All I want

Last night was Brandi Carlile covering Joni Mitchell at Carnegie Hall. I’d like to give a factual account of the evening but I have to use a pseudonym for obvious reasons.

I went with V. We met up, had dinner, talked about the boys’ show on Tuesday and the Spanish Civil War and Hitler and Havana Syndrome, microwaves—the kind that nuke food—and drones and virtual reality. Par for the course. I can nerd out with V and know he’ll meet me wherever the conversation goes.

I like that he notices every baseball cap and sweatshirt. I like that he will scream out “Go Blue” to complete strangers. It shows that he can handle himself. I’ve been around enough people who are embarrassed by me in public that I appreciate someone who is comfortable to be with.

The dork forgot his mask. He might have forgotten but also he likes these minor rebellions that allow him to exert a measure of control in a world full of chaos. My job is to not be a fishwife and nag, but to just trust he’ll figure things out.

But he drops this information on me 15 minutes before doors at Carnegie Hall open. I should kill him. Just push him in front of a bus. But I don’t because I love him and I want him around for the rest of my life.

He figured this one out when we were at CVS while I wasn’t looking and then making me leave with him against my vociferous protestations. When we got outside, he just started walking away. And then he pulled a mask out of his coat pocket and put it on his face. He’d stolen it from a pack. I just rolled my eyes and laughed.

Our tickets were in different sections, so we didn’t get to talk during the show. Not that anyone talked. Everyone was just enraptured. Before the concert even started, a video played of the last time Brandi covered Blue. Elton John tells her backstage that the concert would live on forever and everyone would claim to have been there. Chills. Just chills.

I cried during the first song. Brandi just soared over “All I Want.” She caressed that song like a fragile China faced doll. She knew she was in possession of something very valuable and she treated it tenderly.

I had a panic attack mid show, which I want to attribute to my fear of heights. I can’t stand balconies. And this was my view:

I went from feeling good to feeling like I was gonna die and the whole place could collapse into a hole in the ground to being brought back to life during the course of a concert. As though I were delivered from hell itself and at the end of it was V, waiting for me at the elevator.

I did something stupid. I forgot myself and touched his coat lapel. He has this very cute navy pea coat and he knows it wears well on him. But it wasn’t so much that as I had all these emotions stirred up because of the music and the scare and Joni and I was feeling particularly raw.

I caught it though…the inside of me beginning to pour out…and I pulled my hand away. In a completely silent elevator filled with people. I didn’t feel embarrassed. But I did feel like this detente I’ve created with a happy fiction of “I’m not completely head over heels for him” was disturbed by that single touch. So I locked up all the raw nerves and just shut down emotionally.

V loved the show. He cried too. I got the tickets for me, yes, but also for him because he wouldn’t have gone otherwise and this was something he needed to see.

Unpacking feelings is hard. The whole reason I call him V is that he’s Voldemort. He’s the one whose name should not be mentioned because I got so sick of hearing myself talking about him to Maddie and Mikey and Andrea and Celia and Emily. They got sick of it too. Andrea has her own Voldemort. So does Mikey. They all have. So at least they’re kind about it.

But when does it end? I’m not sure it does. He’s not going to stop being him and I am never going to stop being amused and enchanted by him being him. So about all I can do is tell him facts are facts. Suck it up. I love you a ridiculous amount and I’m not going to make it weird.

Telling myself to think less isn’t going to work. And actual dating right now sounds so unappetizing. So this is safe. My feelings are safely parked in a human being who is ok with the situation. Him being ok with it just goes to show you why I feel the way I do about him. He can handle it.

Monday night I’m having a dinner at my place. The first of winter dinners and safe spaces. Things that will get us through the drudgery of grey skies and short days.

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