Thursday, March 06, 2014

I have lived with an ocean of regret, and remorse, and pain.  Since leaving Australia and coming back to the US, for over 2 years now, I have carried that weight on my shoulders.  It has affected every single endeavor I have taken on.  It has colored every decision I have made.

What is worse, I believe, is knowing that I am responsible for all of it.  Blame cannot be placed elsewhere, or even spread around a bit.  It lies squarely at my feet and mine alone.  I had a beautiful, sweet, and loving woman at my side.  Not behind me or in front of me.  At my side.  Supporting me and adoring me and giving her love to me.

So, I am sorry.  I am so terribly sorry for what I have done.

I'm sorry for doubting you.

I'm sorry for judging you.

I'm sorry for not answering your calls.

I'm sorry for not Skyping more.

I'm sorry for not bringing you more flowers.

I'm sorry for not dancing with you more.

I'm sorry for not believing in you.

You saw in me, my ideal self.  Not the man I was, but the man I aspired to be.  You looked past my shortcomings.  You forgave my faults.  You saw only that ideal, and you loved me as if that was my true self.  I do not know how you did this, but it only matters that you did.  That's how amazing you were.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

2 very long years.... has been.

I sit here with a beer in my hand, wanting and hoping to drink 11 more so that I can listen to some songs and cry my eyes out.  While staring at a photo of the 2 of us.  It's getting late and this has been my routine far too often for the last 2 years.  I know it's taking a toll on my body yet a part of me wants to keep on with this.

I know - we all have something like this to get over.  Everybody has this story.  But it doesn't feel that way to me.  I don't care how many times I hear it - I know that this was, and is, different.

It's different because we were in another country.  She had a boyfriend back home.  We were friends, and then we were lovers...

...shut up, J.  None of that matters.  It was different because she loved you with every single beat of her heart.  Everything she had, she gave to you.  She ignored everyone and everything around her - except for you.  Nothing was more important than you, and your love for her.

There is a photo...I cannot bring myself to delete it from my computer, although I know I must.  She is kissing my cheek, eyes closed, slightly reddish hair brushed back.  It conveys what was once our relationship, perfectly.  She, giving me everything she possibly could.  And me, accepting it.  And doing nothing in return.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


None of this matters. None of it at all.

I could visit every country in the world and experience first-hand the richest cultures known to man. I could learn all the most beautiful and oldest languages of the world. I could see with my own eyes every piece of coveted art that ever has been created. I could walk through all the most impressive and historical structures still standing. I could meet people from all the corners of the world and learn many, many things from them. I could call all the most prominent cities of the world "home". I could teach thousands and thousands of people and know them and touch their lives – and they could touch mine.

All of this could come to pass…and it would matter not. It would be for nothing.

Do you know why?

All of these things are blessings. Truly and completely – they are things to be cherished. However, they all lack one irreplaceable and essential component. For no matter how many breathtaking sights you see and places you visit…you will inevitably yearn for one thing: a companion by your side. Another soul to share in this beauty.

For without a companion to share these experiences with – they are worthless.

But with a companion, with your "ezer kenegdo", they are quite priceless.

Because at the end of the day – when I would lie my head down on my pillow at the end of another completed day - all I would be is a lonely man on a lonely journey…as I am now.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Go Away

A long time ago...

It Remains.

I thought it would go away. No, that's not true. I hoped it would go away. That it would fade and diminish and slowly go away. Slowly be forgotten.

I hoped in the same way that a man - probably desperate and hungry and down to his last ten dollars - hopes to win the lottery. In all his logic and reason, he understands the odds of winning. Understands that it's a lost cause. That it ain't gonna happen.

Yet he buys the ticket. He buys it still. He buys it because that's his only shot - his only way out.

I have distractions. Work. Rome. Travel. Friends. Chiara D. Chiara P. Costanza. Italian. History. Drinking.

Yea...I have all the distractions a man could ask for. Sometimes, they are enough. Sometimes It decides to rest. To go sit in the corner and not disturb.

But that does not last.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Letter...

Maybe I give you more pain. Maybe it was a mistake to take your phone number in class. And to meet you in the garden and to kiss you in Villa Borghese. Maybe it was a mistake to start a story with you. Maybe it was a mistake to believe that you loved me. And maybe it was a mistake to allow myself to love you – and to tell you that I loved you.

I don’t know Valeria. Maybe.

But I know that I wanted nothing else in those moments, than what happened. I wanted to take your number more than anything. I wanted to meet you in the garden and to kiss you in Villa Borghese more than anything else. I wanted to start a story with you. I wanted to believe that you loved me and – more than anything else in all the world – I wanted to love you. And to tell you that I loved you.

Today is October 5th. Maybe in my life I will never know love again. Maybe you never loved me and maybe you never will. But now I know what love looks like because you showed me. You showed me every time you told me your dreams. You showed me every time you talked about North Carolina and Asheville and Smoofie. I felt it every time you put your head on my shoulder.

You wrote in my diary “don’t forget me never”. It would be impossible to forget you, Valeria. And it would be impossible to forget us. It would be impossible to forget the first time I saw you at school. It would be impossible to forget how nervous I always got before class. It would be impossible to forget the time you said to me:

“I don’t understand all the English words. But I understand this (you pointed to your eyes), and I understand how I feel.”

