Got in to Alex's and collapsed for a while, but eventually managed to drag myself up and go out to dinner with him. He'd already eaten, but took me to a little Italian trattoria down the street where I had pasta primavera and he had cappucino and cheesecake. I felt virtuous for ordering something with vegetables, but the dish was really pretty soggy. Pasta primavera should not be soggy! Ah well. We had a nice conversation over the meal, though; love and life and sex and such. I love hanging out with old lovers; they know you so well, in a very comfortable and intimate way, even though you're not dating them anymore. It's hard to be stiff with someone when they've seen you naked. Especially naked and sweaty and making funny noises. :-) It's also particularly nice talking to him about Kevin, since they're friends, and Alex knows Kev pretty well. It helps. (Five months now, and it doesn't really seem to be getting much easier. Hopefully it will soon.)
We walked back around 11-ish, and then I dragged out my computer and made Alex look at pictures -- first photos from the party (the ones I edited on the train) and then various other that he hadn't seen, of David and Karina and Jed and Kevin, etc. and so on. Fun. It's fabulous having all my photos from the last year with me on the computer. I love my camera! He showed me some actual photos of the recent trip he and Yuko took to some gorgeous island somewhere. Must be nice to be comfortably well-off! They looked so cute in their swimsuits and diving gear...
Speaking of comfortably well-off, we also spent a while talking about the houses he'd looked at on Saturday -- he and his mom saw one that he absolutely fell in love with, but it was a fair bit more than he'd planned to spend. It sounds terrific -- perched up on top of a cliff; actually sort of dug into the cliff, kind of like Bilbo's house. :-) I spent a while fantasizing about borrowing it for ten days to run an artist's colony -- he was dubious at first, but by the end of my spiel, sounded halfway convinced. Wouldn't that be cool?! I'd be willing to cook for the group; we could open it to ten people or so, charge maybe $10/day for food? People would have to get there on their own, and probably bring sleeping bags and pillows and towels, but there wouldn't be any other charges, and they'd have a fabulous retreat near New York. We could maybe even use some of the money to fly in someone like Nalo to be our guest speaker. :-) I'd have so much fun scheduling a few activities and workshops, and we could just all work the rest of the time. What do you think? Could I get sci-fi and/or erotica writers interested? (This'd all be a ways in the future, of course -- first he needs to buy a house, and then he needs to furnish it. But still...something to think about. Alex likes the idea of being a patron of the arts. Hmm....do I know anybody else who has a big house sitting empty? This sounds like so much fun; I don't want to wait!)
Anyway, lovely evening; stayed up too late. Woke up this morning to the phone ringing; Alex's dad calling to tell him to turn on the tv. Made tea and drank it while watching tv for the next couple of hours; called my sister and some friends to let everyone know that I was okay. Alex and I spent a while arguing about whether it was terrorism or not; he thought it was 80-90% likely; I thought he was overly paranoid, and there was a good chance it was just a terrible accident. Sad stuff; really depressing watching the news.
Around eleven, headed off to Melcher for a brief meeting. Met with Duncan and new editor Leah and looked at possible cover and interior images (I did mention that this one will have photos, yes?) Some gorgeous stuff; there's one in particular that I'd love to have for the cover. A fabulous tropical blue for the water, and a man and woman entwined, in contrasting skin tones. Very striking. Fingers crossed. We also rearranged the TOC completely; I'm much happier with the new arrangement. I just wasn't able to think clearly when I was doing it last time. We considered putting my story first for a while -- if it had been from anyone else, I think we would have, because it has a fun tone that would be a good opener. But I felt weird about that; we ended up putting it last again, like we did last time. I think that'll work better. I also spent a little while showing Leah how to use a Canon Digital Elph camera (the type I own) -- she had one sitting on her desk, which it turned out belonged to Sarah Jessica Parker (of Sex in the City fame) -- Melcher's doing a book connected with the show, and SJP sent her camera along with about 800 informal pictures of the cast. Very cool! I touched SJP's camera! It's almost like touching her, right? :-)
Alex came and met me afterwards, and we went to a Belgian bakery for lunch; I had a pate and gherkin sandwich, with some more strong English breakfast tea. It felt like a day for a lot of tea. The bakery was called Pain, and if I remembered where it was, I would tell you, because the food was quite delicious. There was a couple speaking French sitting next to us, which really completed the continental picture. For a moment, I could forget that I was in New York -- which would have rather been a relief, today.
We went back to Alex's around two, and I'm honestly not sure what we did between then and five, when I left for the airport. Read a little, edited some pictures. Mostly watched the news, talked some, got sad again. I don't normally stay glued to the news during this kind of thing; I prefer to try to work as I regularly would, and just check in periodically. But I was hoping that they would announce that they were opening JFK to departures (when I finally left for the airport, they hadn't announced it open yet, but I'd called my airline and they thought the flight would be leaving on time), so I kept listening. The sadness on the tv seemed to combine with my sadness about Kevin and my exhaustion after all the travel and my slight dread of returning to Salt Lake and loneliness again -- it just all combined to overwhelm me after a while, and I got more and more stressed, to the point where I just didn't feel like I could cope with my original (sensible and cheap) plan of taking the subway and a shuttle to JFK. Alex kindly gave me cab fare, a kiss, and a fluffy sf novel for the road; I called David from the cab and talked to him until I got to the airport. I was feeling better by the time I got to the airport, and the novel (Steven Gould's Jumper, a rather charming little teleportation/coming-of-age story) kept me nicely engaged up through the first hour of the flight.
And now, at the end of this very long entry, and these rather long four days, I'm typing to you again, while I watch the news again on the little tv in the seat in front of me. Apparently there is some progress in Afghanistan; I don't know if we should be there, but at this point, I'm just hoping it's all over soon. They're showing photos of Near Rockaway, where the plane crashed, and I'm thinking of Shmuel, whose family lives in Far Rockaway, only a few miles away. I think I'm going to turn off the news soon, and either watch the Food Network, finding comfort in the details of baking cakes and such, or perhaps try to work a little more on that children's story. When I get home, I'll upload this entry, and be glad to be finally home, able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, rather than being trapped in a New York airport (as I so easily could have been). And even if I'll be a little lonely for a while, I'll be glad to safe, hale and whole and with no one I know hurt in today's disaster. Counting my blessings. Be safe, everyone. Take care of yourselves.