Having a One-Year Stand

You can be with someone for an entire year and have it feel like a one-night stand. For 365 days, you can watch the sun rise while lying in bed with someone and want to slip out the door every time. You’d write them a note saying, “Had fun!” or maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d just run like hell.

It’s hard to understand why our feelings can be so ephemeral and betray us so often. You’d like to think you could love a certain someone just because they’re nice and cook you spaghetti and play the right Miles Davis song when you’re ready to have sex, but it’s never that simple. You know this now, but you didn’t know it then.

You’ll meet this person at a party, on the street, through a friend when you’ll be starving for affection. It’s been awhile since you’ve been shown any love, since you’ve been fed, and this person will seem right for the job. Fine. You’re hired. Love me.

In the beginning, everything about them will excite you. Their opinions on Woody Allen (GIVE ME MORE!), their upbringing, their aspirations: it will all be riveting. Study them like an archaeologist would study bones. Look through their history, look for cracks, look to see if they have a problem you aren’t willing to inherit.

Spend the entire weekend together and experience 48 hours of important lovely moments. You’re in your sheets intertwined and losing track of time, going out for a late dinner and maybe getting drunk off beer. You feel alive for the entire weekend. Everything you were doing before this? You were dead.

You sleep together quickly because everyone rushes into bed these days. You like what you see, feel, hear, and you like the idea of their body belonging to yours indefinitely. Yes! You’ll take it. Give me that body, babe.

Two months go by. You go to work, you go to your lover, and you go to dinner with your friends to talk about your lover. “It just feels nice to have somebody, you know? Whatever we have, it’s normal. It’s refreshing.” Say these words over and over even if you don’t know what they exactly mean. Your friend will nod and be happy for you and then there’ll be a pregnant pause, and you’ll have to say, “Enough about me! How’s working at the eating disorder unit at Beth Israel?!” This will be the natural flow of things. This is your life now. These are your dinners, these are your friends. This is it.

After five months, your relationship hit its apex at a noodle bar on Carmine and Bleecker on a Saturday afternoon. Across from you and your significant other, there was a woman by herself reading a book and gingerly eating her soup. She looked sad and frumpy and it made you clutch your lover’s hand that much tighter. You never felt more safe being in a relationship and vowed to never go back to dining at noodle bars alone or going grocery shopping to buy two cups of yogurt, three bananas, noodles and tomato sauce. Actually, you’re not sure if you ever did those things. You always eat out with your friends and you use FreshDirect for your groceries. Whatever. The point is that you never felt more secure in being with someone than you did that day.

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Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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