We took a flight to New York where Daniel insisted that we keep the anniversary\birthday celebration going, so he booked us a room in a boutique hotel on Madison. It was a business trip disguised as a vacation, really. I couldn’t complain considering; but then the opposite case could be argued. There was so much going on that I feared I was becoming more stressed out than initially planned. What happened to the vacating part of this vacation? I thought I was going to be more uplifted, relaxed and changed for the better. But even as I plonked onto the bed of the third ranked hotel in New York City, I was exhausted from the mental quarrels and not completely at ease.
We only had enough time and energy for dinner so we decided to go down to the restaurant linked to the hotel.
“Table for two, please,” Daniel said to the host, “and nowhere near the door. We’ll freeze to death.”
The host barely spoke a peep as he nodded and walked us over to a table in the corner of the room. The farthest possible reach from the door. I wanted nothing more but meat. A succulent steak was all I could think of since there was nothing to eat on the plane ride. I was too embarrassed to ask for forty billion more packets of pretzels. In my defence there was only like three tiny pretzels in each packet!
After we ordered, we remained quiet but close to each other. Daniel pulled me closer into him and wrapped his arm over me. Then he kissed me on the top of my head. I turned my face towards him and gave him a real kiss. A flash of us separating entered my mind and I abruptly pulled back.
Daniel was left confused. “What’s the matter?”
I shook my head. “My hair is still wet from the shower.” A crinkle formed between Daniel’s brows. “I meant to say,” I began clarifying, “it slipped inside and gave me a shiver.”
Before Daniel could reply, the waiter came with the wine. Fill it up to the top, I thought. I grabbed an attentive sip when the waiter finished and left. Leaving us with our thoughts.
“Have you spoken to you colleagues or superiors or whatever yet?” I asked.
Daniel’s smile peeped out of the wine glass as he sipped. “Is that all you’ve been thinking about?”
I sighed. “I can’t help but feel that you don’t even care or something.”
“I do, Anna.”
“Then why won’t you clue me in on something?”
“Because I don’t even know what’s definite yet. I don’t know how to go about anything. I just don’t know.” He hesitated. “After the ‘Richard revelation’ back in Minneapolis I’m starting to feel a little…lost about certain things.”
I held his hand. “Like what?”
Daniel shifted in his seat, preparing himself. “Initially I had gotten this job for my mother. And I thought I kept it for myself as well, after my mother wouldn’t accept the money I was trying to send her. But now,” Daniel shook his head, “you’re right, I’m the exact replica of my father.”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” I mumbled.
“I know, baby. I know. Doesn’t make it any less true.” A pause entered the conversation and in that time the appetisers came and we dug in. “I completely let slide what I was doing in the first place, when I was in UCLA. All I’m saying is I don’t know if I like what I am at the moment. Call it a quarter life crisis,” he chuckled.
In due time we finished our appetisers and managed to be half way through our main when I spoke. “Want to hear what I think?”
Daniel nodded. “Definitely because I need to stop thinking and hear someone else for a change.”
“I think you like both.”
Daniel’s brows angled downwards. “What do you mean?”
“I think you liked your time in UCLA, learning about what you loved. But I also think you like this job in finance. You’re just afraid—” Daniel tilted his head and softened his eyes when I said the word ‘afraid’ “—okay, worried or uncertain then, that you’ll turn out like your father. I think you like what you’re doing so much and didn’t expect to, that you think you’ll turn out like Richard.”
“I wanted to do the farthest thing away from his field,” Daniel said, “and that I also enjoyed as well. I’m starting to think I subconsciously chose the course at UCLA to piss him off. Only partially though.”
I thought for a moment as I listened to him, wondering whether or not the words in my mind should be dripping from my lips. I didn’t want to regret the words, but I didn’t want Daniel to be unhappy either. So I went with my gut.
“Daniel,” I began, suctioning one big shaky breath in, “If the promotion gets you back to New York within a reasonable time or you somehow find a way for it to keep you there, then I’ll support you. But if you decide to take it to Chicago, because I know deep down you actually like what you’re doing, then I can’t.”
“Can’t…?” Daniel asked, though I knew he just wanted me to say it.
“I won’t be able to support you.”
“And then we’d break up all over again.”
“I don’t want your decision to be made with the thought of the fate of our relationship in mind,” I quickly said. “But I also don’t want to leave you in the dark of what I want as well.” I shrugged. “It’s set in stone; I’m moving to New York…whether you’re there or…not.”
Daniel leaned over and extended his hand to place it on mine. “Anna,” he began, eyes pleading, “we’re in this together, remember. No matter what. Isn’t this considered no matter what?”
I shook my head. “This is considered what you want, and what I want. I just thought we wanted the same thing.”
“We do,” Daniel said. “I do.”
“Would you like the dessert menu?” the waiter asked.
I pulled away from Daniel’s hand. “No thank you, just the bill, please.”
“Shit,” Daniel muttered once the waiter left. “No dessert? We really are riding on a thin line.”