When I lived in New York, I went to a charity bachelor auction and bought a cute doctor. His name was Ed, and he seemed pleasantly surprised when I showed up to the date. I still remember what I was was wearing: a DVF wrap dress, strappy sandals, the best light pink never-to-be-found-again nail polish on my toes. I’m not sure why this detail is important. My working theory is that my brain was so scrambled after Ed eventually left me, it was like my hard drive wiped out, leaving a detritus of images floating around.
Soon after the first date we were sleeping at each other’s apartments, drinking Cuban coffee in the morning, talking about our future. We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together. He was only forty, but had been married not once, not twice, but three times before. Somehow this red flag didn’t register.
One night he came over for dinner. I was in the middle of making baked brie with pears and walnuts when he sat down at the kitchen table and told me that it was over. I can’t remember exactly what he said; I do remember floating to the hall closet like a ghost, pulling out his white coats and silently handing them to him.
He looked shocked, which I couldn’t understand — why would I keep his work clothes if we weren’t together? For months, I held onto to this small, weird moment as evidence that perhaps he didn’t really mean it. But he meant it.
Over the course of the next seven days, I lost 11 pounds. I must have stopped eating altogether, but I don’t really remember. I do remember my boss telling me that I looked great, “svelte, no longer zaftig.” I remember chain smoking on my fire escape, calling him way too many times from my home phone (this was pre-ubiquitous cell phone use), frustrated that he never picked up. I remember taking the subway to my friend Heather’s house to call him from her phone, to see if he would pick up from an unfamiliar number. He did, and so I lost more weight.
I was unhinged. But I’m generally not unhinged — it takes quite a bit to unhinge me, actually — and so looking back now, I wonder if I was suffering an actual injury, a sickness. It wasn’t just sadness, it was a disorder, a…