“I’m scared that you go back to North Carolina…but I want to know you. If you want.”

It would be impossible to forget all the times you said:

“Jonathan, don’t go back to North Carolina. It’s not fair that everyone gets you for more years, but I get you only a few months.”

“We have more things to discover together. We have to walk on the street in the center during winter – at Christmas. With big jackets and scarves. We have to go to Venezia together and visit Parigi. You have to see me play volley and go with me to my thesis.”

It would be impossible to forget our first kiss. It would be impossible to forget the time we looked at furniture in the store window. I thought about my future with you. And I was happy.

And if we stop now, you will stay with me forever. When I hear “Goodbye My Lover”, I will think of you and only you. Every time I take a coffee in the window, I will think of only you. Every place I go, you will be there. Asheville, Paris, London, San Francisco. You will be there, because you are in my heart.

I don’t know what your future is. But I know that it will be full of happiness and love because you will make it so. And if I am not in your future – you remember me. Remember the boy from North Carolina who loved to listen to your dreams. Remember the boy who loved your English, and didn’t want to change it. Remember the boy from North Carolina who wanted only to love you.

I will remember all of it, Valeria. But I don’t want it to stop. I want to have more and more things to remember. I want to make more memories with you. I want to have more than a few months with you – I want to have years with you.

And this isn’t just about you or me. This is about a story much bigger than one person or two people. This is about life and a journey and a story. I have more things to do in my life and you have more things to do in your life. You have dreams and I have dreams and some of them are equal.

But I want to do those things and dream those dreams with you.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I didn’t come here for the girl.

On May 8th of 2006, I didn’t know a Valeria.

I didn’t come here for her and I didn’t come here for any other person. I came here for me.

I have lived a long time without her and I lived in this city for weeks without her.

But now, I don’t know if I can continue to live in this city without her. Nearly everything in this city - everything that I touch and see and smell - has been painted a different shade by her and by us. I see her at work. I see her at the lake in EUR. I see her at my apartment. My God, do I see her at my apartment.

It seems as if every piece of this city - every side street and corner and stair - has been touched by us.

Our first kiss in Villa Borghese.
The tram going up Via Flaminia to my first apartment.
The furniture store near Piazzale Flaminio.
Parking her car near Piazza del Popolo.
Dinner at Il Brillo.
San Pietro at night - “our spot”.
Shopping on Via del Corso - “Jam” and “Zara” and “Energie”.
Going to Piazza Venezia for a cappuccino and only a cappuccino.
Sitting and talking - at the beginning - on a bench on Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Termini taking the trains to Siena and Perugia.
Piazza Navona at Christmas, one week before I left.
Circo Massimo in silence, listening to each other, existing together.
The rose garden above Circo Massimo, when she called and told me she left her boyfriend.
Trastevere - all of it.
Driving on the Cristoforo Colombo.
Viale Marconi - walking and shopping, at Christmas, with big jackets.
Walking around San Paolo Basilica, knowing her.
Watching her give her thesis at her university - Roma Tre.
The McDonald’s on Viale America.
My school - where I met her the first time.
Via Fiume Giallo.

There are hundreds. They cover the entire city and not many hours go by consecutively without me seeing or hearing or feeling one of these. I have lived but a few weeks in this city without her and that has become painfully, painfully obvious.

I didn’t come to this city because of her.

But probably, I will leave this city because of her.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


The Beauty that I have experienced since May haunts me. Every day...every hour of my existence now is overwhelmed with thoughts and memories of this. They are countless - more than one person could possibly remember yet too many to possibly forget. On this website I have given you descriptions of only a small sample, and my words for those chosen few have been pitifully inadequate.

It is a Beauty that words simply cannot capture. I could enlist the talents of history's greatest writers, the people who paint vividly and fantastically with words, yet they too would fail miserably to express this Beauty.

Impossible to encapsulate - to define - to describe.

This Beauty is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I have experienced a lot in my 26 years...however this is something wholly different and unique from everything else in my life.

I thought the sunset in Florence last summer was beautiful. I thought hearing "It's a Wonderful World" in Cologne was beautiful. Paris at dusk. Cinque Terre at...well, anytime of the day. The Alhambra, Capri, the Swiss Alps, the Grand Place in Brussels. Chapel Hill on a crisp autumn evening.

Viewed separately, in their own right, these things are in fact beautiful. But life is not lived in a vacuum. If you lose your job of 15 years, this seems a tragedy. However, if the following month you lose your spouse to cancer…certainly you will cease to think of your unemployment as a tragedy. For losing your job is nothing compared to losing your loved one.

Such is true here, as well.
All of it - everything up until now pales in this Beauty's light. There are many things that I have thought to be beautiful in my life. But life is not lived in a vacuum. And the scales have just been radically altered.

I have just stepped out of the light from the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I fear – with every piece of my broken heart – that it will be the most beautiful thing I will ever see in my life. I fear that because it has passed. Because if that is true, then I must live the rest of my days knowing that I will never see a beauty quite as fantastic, quite as radiant and pure and innocent as this Beauty.

