Sarah and Liz met on a blind date in New York City. Sarah ordered a club soda with a splash of cranberry juice. Liz ordered wine — twice.
A few weeks into dating, while taking a walk together through Chelsea Market, a feeling crystallized for Liz: “I knew in the way seasons change that I would love her before this one ended.”
In order to make this work, Liz knew she could no longer hide from Sarah that she had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
But six weeks after they got married, Liz hit a wall. She found herself in an airport, en route to Milan, tempted by a cold escape.
- “Flying Close to Temptation," Liz Parker
- “What Love Feels Like," E.J. Schwartz
Liz's story was recorded by Audm. To hear more audio stories from publishers like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.
You can find more information on today's episode here.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I have here
my phone down? What love feels like
We were lying on the shaggy carpet of my five hundred square foot apartment,
banana grams, deciding what love feels like I said it's the work out where you squat and catch them.
this bought the same time.
It's falling and lifting at once. Paul said
How heavy is the ball. I thought about it about his depression.
And compulsive nets. By type
And body image issues.
because we are in love, doesn't mean things have been easy. I replied
I mean how do you
think I got buys like bees
Thank you so much,
Do you know what d t r means? I just tell me:
It stands for, define the relationship,
I am not a fan of the acronym, but it's something that's used fairly widely among people. My age, oh, I didn't know what it was either, but I was asked by someone else. Oh did you de tr, and I was like oh, what is this I'll have to google that somebody like people where people have always done with saying
Like here my boyfriend or you're, my girlfriend but putting
new terminology, or is it something different beyond? I think not yeah I mean it could be boyfriend girlfriend or it could just be like. What is this? Are we a casual hookup
it's about time.
is what we are more both on the same page.
We ran an essay years ago and that
add align about.
divorce? They had been.
ass down from this woman's mother, who said
way to stay married is not to get divorced and
one of these simple vines, but actually come
back to me fairly frequently.
It's about love, being a decision
going to love each other.
and sometimes that will come.
Naturally and feel good, and sometimes that's going to be like
any struggle to remind yourself that
This person and you need to act like it
just to be with them still yeah and when you talk about the relationship like that
show me beginning you have to
having those conversations and coming
back to like what do it.
Fact of each other, who are we to each other
and where we, where are we going
defining the relationship,
redefining the relationship yeah. So it's really not in our d TR, it's not it's not just at the moment. It's like an ongoing. It's like a subscription model that you have to keep re upping year after year.
today's SA is flying close to temptation written by Liz Parker published in April two thousand and eighteen, it's red by Gabrielle Sackman,
I always said I would drink again. Only of Sarah got cancer
It was my way of saying I would never drink again the past.
ability of anything bad happening to her seemed remote and decades away? Imagine
my surprise, when a mere six weeks into our marriage, she called me at work to say the doctor
the Danube midday midtown swallowed her words
routine exam a week earlier had found a lump, and the results from her mammogram had been concerning enough that the doctor immediately picked up the phone and called her
I left my office to meet her unsure what to expect some,
both exude resilience and fortitude in the midst of adversity. I am not one of them by,
thought is of certain and immediate death, followed by a maudlin song, orchestrating a montage of good moments,
I don't call my smartest doctor friend and ask him what to do
I start writing. The eulogy
Sarah and I met outside a church on Fifth avenue, her eyes already steeled with resolve
I ve made my boss and we'll go to Germany tomorrow as planned. She said: you'll still meet me in ITALY. Our honeymoon in Venice was two days away. We had planned
add to coincide with one of her business trips. She would fly over first and I would take the red eye two days later.
before we had the confirmation that it was cancer we knew it was, and I immediately started thinking about a drink,
was a benchmark. I had never wanted to hit, and here it was staring me down.
Sarah and I were set up on a blind date. I was
New York for work and one of my meetings, a man I barely knew asked me. If I was seeing anyone he was.
want to get married and I was petrified. This would turn into one of those exchanges in which the happy person assures the single person. There's hope for you yet
I want you to meet a friend of mine, he said
I think you'd get along. He swiftly,
and for us to meet that day.
I walked into a bar off central park and was shocked to find a gorgeous woman complete with perfectly styled hair and makeup waiting at the bar. This couldn't
possibly be my date
Half of my head was buzzed and I was hanging onto my baby fat in a not baby cute way. She
What club soda with a splash of cranberry
I ordered wine twice
The first question she asked was why I had moved from New York.
