to be true. After an initial frenzied greeting, he soon settled into a calm recognition of the role I play in his life– despite the fact that I was out of it for a sixth of it. But that first greeting was shot through with, or at least it seemed to me, a very powerful and insistent sense of a long separation.
With my friend from adolescence, who moved to LA not long before I moved to Paris, time was utterly elastic. A year had elapsed since we’d seen each other last, and so much had happened since, but all that living fit comfortably into our relationship. We live so far apart, and when I see her even after a year it doesn’t feel like she’s been far away.
Of course the same is true with my immediate family, but there is a stronger sense of distance when in the time since I last saw her my sister has fallen in love and is now five months deep in a not-so-new relationship with a boy from work. I met him for drinks the other night and he’s perfect for her.
As for my vie intime… as I mentioned casually in my last posting, N and I are back together. And while before the breakup, I couldn’t bear to be away from him for more than a week, now that I’ve contemplated the rest of my life without him, somehow eleven days seems much more feasible. I’ll be back in Paris next Friday, and I can certainly be patient until then.
But this new experience of time… is worth thinking about. Stay tuned for part II, in which Maitresse realizes she’s
two three years behind [ok, she never really got it to begin with] in her understanding of American politics and pop culture, and
that life is too short to read Erica Jong.