Tyler and I got to talking tonight about love. Not about us…we’re just nerdy friends who get together to talk about nerdy stuff (tonight it was Mexican music and Atlantis and James Burke and boredom as the spark of invention). No this was about what love…or what romantic love…is supposed to feel like for people like us. Not in the head, but somewhere deeper. I doubted very much whether I’d ever felt it. Not with D. Not with the 🦄. Because this is what he said: that in the moments he was most in love, he was always in awe of how she continuously surprised him. He didn’t have the time or the inclination to even think of being with anyone else because, at the end of the night, he wanted to go home to her.
It was the curiously that kept it alive.
I think I’ve felt that for someone. One person out of the whole bunch. I mean, aside from Mark Ronson, who truly does keep me curious and makes me sound like an idiot for feeling like he’s someone I would really get along with. No, this person has been entirely more real to me. The realest of the real. But I don’t know if what I felt was all in my head. And I might never know that because I think the time for asking him has passed.
But it’s good to know that I might have loved him. In the little things and the big things. Not just the shiny tendrils covering dark eyes. But in his smile that I could invoke by just being me. In his lack of pretense. In his ability to make me feel safe and aroused at the same time. In his Hebrew. In his calm. In his big thoughts that flowed naturally and rocked me so hard I felt drunk for months afterwards.
Did I do it to death, or was it never really meant to be? Was I just something to humor him and take him away from his real life long enough to give him some measure of repose?
I will probably never know. But he set the bar so high I feel sorry for any others who would dane to compete. It’s not that I’ve idealized him. I saw his demons. I confronted him about them. It’s just that once you know someone like him exists, everything else is just a space filler.
Do I give up on the idea of love altogether? Do I ever get the answer less esoteric than “I prefer loving to falling in love anyway, and it’s not for you to know or think why I have any interest, you should be thinking of yourself 😘“
Veneranda: Hi [Him], to what do I owe this pleasure? I’m reworking my novel. The third act never made sense. You?
Him: I’m at the airport. I’m always happy to pleasure 😉
Veneranda: Do you have a lot planned?
Him: Only drinking by the pool/beach. And the occasional Branzino. What are you doing with the 3rd act then?
Veneranda: I need to go to more bachelor’s parties
Him: This is not a bachelor party, just 2 brothers laying by the ocean
Veneranda: Well the heroine was going to compromise and stay with the tech CEO
Him: Then she should leave the tech CEO and choose the musician
Veneranda: But now she leaves him in the second act and stays in NYC to heal her heartache and meets a music producer. Who knows Mark Ronson.
Him: Hahhahaha. Did you see what I wrote?
Him: Makes sense
Veneranda: It’s silly. But now I wonder if it’s bad since you divined it before I even told you
Him: It’s not bad, it means it’s the answer, what are the odds of me writing that?
Veneranda: Not very high I guess.
Him: Not high at all
Veneranda: It’s just a book. Don’t think I expect anything like this in real life.
Him: Real life is based on books, and vice versa
That was about as close as he ever came to saying anything remotely about it. But he wasn’t about words or showiness, so maybe I just couldn’t read between the lines. I worry about that, you know, what my autistic blindsides are.
I wish I could be free of him. It isn’t as though I pine. It’s just that it would be nice to know that it was a figment of my imagination. And then I could go on to living in a world where dreams are mundane and tethered to practicalities instead of wondering if anyone or anything could ever move me like that.
I could write an alternate ending for him, the way I did for the 🦄. He’s in London or Berlin. His phone dings with a message from his brother while she pulls a bottle of water out of the refrigerator. She knows he will want to work through the night as he pats himself looking for his lighter.
“One more cigarette,” she admonishes with a smile. “And then it is time for bed. You have a meeting in the morning.” She puts the lighter down on the table in front of him.
She rests a hand on his shoulder, and he places his hand on top of hers without looking up. His ring clinks against hers. She kisses him on top of his head and turns off the kitchen light. He goes back to his laptop, but in that moment he realizes that the script can wait, that his brother can wait, that the world can wait, and he’d rather sit on the bathroom counter as he watches her take her earrings off, and then her dress, and then her makeup. Things she does every night of her life. But he wouldn’t want to miss a second of it. Because even in her nightly rituals, she fascinates him.
“What is the end…how does it end when love is that good?” I ask Tyler.
“It’s Ada…Nabokov’s book ends with them becoming one.”
“Like Plato,” I say. Split aparts brought together.
I sure hope someone is out there because it would be an awfully sad place if there wasn’t a redemption song after all that I’ve been working towards. I just want someone to share it with. Even if he doesn’t have curly tendrils or speaks Hebrew. I just want him to look at me the way that boy did. And I want to get lost in his eyes, surrounded by happiness induced crinkles.