I met my ex-boyfriend’s secret twin in Brooklyn in the shape of someone rob went to high school with. When Zak Smith, now a New York native and artist, walked into the Orange Bear last week, I had to do a double-take. Aside from the punk-rock hair (and what I later confirmed were not Zvi’s blue-green-gray eyes, but brown), he was the spitting image of him. Same dark hair, same deep-set eyes, same thin lips, same razor-sharp jaw – facial features I loved so much and that – the way firsts do – set the tone for what I found attractive in men forever after. Rob, with his light hair and dark eyes, is a features fluke in my dating history.
I thought I might have been crazy about the Zak thing, and rob had never known Zvi well enough to comment on his facial features. But when Brennan came up from Baltimore to the Tobacco Road show Sunday, I put my arm around Zak and said to Brennan, “Take away the brown eyes. Who is this?” The shock and the smile were all I needed to confirm my own perceptions.
It’s weird when you date someone as long as I dated Zvi, have that person so much a part of your life for so many years and then suddenly absent entirely. We broke up two years ago this November and have spoken a handful of times since, which is a big regret for me. He was on the radio with his band, Cindy’s Basement, when rob and I were driving to Providence the first time. I asked rob to let me pull the car over at a rest stop in New Jersey, the last place we could get 98Rock just so I could hear him talk. He sounded happy, which made me happy. Like I said, so much a part of your life and then gone … and the only way you can keep tabs is to jockey the radio dial and pray for clear weather somewhere in New Jersey.
I’ve always wanted Zvi to see the band and how far I’ve come in two years. He was the first one who ever suggested I should join a band, that I should cover White Rabbit. And he’s never gotten to see it … he wouldn’t come see it … just like I wouldn’t go see his new band.
So I found myself talking to Zak a lot. Just watching him talk and it made me feel really good. His personality and his voice are completely different than Zvi’s, and I liked Zak independently of my associations. Still, it was sort of nice to visit and look into the audience during both the shows in New York and let the stage lights fool me that his eyes were blue.