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The breakup had been in the mail for a while, and finally arrived when she kissed someone else. I was visibly devastated, an opportunity that provided her a bit more material: "Ryan Crying One More Time," and "Cry Ryan Cry." We agreed to spend a period of time apart before trying to be friends. The night we broke up she sent an email to my roommate that said, "Please take care of him now." He and I promptly got drunk and watched Star Trek IV, the one with the whales. There were moments when we thought we could never be friends. Being asked to leave one of her shows in Greenpoint after I drunkenly accosted her new boyfriend comes to mind.
It was a spring breakup, and as Hemingway says at the beginning of A Moveable Feast, "When the false spring came, there was nothing to worry about except where to be happiest." We moved on. I dated someone else. She dated someone else. We had brunch a few times. Some of these meals were nice, some of them were miserable. When someone becomes a ghost, it's hard to incorporate them back into your life as a tangible person. And in this case, there was a whole body of publicly displayed artwork out there to remind us of who we had been.
But somehow we endured as friends, and we did so in the typical way: by helping each other. In the summer, Gabriela decided to go to Berlin to properly shop around some of her work, a two-month trip that coincided with her lease ending. She needed a place to store her stuff, and as it happened, I had a large basement at my apartment in Flatbush. She brought it all over. Among these items was, of course, "White Bread." We exchanged a little laugh as she handed me the plastic bag covering the painting, and in many ways, our friendship was forever secured in that moment.
Gabriela doesn't do large-scale canvas work anymore. She gave up her studio, and now focuses on small drawings in the same style as The Ryan Series. This style of work has gained her notoriety in both New York and Germany.
Very recently, I was in her new apartment in Greenpoint, having dinner and catching up. "How do you two know each other?" her roommate asked. I assumed Gabriela would tell her we're old friends or we dated briefly or something. Instead, she said, "Ryan totally changed the way I make my art. He's the reason I've had any success."
Over some whiskey, we talked. She said it seemed like I was in a good place, and I said I was. We didn't need anything from each other anymore. But I still harbor a perverse fantasy that Gabriela's career will continue to grow, and years from now a future girlfriend will look at my naked body and tell me it reminds her of this drawing she saw at a gallery. Except for the penis. n°
Seeking Asylum by Rev. Jen Miller
After my breakup, I became a psych-study guinea pig.
The Anorexic's Cookbook by Rachel Shukert
Recipes for the skeletal self-loather.
Triangulation by Caitlin MacRae
I've had way more threesomes than dates.
Without Ceremony by Lisa Gabriele
How I've managed to avoid getting married for forty years.
Weird Date: The Creepist by Janice Erlbaum
He told me I should be nice.
The Sushisexuals by Joey Rubin
StuffWhitePeopleLike.com revealed the depressing truth about my dating history.
There were moments when we thought we could never be friends. Being asked to leave one of her shows in Greenpoint after I drunkenly accosted her new boyfriend comes to mind.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR:|
|Ryan Britt’s stories have appeared on Nerve, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood and Really Small Talk. On stage, he appears regularly with The Moth, The Liar Show, SpeakEasy, Stripped Stories and others. Every day, he writes a short piece of flash fiction and posts it to his website "Side Affects". His plays have enjoyed full productions from The Longest Lunch Theatre Company and several staged readings at The Tank. He lives in New York.|