You’re a funny girl

Lenny Bruce: You…are more important than God.

Midge Maisel: You paid attention.

Lenny leans in.

Lenny Bruce: To you? Always.

Funny girls need smart men. Funny girl…THE Funny Girl…Fanny Brice needed Nicky Arnstein. To her own detriment.

I watched that musical from the front row of a Broadway theater last July and saw a version of my life play out onstage. Afterwards Andrea said to me, “I realized in the first act that this musical is about you and him.”

It was. But there is no me and him. There is me, living a life, minute by minute, hour by hour. And there is him: a phantom I’m not sure I ever knew the first thing about.

He doesn’t exist in my world. I try to forget about him and then glimpses appear in others and there he is. Just some greasy, trashy genius. Serge Gainsbourg. Matty Healy. Louis Garrel.

Nikola sat next to me at IFC in the Village while I melted into my seat at the physical proximity of this condescending Frenchman. I was ridiculous. I would have laughed at anything he said. He was that charismatic and sexy. But it wasn’t just Louis. It was Louis’ resemblance to someone else.

Not having any control when someone appears and disappears in my life is maddening and it’s a thing of the past. I’m in the middle of building a life here, not a Jenga tower. Stability or death! I’m figuring out my world, my community, my career, my artistic voice, my role in the big scheme of things so I can get to heaven in a little row boat. That means no bad boys. Especially no bad boys with cocaine addictions. Not even the ones who tell me, “I don’t buy it. I just use it when it’s offered to me.”

So what is it with this one person who does not exist in my world? Do I want to reform him? No. Do I want him to save me? Ha! I think I just want to live in a world where the possibility of his brilliance outlasts his need for self-destruction.

I used to pray for him. I did. Anytime I was filled to the brim with joy and the excess needed to go somewhere, I’d close my eyes and pray. I try to pray with a smile. I prayed for his health, his humility, his fortitude, his sobriety. He didn’t know I was praying. I finally told him one night over the phone when he was sober and talking sanity. He said he could feel it. My heart soared that night.

I wonder if I should have said anything. Because the next thing I knew he found a way to be horrid again. I stopped including him in my prayers. That alone felt harsh. I know it’s wrong to pray something bad happens to someone. But is it wrong to just stop praying for someone and hope the absence of prayer is enough to make someone feel your hurt? If it is, then I am wrong.

I moved on. I lived my life, minute by minute and hour by hour. It bothered me when I caught him checking in on me like a coward, too afraid to face me, but bold enough to come lurking around my digital presence for who knows what. Nostalgia? Territory? Shadenfreude??

I applied to grad school. I got into grad school. I started making art. Switched up friend groups. Worked on the woo woo. Grew up. Improved my credit score. Cleared the deck of all the addicts. Learned to cut my hair. Picked up a few skills.

This last one involves him. He doesn’t even know it. I figured out how to summon him. I’ll likely never talk to him again in this life. Not directly. All I have to do is turn on some music, close my eyes, get very happy and visualize a memory of the two of us. Sometimes it’s from my vantage point. Sometimes it’s from his. Tiny, happy memories that belong to me forever and ever that he can never take away.

And then in 24 hours he types something onto his phone and up pops this website. Without fail.

It’s funny is what it is. Of all the people on God’s green earth, why him? It used to be that when I wanted him to contact me, I’d get contacted by other Israelis or even a Palestinian. I’d get my wires crossed. Now I can isolate it. Just him.

If the future plays out like the past has, he’ll read these words like Bastian in The Neverending Story and have thoughts that I will never hear.

That part is unimportant.

It sounds crazy. Bananas that I know how to summon one human being in all of the world. At least in a way I can quantify.

Why do I keep summoning this person? Is it curiosity? Ego? Is he a benchmark? Am I flirting with disaster? Or am I figuring something out without exposing myself to danger?

I stopped writing because he was the reason I wrote. When I started a blog I didn’t know it would become a back channel to a very select readership. I’m not sure 90% of what’s written has any value.

As Celia said the other day, “Why questions aren’t very interesting.” If 90% of what I write is junk and 10% has promise, then I have to keep writing. And if he is the person to whom I write, and it costs me very little, then so be it. That isn’t a concession to wanting more. It is a purpose in itself. I never know what I am doing until I have done it, at which point I am usually the most surprised of anyone.

The goal is to spin experience into wisdom and share that. If I’m going to mess up, let it at least be for someone’s benefit. Whom? Good question. I’d like to know, too. It would give me courage. Or maybe resentment. I don’t know.

What a strange person to be connected to. And only one-way connection. I don’t sense it working the other way around. That’s probably for the best. I have asses to kick and names to take.

As what? Of all the things in the world, I think it’s as some kind of librarian. But a cool one. A funny one. A well-dressed one. Sexy? Eh. Selectively.

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