And for some reason the answer that came out was love, but not great love
Because, less than a year later, I was dumped naked, she's,
There politely and I realize
with growing horror that we were both picturing me getting dumped naked eye
in a sublet in long island city. She finally said
and sometimes I go grocery shopping at the Mobil Mart,
He was as kind as she was pretty
I may have been dumped naked, but at least I could get myself to a proper grocery store
we left after an hour and I went uptown,
Working on the exact kind of New York night that made me miss the city so badly.
I assumed we didn't have much of a future. We retain
is a part shared no hobbies, and I drank-
what fun could possibly come from sobriety.
a few weeks into our courtship started, mainly because we kept responding to each other's emails. We were walking through Chelsea market
As I glimpsed up at the back of her head. I had this feeling
deep in my gut that I would love her
Not in that moment not yet
but I knew and the way seasons change that I would love her before this one ended
asked her early on why she had stopped drinking and she described feeling as if everyone around her had known to get on a train moving forward.
But she was watching from the road as these people slowly passed her by.
I took stock of my life, a new relationship, wonderful friends, a rewarding job drinking had not kept me off the train, my heart,
Maybe I was safe.
a few months later, I was out late propelled by a
Unsteadily into the bathroom
mirror caught my reflection,
and suddenly I was squinting into my eyes. Trying to fix,
not how I could be madly in love with someone, but no one mic
or that if the person I was drinking with this bar made a move, I would go.
Along with it.
the next morning I called Sarah.
A healthy relationship with alcohol, I said-
cursing myself for saying it out loud, because I knew she could never on here it. But I knew if
drank? I would cheat
and she would leave she
tools and presence to move on and I didn't.
She would be the one who got away so I stopped drinking and my life.
did forward at an unbelievable clap.
Cross country move.
Your change and engagement homeownership marriage also,
If professional challenges family policy
It's gone awry
actual anxiety and now cancer.
Two days later, I sat in the United Lounge, looking at fellow travelers, the clock, my phone and my club soda
with a fedora sipped something brown on the rocks a wolf.
left smudged lipstick on what looked like a wine spritzer
A little boy watched his parents drink his eyes, moving from her red wine to his beer. His
it moving slightly between the two. I saw a young couple,
Honeymooners to toast, with champagne flutes
down at my club soda. The
was mostly melted. If I
I pause my life again.
Could Sarah and I go back to that first summer, when everything was still a possibility. I imagine
the coldness of the chardonnay, leaving an imprint on every cell as a travel down. My throat.
I backward loosen my thoughts
Fuzzy and the best way, I could call an old
and chat about mindless gossip. As I waited to board. The bar
I wouldn't think twice about giving me a poor for the road, the flight
it wouldn't cock her head. When I asked if I could have both red and white with dinner.
Sarah would never have to know.
No one would.
except I would know the thing
prized most about our relationship was that Sarah knew everything about me
love me anyway?
If I were to drink, that secret would be the first brick in a wall between us.
May I felt as if I were back in that bathroom squinting at my eyes.
This wasn't about just my own life.
We had a life now and the only way I was going to be the wife she needed was. If I stayed in the moment,
get to rewind the clock and weed.
Get to rewind our self awareness on.
Day is linear.
I thought about that night in the bathroom and how scared I was that Sarah might be really sick for me.
escape into drinking now
me to leave her alone.
I watched the wall grow brick by brick. My stomach
at the thought of Sarah sitting in a doctor's chair, wondering where I had gone,
I thought of months down the road when we would get test results back, saying she would need surgery and chemotherapy and radiation
neither of us knowing at the time that she would come through it and be fine. All I could see was Sarah reaching for my hand and there I would be locked up with my secrets, navigating a dark cave. While wishing I had chosen the bridle path but ding and a scratchy female voice, announce that my flight was starting to board.
I didn't want to escape, regardless of what may be hiding in the future,
the flight passed unremarkably
I watched a movie slept
Ignored the wine card at dinner time,
and in the morning sir,
was waiting at my gate and MILAN.
cappuccino and croissant in hand
I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see, but you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed. Sorry. It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that when my dad was like the first time together and I was out- I think I got it- see it J, a c k, P, o t jack. We hit the jackpot, panicked, yeah nice, I'm same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee in all our games at n, one times dot com, slash games.
before we get back to the show we want to. Let you know that we're doing a survey about how you listened to this show and others. It will help us keep improving what we do and we want to hear from you if you are a long time listener or a new one. So please fill out the survey at N Y Times, dot com, slash, modern love survey, and thank you.
