Love will make you forget time and time will make you forget love. ~ Anonymous
After graduating from college, I moved to Israel hoping to experience life outside of my comfort zone. I started waitressing at an International restaurant/bar, where I met David. I remember laughing to myself right after meeting him- “you and this British dishwasher, as if that would ever happen!”
For the first two weeks, our verbal exchanges were kept at a minimum: speaking only Hebrew, saying only “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” It took two weeks for him to realize that I wasn’t Israeli (as he had assumed), and for me to realize that he, in fact, was not British. He was an American who grew up in Miami and had recently completed his three-year term in the Israeli army. From there, we became fast friends.
We spent a lot of time together over the next month; hanging out after work, during work, outside of work. I felt so comfortable around him, and felt like I could truly be myself and tell him anything. He was my best friend. I’m sure you all can tell where this is going…
At the time, the restaurant staff was two steps ahead of me and David. Managers would pull us aside separately and give us speeches on the dangers of workplace romances. Unable to convince them otherwise, David and I would just laugh it off…until it was too obvious to bear. I will never forget the first time we kissed, outside the restaurant, sitting in a pagoda on the boardwalk, facing the beach. We were both the cautious types, giving our newfound relationship about a month to see if it would fit. We would go on endless dates, saving the kisses for the end. It took two months and two weeks, countless hours spent together, and an “I love you” for us to make love and it was perfect. I truly loved this man.
David was hesitant from the very beginning, unsure of what would be between us. His original plan, following his release from the army, was to spend two months living on his own in Israel and then to spend the spring and summer in Italy with his father’s side of the family, writing, before he would return home and attend graduate school at Columbia for his MBA. But that was the future and for the time being, he wasn’t going anywhere. He needed to be around me–his words, not mine. Who was I to argue? Being that his original plans fell through, he eventually moved in with me, unsure of what the future would bring. We were honest with each other and that was all that mattered.
As Spring came to an end, he invited me to Italy. He figured if he really wanted to go, he’d have to take me with him. Plans were put in motion. We gave our two-week notices at work. I got an earlier flight to visit some family in London before heading to Italy.
A few days before I left, David received some horrible news: his father had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I immediately suggested we cancel our trip, but he insisted otherwise.
It was when I called him from London to verify my flight to Milan that I could hear in his voice that everything was about to change. He didn’t cancel our plans, but deferred them. He had a flight to Miami the following day and said he would meet me in Italy two weeks later. All of a sudden, the solid ground we had created seemed a bit more shaky. It was at this point that my family began expressing their doubts about the situation.
Looking back on it now, I should have let go at that point. However, considering he was having a rough time, I figured I could accept his unsettling behavior. My mind worked overtime trying to justify his coldness and lack of communication during the moments when I felt most alone, because this was not about me.
Given the change of plans, I went with my parents to visit my sister in Paris. In a surprising twist, I met a really great guy on the way to a bar one beautiful evening. Although I couldn’t feel it or see it, I was shocked to realize that I subconsciously started to take back my heart–the heart that I had given to David. After all, I had found room (even if microscopic) to feel something towards someone else. The additional confusion really sent me over the edge. Everything started to spin. Next thing I knew, Mr. Paris was driving me to the airport, begging me to give us a chance. But my heart was not yet available to give, even though my plans to meet David in Italy had gone from deferred to non-existent.
I will never forget that horrifying feeling of seeing David when I returned to Israel. He had not shaved, showered, or changed his clothes in days. Blindly, I romantically demanded a kiss. His response: I need a coffee first. Everything stopped, including my breath. I started to hyperventilate uncontrollably as my current situation settled in. Over the next two weeks I spent in Israel, things got better, but they never returned to what they were. I let my powerful feelings for David return, convincing myself that it was I who had ruined things in Paris. The only other option was to give up, and that wasn’t even an option. We’d get through this.
I returned home to New Jersey and he returned to Miami. We spoke on the phone for hours every day, discussing his plans to move to New York.
July 31st: his birthday. On that Thursday, we spoke on the phone for three hours. He was arriving the following Friday. He wanted to spend his first few days at my house, to meet my parents for the first time, and I was going to pick him up from the airport. Words cannot express the excitement I felt- the man that I planned to spend the rest of my life with was finally coming into my world. I will never forget his last words on that Thursday, when he thanked me for being me and for giving him the most wonderful birthday present: that day’s conversation.
For the next few days, I had not heard from David. By that Wednesday, I was worried and left a message on his house phone (since he had not yet gotten an American cell phone) and written a short email. I got no reply to either. It has now been eleven months and I have accepted that I will never talk to my dear David ever again. And I will never know where it went wrong and why he decided to leave without making any contact or providing any explanations.
Believe me when I say that this was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I experienced a month of hysteria–lacking sleep, food, sunshine. There were too many questions left unanswered. Who was this man, really? Did he fabricate his father’s illness? Was he a true sociopath? And then I realized that these answers were not what I needed. What I needed was to take the good from my experience and move on. After all, the worst thing I could do is let my ex have an effect on how I approach my future. An ex is a part of one’s past; and I made the firm decision to take time to get over it and leave it in the past, where it belongs.
In time, pieces of myself began to grow back and while I had some regrets about the relationship, I am still thankful for the experience because while it was good, it was a wonderful chapter of my life, and the bad is what made me the strong and confident woman I am today.
As for my future? I made plans to visit Mr. Paris this August!
– Ariele Noble
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