breakfast at epiphany’s

it was november 7, 1991.
i had just spent a weekend with a man who broke my heart. you know what, let me rephrase that: i had just spent a weekend with man who fucking knew he was going to break my heart when i got on the plane in new york to fly to ann arbor, michigan.

he knew he was going to break my heart. he was an asshole. and i was a girl who was very, very, very much “in like,” and totally blind.

i was on top of the world. my career was taking off. a script i co-wrote was about to be made into a big hollywood movie, i was writing a TV series and … i was dating a guy who was teaching at the university of michigan. oh my frickin’ god, life was swell.

i always said if there were three men sitting at a bar, i would choose the one who just got out of prison for a heinous crime. i went for bad. i went for mean. i went for less than. i went for pond scum.

and, truth be told, i was promiscuous. i slept with – had sex with – many men.
many on the first date.
some in the elevator on the way to their apartment.

and so here i was – in michigan – with a guy who knew before i got on the plane that he was going to break my heart in pieces. on friday night we had dinner, we had sex, we had champagne. on saturday we had breakfast, we had sex, we took a long, long… long… walk. on the long long long walk he told that he met someone and fell in love. his exact words were, “I met someone and fell in love.” i asked him through my snot nose sobbing why he didn’t just tell me this over the phone, why he just didn’t call me… he said he wanted to tell me face to face, he felt he owed me that much … after all we were “dating, and you know, long distance relationships are, you know, hard… difficult.” i asked him where this woman lived, the one he fell in love with. he told me australia. i asked/said, “australia, michigan?” i felt dirty, i felt used. i felt spit out. “we had sex,” i said, “how could you do that if you’re in love with someone else? how can you do that?” after i caught my breath, and shot the snot out of my nose, i told him he owed me air fare and a week at a spa of my choice.

he didn’t find my humor appealing. and, i found out, he preferred women with very large breasts and accents.

clearly, i was not that girl. i wanted him to die a slow painful death, but instead i told him to have a nice life.

and so…

it was november 7, 1991, i was at the airport, waiting to catch a flight to fly back home to nyc where i would slip under the covers for a week or two, and cry myself silly and then realize – an epiphany – that this guy was so the wrong guy and get out of bed and start life over again. the airport was crowded. the tears were non-stop, the flights weren’t. i was hoping to get on an earlier flight. for a girl who hated to fly, the airport became my only safe haven. i went to the sports bar and ordered a drink. the bar was filled with men.

i hated all men at that moment.

the TV screen was right in front of me.

magic johnson was about to hold a press conference.
I wasn’t following basketball, but i certainly knew who magic johnson was.

and then he said it.
he said the words.
he told the world that he had contracted HIV.
he was HIV positive.

everything & everyone at the airport stopped.
all eyes on him.
you could, honest to god, hear a pin drop.

i believe, although i can be wrong, at that time HIV/AIDS was thought primarily as a gay man’s disease, and here was this man – this straight sports god of a man – sharing his pain & sorrow & sadness in not only contracting this god awful disease, but his sheer stunning determination that he would beat the disease.

it was profound.
it was stunning.
it was shocking.

it scared me.
it hit home.

i was a girl who mistook sex for love.
sex was easy.
love was hard.

or as my friend once said in regard to her own love life, “i’m always taking crumbs.”

how fitting, i thought to myself, that his name is magic.
he shook the shame-crumbs off the tree.

i made a vow (a silent vow) right then and there – at that airport on that day – that i would never again give away the goods.

i was going to love me.

no more crumbs.

Category: Uncategorized 9 comments »

9 Responses to “breakfast at epiphany’s”

  1. Madgew

    I pick so bad it isn’t even funny when it comes to men. They look great to the eye and seem to be good on paper than wowee. First date credit card denied. Do I listen to explanation as they pull out more cards. Of course i do. The good thing is every dime I ever loaned anyone has come back to me (except once and that was an old mentee ) She was out of prison for lying and of course I believe she had changed. Oh so not true. Men I pick if they love/like me rather than analyzing why i am choosing this person. Even as I age (62) choices still don’t in the end make the grade. I pick unavailable because in my heart I love my life and am not a really a good sharer now. Once in my younger days (over sharing) and (over caring) . Now it is all about me!!!!!!!! Love your stories Amy. I just never had shame over it. I just caulked it up to my personal lack of self esteem. Now I totally do my own thing with not much filtering. Works for me.

  2. melody george

    I guess Im wondering if you will ever.. ever stop taking my breath away?

    Obviously the answer is no.

    amazing, stunning, wonderful, incredible, perfection..yes..sheer perfection…

  3. Michael Ann Riley

    I always wonder about the women who got it right the first time. Who seem to really understand what love IS and SHOULD be. They picked nice, good men who adore them, and the women adore them back. I wonder how they were given the gift of knowing what love is? While I was living an unconscious life, making unconscious decisions and letting life and love “happen,” then turning around and wondering how I got here? Some of us are late bloomers I guess.

    I loved this post.

  4. Jane

    “Australia, Michigan?” LMAO, Amy! I love that! Isn’t it all just too crazy that you (we) then CRY over “losing” a guy like this?! Until, of course, the V-8 moment.

  5. Amy Ferris

    jan!
    OMG you’re right, JAN, thank you! THANK YOU!!!!!it wasn’t the ann arbor airport. it was another airport! detroit?
    thanks for correcting!
    best and warm,
    amy

  6. kristine

    funny…my week has been filled with epiphanies…my own ( my skin is never going to un-sag, so DEAL), my 86 year old mother’s and now yours. My mother has been divorced from my father for 40 years…and for 40 years she has loved him and waited for him to come to his senses and want her back. Just 2 days ago, she called me saying she had had an epiphany…she said “Kristi (only she calls me that) I have finally understood that I am stuck, I am stuck on your dad. I figured out that the reason I am stuck is cause I think about him all the time. I have decided not to think about him any more.” I couldn’t really say anything other than…”good for you mom, now that’s progress.” I like your (AF) epiphany best. “You are a women to love.”

  7. kristine

    funny…my week has been filled with epiphanies…my own ( my skin is never going to un-sag, so DEAL), my 86 year old mother’s and now yours. My mother has been divorced from my father for 40 years…and for 40 years she has loved him and waited for him to come to his senses and want her back. Just 2 days ago, she called me saying she had had an epiphany…she said “Kristi (only she calls me that) I have finally understood that I am stuck, I am stuck on your dad. I figured out that the reason I am stuck is cause I think about him all the time. I have decided not to think about him any more.” I couldn’t really say anything other than…”good for you mom, now that’s progress.” I like your (AF) epiphany best. “You are a woman to love.”

  8. Cherry Woodburn

    My mom told me that she had been part of an experiment where scientists were trying to clone here fertilized embryos. The cloning was never perfected at that time but it was a partial success. Now I know that the part of the brain where you choose men and think that sex is love was replicated and it’s in you.
    I only had to fly to DC but he and I had sex, then saw the holocaust museum (how I missed that clue is beyond me), then back for more sex and a beautiful dinner. All was going gloriously well until he told me that “No we would not be going to so & so’s wedding together because he was getting back with his girlfriend, who he really loved.” What?! I went on a verbal rampage, made him pay for my flight home, restated that he was pond scum and then had 1 (sex) for the road. THen, of course, I hated myself more than him. Worked out well all around wouldn’t you say.

  9. Hollye Dexter

    It’s so hard for me to imagine you with anyone less loving and kind than Ken, but I guess Ken came with the epiphany.

    What a wonderful story to share, and so beautifully written. As always.


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