Hi how's it going, it is good it's great to meet you. Are you I'm doing? Well,
less so your essay ends right at the beginning of Sarah Cancer diagnosis. How did it go from there? We
we got back from our honeymoon and immediately started for
of about our better term the cancer process, it was surgery,
a therapy and radiation from
July, until February
she had a type of cancer that was treatable and we could
Well, pretty strong and confident that she was going to be fine, so with the mortality tabled it.
the way, a lot of the fear that might have silence dust or
Serves as an elephant in the room and instead we spend,
some time thinking
okay. What do we need to really get through and we
we're surrounded by our friends in a way that was profound,
They showed up every Thursday at five p m
At Sloan Kettering for four months,
It was incredible because
What other point in your life? Do you have a group of ten adults that committed and well it was happening? Our friends were go
through sort of extraordinary times themselves, and my best friend was pregnant.
Our other best friends were in the process,
adopting their niece and my
I was going through a career change and
we were living it together in a way that, with out str
shrink and around Sarah Chemo therapy it would have been.
Series of updates over dinner over,
several months and
I would never want anything bad to happen to SARA it's. You know my worst fear by
There was a tree
this amount of growth and love and connection that came through
experience, but I wouldn't trade.
I talk about it, a lot we always will treasure it.
And so you wrote at the beginning of your piece that you would only drink again if Sarah got cancer
Of course Sarah did get cancer. Could you tell
about the conversation that you had with Sarah, when you realized you had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Is that for the first
months of our relationship, I was
a the sky and Sarah was in New York,
and it was
in ten essential.
two lives, one with Sarah that didn't revolve around alcohol and one in San Francisco back there I had this creed,
suspicion that AL
was a problem and.
I told Sarah, I knew what I was really saying, what
I think I might be an alcoholic and,
Don't want to lose you because of it. I was
basically looking down the tunnel of fights that couples
I mean mining, a part of life and every single one I saw involved me getting drunk
and Sarah getting frost.
it by it, and I thought if I
stop drinking we're never going to have those fights we can have.
Fight about other things new, but we don't ever have to have a fight about
me coming home too late or
going out or or something that I knew was gun.
a common issue
and all of that tied into getting sober
How did that conversation actually go when you told Sarah, so I've been out
late the night before and I slept late and
I called and she
here hear it in my voice. She could hear the hangover
and I said I don't think I've a healthy relation with alcohol. It felt like eating.
ass? Well, I said it
could never unsay it and she could never.
I hear it yeah and,
by saying it out loud? A plan had to be put in place and to Sarah,
and I'm not surprised, because she's, the most generous person
I've ever known
He gave me the room. We just said: okay,
What might you want to do
is so generous because.
You? No she hand delivered me into the corner that new time to stop drinking
but I didn't feel like I've been pushed or bullied or pressured to
there. So when I did get there
It was like saying goodbye to my oldest friends in a way
You know it was like that sort of it was such a maudlin farewell and it's comical to look back on it because you know just alcohol
So you had been sober for about two and a half years by the time Sarah got sick were there.
other times during her treatment that you are tempted to drink. It was
Just saying because I didn't want to drink in the moment, I didn't
pass the chemotherapy
it's away by drinking wine, the epistle.
yeah. I hide in that United Lounge of if I drink now
I'm gonna ruin this
And knowing that it was the same epiphany
I had had in twenty thirteen looking in the mirror.
That was real
It was a moment that I couldn't on. Have I couldn't unsync the fact that
There was no way to get out of this. There is no way
we think it and so
Sarah and I just sat together.
there are days in which you are on a ride of anxiety and
your only choice is to hang on. There is no amount of willpower that gets you off the ride
In that case it's finding the people or the person that encourages you to name the feelings, instead of immediately trying to fix the problem.
its finding the states or you're allowed to just feel it,
Thank you. So much for talking to me today, thank you. So much
Illus, bye, bye, bye,
you're listening to modern love. The show is produced by Kelly Prime and HANS Butoh and edited by Sarah Sarah son and Wendy Dour music is by Dan Powell. This week's essay was written by Liz Parker and read by Capra's, Ackman or tiny love story was written and read by Aj Schwartz special thanks to Julia Simon, Nora Keller me. He met Bonnie, Laura Kim Bonnie Wartime on yesterday me and SAM Donec and Corsica, and also to Ryan Wagner and Kelly Rogers at autumn the executive producer for New York Times Audio is LISA Tobin. I'm Dan Jones, and I merely see you next week the.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.