August 6th 2013
Story originally written and experienced: April 8th 2012
= = = I was walking rather quickly. = = =
Down the cobblestone streets of SOHO New York.
I heard a buzz in my pocket revealing a message that said this:
“Hey Olive, are you free? Can you meet up tonight?”
– Leah 5: 43 p.m.
Truth be told I was a little tired. And truth be told again:
I didn’t really care.
So I told her
And she said yes.
And to meet her on the corner of
She just really wanted to take a walk. And…it would be nice if I could be there too.
Moments later I was on the nearest train and instantaneously on my way >>>
20 minutes later I met her on the predetermined corner.
And she looked really happy. And she looked really great. And we started our journey in the west village.
Using chocolate shops
As an excuse to elongate the journey and postpone the conversation I felt she might want to have.
And after a few desserts and momentary episodes of people watching, we found ourselves coasting along the quaint roads of the Chelsea neighborhood, immersed in conversation and oblivious to the fact we had somehow traveled over 50 blocks and were now
Walking along the Hudson River
Carrying our conversation from sunset
To sun fall
Eventually stopping to take in the view. Resting our belongings against the riverside railings. And having a conversation that went like this:
“So how have you been since everything, Leah? Since the last time we really talked about it I mean.”
She took a deep breath. Tucked her hair behind her ears and continued to look out into the water and said,
“I’m good! I’m really good.”
“Are you sure?”
“Good good. I’m happy to hear it.”
“I had sex with him again.”
“The new guy?”
“How was it?”
“It was pretty good…really good actually. “
“…Did you guys get weird?”
“And he was…sizable?”
“…Knew what he was doing?”
“Without a doubt.”
“Better than the first time?”
“Cool. Mental high-five because I’m too lazy to do the real thing.”
“Hey, thanks” she half laughed.
Olive…what do think of it?”
“Think of what?”
“The fact that I had sex with him. What do you think of it?”.
“I don’t really think anything of it. Why?”.
“I mean. I don’t love the kid. I like him well-enough.
He doesn’t really mean much to me….and I don’t think I mean so much to him. Do you think it’s weird? He’s the first person I’ve slept with since Neal. Since the break up I mean.”
“Do you think I’m a slut?”.
“Where is this coming from?’.
“So this morning after I got back from this guy’s house. My hairs a little messy. And my dress is a recycle from the night before. And I met up with some friends for brunch and I was telling them about my night over a basket of complimentary muffins. And at one point my friend interrupted me and said, “Leah, what are you doing? I mean. I respect you’re trying to get over your last relationship and I know that you’re all about “free-spirited decisions” these days but…you don’t have to have random sex with people to do it.”
And all I kept thinking was.
“I guess I really don’t…but is it okay if I do?”
And I felt weird because.
I was so fine with it.
But I’m not so sure that they were.
So I wanted to know what you think.”.
“Well. I don’t think it really matters what I think. You kind of have the trump card in this situation.”
“Yeah l mean, if you were doing something that would destroy humanity, make your life spiral out of control, hurt others. or prevent me in any way from going to my neighborhood shake shack whenever I damn well pleased, then and only then would I step in and put that trump card in my back pocket. But this? This is all you.”
“Let me put it this way.
I knew this girl in college and her name was Catherine. And Catherine was a cute girl. And her body was beautifully average. And her hair was beautifully blonde. And Catherine had this boyfriend who treated her really well.
Until one day.
His friends told him at a party between games of beer pong that they thought Catherine wasn’t so cute. And her body wasn’t so great.
And that he could do better.
`Much. Much. Better.
So he dumped her.
And she became really sad. And she began to work out a lot. And eat very healthy. And it was all fine. And it was all well.
Everyone worried about her and thought that maybe she was losing her mind. Told her that she could get through this! And it wasn’t a big deal. But really it was just her own personal therapy. And her own personal goal. And a new-found happiness. And a new level of content. And suddenly? A few months later?
She was a complete bomb shell.
Became a certified work out instructor.
And realized that unlike her ex-boyfriend.
She had the capacity to be proud and unashamed of the things that she did.
On her terms.
And no one else’s.
And no one really said much after that,
Especially not him.
And then there was my friend Jonas. Who graduated with a business degree but decided he wanted to pursue music instead. Everyone told him he was out of his mind and that he should really be more responsible.
And he told me once that he didn’t necessarily think he would go very far with it.
He just liked to do it.
And he was okay with doing it.
At least for now.
And he couldn’t understand why people had such a problem with living life based on personal pleasures.
At least for a little while.
He wasn’t hurting anyone.
And it was all in good fun.
Made life a little more interesting.
And hell, maybe he’d even be a star.
It hurt him that his parents weren’t okay with his pursuit.
But then he realized.
It would hurt him even more if he didn’t at least try.
And then that thought made him happy.
And he kept going anyway.
Which was sort of the opposite of this girl I knew in high school named Lindsay. Everyone always labeled her as a bit boring. And a bit bland. Thought she didn’t drink enough and lived life with lackluster energy.
She never really went out.
And only because.
She had a handful of friends.
And mostly because.
She practiced a life that was deemed unoriginal and absent from adventure.
But the thing is.
Lindsay was perfectly happy. Perfectly fine with just one glass of Sprite. And incredibly satisfied with the company of her family and the companionship of a cat.
And strangely enough she was probably much happier than most.
Because she was doing exactly what she wanted to do.
And nothing else.
These days harmlessly stepping outside of moral codes or even living comfortably within them can be labeled as seemingly undesired and maybe even wrong.
That’s not the case at all.
Because in the end?
You’re the one who has to deal with successes and consequences of the things that you do. And the things that you don’t do.
And no one else.
And to always remember that:
Stepping out of the lines isn’t a crime
And neither is stepping back them.
But allowing others to compromise which way you step.
Really just might be.”
She told me that she had never really thought about it that way before. And if it was okay. She was going to keep doing what she was doing for a little while longer. Not forever, of course. But just because she could. And just because she wanted to . “I know I’ll get tired of it eventually.” she said. “And probably someday soon I won’t even like it anymore. But. Thanks for letting me like it in the meantime.”
And I told her as we picked uP our belongings that rest along the riverside railings and headed back towards the trains.
That the only person she really had to thank –