At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I feel like loving New York has been taken from me. Walking down 5th Ave from Park Slope to South Slope on Friday night, I was at once overcome with happiness and then immediate sadness. As I talked about in our 2 year NYC anniversary, there is so much that I love about this city. I had picked up Indian food and was passing bodegas with gorgeous flowers outside and the lit apartment windows above all the street level businesses. From the resilient restaurants with their outdoor dining areas to the taco trucks every few blocks, there is so much that makes me feel weirdly nostalgic even though I haven’t lived here long. I don’t know if that makes sense. But I feel that and then it’s like WHAM! and I feel stupid and foolish for loving this place.
My issue here has three prongs: the first is that the sheer length of time the infidelity went on means that it touched so many of our experiences here. Biking to Red Hook, taking the ferry to Rockaway Beach, going to Bushwick for a [socially distanced] party on Memorial Day, getting takeout pizza from Lucali to celebrate the 6th anniversary of our first date - all of it touched by this stain of knowing that he was texting her. The second is that they had their first spark (gross.) at two bars in Brooklyn during her going away party. Just walking by one of the bars this week felt like exposure therapy and it was 9am so they weren't even close the open. The idea of going there for a margarita is still so far outside of the realm of possibility for me that I'm not sure it will happen before our inevitable departure from the city. The third, and final, piece of the issue is that I partially blame this community for what happened to me.
For a bit more context here, while my husband's infidelity was conducted virtually over Instagram messages and texting, he finally admitted after discovery that he had shared a spark with this woman on the night of her going away party as she left NYC. I had left early as I had to work early the next morning. The group was going hard on pitchers of margaritas and while I knew it would likely be a late night, I trusted my husband to have fun in the same way he would've if I had been there. Apparently the alcohol took over and he found himself playing footsie (ugh.) under the table and dancing with this woman late into the night (sharp stabbing pain.). He said goodbye with a hug he now admits was too long and came home at 4am. He crawled into bed next to me and nursed a hangover the next day while I was at work. He never brought it up and allegedly didn't think of it again until she slid into his DM's with a "I've always had a crush on you" line (pure hatred and images of strangling her).
I say this a lot but these are not feelings of which I'm proud. As my emotional brain continues to come to terms with the entire narrative, the idea of blame keeps moving around. I've blamed myself, I've blamed him, I've blamed her, I've blamed the entire situation. Parts of my brain jump to "what if we hadn't so fully embraced this community and group of friends?", "what if we'd never joined that gym?", and "what if we hadn't moved here?". My gut reaction to these questions is to blame every step along the way. I blame my husband's job for moving us here. I blame friends who saw this connection that night between them and never told me. I blame this community for being so close yet allowing something like this to happen. The cycle of blame and shame is never ending. So how do I break it?
Going back to what brought on this post, walking the streets of Brooklyn brings up all of these feelings constantly. As usual, I call upon the words of our lady savior, Taylor Swift.
"And I hope I never lose you, hope it never ends / I'll never walk Cornelia Street again / That's the kind of heartbreak time could never mend / I'll never walk Cornelia Street again / And baby, I get mystified by how this city screams your name / And baby, I'm so terrified of if you ever walk away / I'd never walk Cornelia Street again".
Hopefully time will eventually mend this broken heart. If you feel like you're stuck in a negative cycle of emotions, unable to break it, know that I see you. I'm with you. One day you will be ok.