He stood facing me in the street, about 3 feet away with his hands in his pockets. I knew he wasn’t going to come home with me even though I lived across the street. To say I was disappointed was an understatement—I really wanted to get laid, although the last time I tried to fuck him was somewhat… unsuccessful.
I gripped the tin-foiled Roberta’s leftover pizza in my hand as I contemplated how handsome he looked standing there. I wondered if maybe he wasn’t just a little bit gay.
“Are you sure you don’t want the rest of the pizza?” I asked awkwardly, trying to make some sort of conversation—any conversation—to keep him around.
“Nah, nah you take it,” he shifted awkwardly, “I should go.” His disdain for Brooklyn—and his disinterest in me—was painfully apparent.
As he turned away so did I, and with my back to him, tears started falling from my cheeks to the pavement. I thought about the way his mouth curled upwards at the corners, even when he wasn’t smiling. I thought about how much his mouth reminded my of my ex-boyfriend’s mouth. The love of my life’s mouth.
When I got home I threw myself across my bed, pizza still in hand. I continued to cry, louder now, and reveled momentarily in my hideous self-indulgence. It wasn’t because he didn’t want me—I didn’t want him either, not really. We were an ill-fitting pair at the best of times, me always running and him so still.
I fell asleep to the sound of my own sniveling. In my wrought sleep I dreamed vividly of a man I used to love. I dreamed of him getting married, of my total, gut-wrenching heartache; I woke up feeling exhausted, used up physically and emotionally. I ate the pizza that was still in my hand and felt more dejected by this subconscious chain of events than by any actual event that had occurred.
I passed the rest of the day feeling heartbroken and empty, but it wasn’t until mid afternoon that I realized exactly why I had this feeling. It was because I wasn’t over my ex-boyfriend. The one I had left in London almost 2 years ago.
That’s not to say I was still in love with him—it had been a long time, I didn’t even know who he was anymore—but I was still desperately in love with our relationship and what we had shared in our time together. And there it was—that awkward moment when I realized it had been almost 2 years and I still wasn’t over my ex.
Every guy since—even that guy who wouldn’t sleep with me the night before—was a reflection of the original. I chose men that in some way reminded me of him—from green eyes that were sometimes grey to the curl in a lip or a non-nonsense matter-of-fact attitude and dry Englishness. The worst part was that I was constantly projecting him on to other men, and finding myself completely disappointed when the hologram I’d superimposed on them flickered and a stranger appeared from underneath. I never liked those strangers.
I don’t really know what to do with this revelation. It’s like having a great sandwich at the deli—the best sandwich you’ve ever had, probably. And when you go back to have it again, it’s not the same; the taste is different and the ingredients aren’t as good. You just want that first sandwich again, and you wish the guy behind the counter could just make it exactly the same, but it’s a different guy, and he has a different way of making sandwiches.
What I do know is that I have to stop analogizing men to food. I also know that if men really were food, love would be much easier, and far more delicious.