Friday, February 20, 2009

Renee is the sweetest person - she’s 100% USDA certified organic cane sugar sweet. She looks like a girl in an Urban Outfitters catalog, too. Neither of these reasons is exactly why we no longer talk. In fact, I don’t really know exactly why, except that we haven’t in so long that to do so again would be out of the ordinary. There’d be too much catching up to do, and someone would have to explain the lapse.I met Renee at this Harlem charter school where I used to work. We were both new teachers at the school with only one year of experience under our belts. In the early days of classroom arrangement and teacher orientation, it seemed like we’d be great friends. We liked the same music and shared the same views. The only difference was that Renee was hip in that easy, Cat Power-listening, “I feel so much more centered when I’m vegan,” lush long-haired kind of way. Meanwhile, I had stringy bobbed hair and a hankering for Taco Bell.We worked together for a year, drifting closer or farther in the tide of chaos, field trips, and paperwork. When she broke up with her live-in boyfriend, I was the first person she called. I was in my own floundering relationship at the time. We’d bonded before about guys - how funny and difficult they are, how we worried about our tendency to give them such central places in our lives. I hoped the experience meant we’d be closer friends, but everything pretty much remained the same.Post-breakup Renee was different, though. She said she wanted to go back to school to become a dance therapist. She started dating a hipster with sexual dysfunction. Every conversation was predicated on the fact that her life and goals were nebulous and unfulfilled. Though unintended, the message I took from them was: I am tragically hipper than thou.I quit teaching after that year, desperate to use my brain more than my vocal cords. Renee got a job at a school in her Lower East Side neighborhood. I broke up with my boyfriend after vacillating about it for months. Renee and I talked at least once a week. When we hung out, though, I was always distinctly aware that she was on a schedule and had plans following whatever we did. Some guy friend who had an awkward crush on her had asked her to a movie. Her sister was coming in for a concert. I felt like I was a pitstop on the way to a much cooler destination.The last time we were supposed to hang out, there was a sudden torrential downpour. I didn’t feel like schlepping around in galoshes, but before I could cancel, Renee bailed on me. She said her sister was in town and that they were going to hang out instead. This might be understandable if her sister was unexpectedly visiting from far away. But she lived in New Jersey and visited a few times a month! Why not also invite me, since we already had plans? This wasn’t the first time she’d done something like this, but it was the last.Renee’s voicemail said we should make plans for another time. I never called her back, and she didn’t call me back either. She was the Lower East Side; I was the Upper West. Perhaps we both knew it

5 comments:

N. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
N. said...

I've been reading these stories for a while now - but finally feel moved to comment. This story was a drifting relationship that still leaves me unsatisfied yet I can completely connect and understand it. Kudos to you for posting this story and the many others.

eleanor said...

Woah... A friend directed me to your other site, "men who look like"... Which raised a smile, for sure, and certainly provided a welcome distraction to the many work emails.

Stumbling onto this - this, I don't know, kind of indescribably sad, funny, heartbreaking - well, that was the added bonus.

Jack said...

Wow really very nice and good information you share here. I read your entire post and really superb information you share here on funny stuff. thanks for your information.

Mostly Sundays said...

You're a good writer and I know of what you speak..