And that breaks my heart.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

“Sometimes...when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.”

I have nothing left after this.

Monday, December 18, 2006


There is a girl.

A girl who, at this moment, is 4,000 miles away.

I met her in the most unlikely of circumstances...half-way across the globe from my home. A million miles from my life and my world and my normal.

Probably, the girl is not thinking of me.

But I am thinking of her.

I remember a time when she said:

The life is very strange. I want very much to find a man of my life. And now I find you and you are Americano. I don't understand.

I don't know how to reckon with this. Is there reason in this world? Is there chance or fate or destiny? Is it a game? Is it all just random? Is there a God?

I don't know anymore - I cannot reckon with this...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It is as a Dream - A Nightmare

And it simply cannot be Real...

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I don’t know why I came to this city.

Maybe it was to avoid responsibility.
Maybe it was to be a different person.
Or to leave the past behind.
Or to be a teacher.
Or to live in a place so full of history and culture and art.
Maybe it was to find answers.

I hope it was not to find answers. Because I have not found them. In fact, I feel like I have even more questions now than ever.

I have been in this place – away from my home – for 8 months. I have met people from many different countries. I have seen those people come and go. I have seen this country win a World Cup. I have seen this country elect a new government and pass new laws. I have seen this city in ways that I never imagined I would see it. I have seen the graffiti and the homeless and the traffic. I have experienced the horrible public transportation. I have breathed the polluted air but I have not swum in the polluted sea. I have looked at this place with disgust, wonder, apathy and I have looked at it as if it were any other city in all the world – as if it were my own.

A few weeks ago, my family came to visit. My parents, 2 of my sisters, a brother-in-law, and my little niece, Victoria. She’s a lot bigger than I remember. A lot bigger than the last time I saw her back in March. I have missed so much.

Time passes without anyone’s permission. I have seen the seasons change in this city. I arrived during Spring’s beginning. The days were comfortable but the mornings and nights would chill you without a jacket. Everything was new for me and I navigated through this new life of mine with wide eyes and shaking hands. People came and then they left. Never could I have imagined or predicted what events would unfold during this new life stage. The sun rises every morning and with it a new day comes. We never know what the tide will bring in.

Spring somehow changed into summer without notice. It happened without notice because life was simply becoming more involving. A job came about just as quickly as one could hope for. At the time, I just wanted a job – it mattered not where or when or how much. However, those exact things – where and when – would prove to be quite meaningful in the days to come. There are literally hundreds of language schools in this city and I sent my resume to a good chunk of them. I could have worked at any number of schools and I could have met any number of different people. How many different paths could have unfolded in front of me? How many different situations or decisions could I have been faced with? I don’t know, perhaps the path that I found was the only one that existed. And perhaps I didn’t find the path as much as it found me. Perhaps. Whatever the truth is, this path has proven to be quite life altering.

I remember the exact moment when I first saw her name. But it was just a name on a piece of paper. A faceless, soulless, meaningless name that I would teach the English language to and forget. How many students have I had over the last 7 months? How many have come and gone? 200?? It only took my third class ever to change my life. And not just my life here in Rome – my Life. Tuesday, May 9th at 6 p.m. No matter what happens in the future, I will look back upon this period in my life, and I will inevitably think of the girl. She – We – will be forever imprinted upon my life. The trials and tribulations; the lessons; the moments of unfiltered Beauty; and the Affliction. How many language schools are there in this city again? Hundreds?? And how many teachers are at my particular school? 15?? 20??

Why was that particular name on my particular schedule? Why? What reason is there for that? Why was she taking a class during this particular period? Why had I decided to move to this place at this particular moment? Does it matter? Of all the language schools in all the cities in all the world – we had to walk into the same one at the same time.

And so here we are, starting yet another month. Fall has been a technicality and really Winter hasn’t taken hold just yet. It’s as if Mother Nature hasn’t quite decided what she wants in life. A stark parallel to my life right now.

It’s strange, really. The last 2 months have been just about as difficult as the first 3 were easy. And my God, were they easy. The girl talked about North Carolina and the future and how perfect the days were with me. She must have asked me 100 times: “You want married me??” Everything was clear. She wanted me and she wanted a life with me. She told me – almost every day – not to leave Rome. It wouldn’t be fair and her life would be horrible without me.

And then we experienced a huge, huge shift in September for some reason. It’s something I’m still not clear on, but when I told her that I was staying and my parents were selling my car – something changed. In these two months, she’s told me that she never loved me, that she loved me at one time and that she’s only happy when she dreams of life in North Carolina. She has told me that I give her the power to continue to live and she has asked me not to leave her. She has said more things. Somehow, reality found us and has been doing it’s damned best to take us out.

Maybe…just maybe, I’m starting to understand now. Maybe all the dreaming was easy at first – easy because it was so unrealistic. Admittedly, the circumstances surrounding our relationship have been quite fantastic. It has lent itself well to the dreaming.

Nevertheless…I am coming back to this city after Christmas. Probably, I will be coming back to a different place than I left. It’s possible that the girl and I will not stay together for much longer and I could be on another journey – Alone.