“Two things are needed to achieve great things: a plan, and not quite enough time.” ~ Leonard Bernstein
Things I would like to do before I get to you.
I would like to get through my list and read your name, finally.
This is where I am at. I am close to the end of my list of loves. Once I meet you, the list is ended.
I am nervous and shy, around you. I am confident and charming, around you. I would like to kiss you first just tentatively, tentatively, your confidence makes me excitedly careful, subdued…I reach for my humor but it is napping. And so I stand and gently and heavily press my feet upon our Earth, and she will guide me into your laughter and through our conversation. You agree to let me take you out: we go to the new eco restaurant that I like because it marks “V” and has big portions and good coffee.
Dinner is good and goes quickly. You drink sake and I drink sake and you drink more sake and I drink much more sake and then dessert. Dessert is the time for us to decide if, later, soon, we would like to undress one another: outside through the windows we see golden lights against the windy early evening that—fast!—turns to black wet night.
I pretend to walk you home while you pretend to want to go home: instead we walk to my home. Along the way I show you the big old wide gray tree that I like: we stand close together, so close we see only eyes. To our right is gray bark and above us is late Winter’s prematurely exuberant first buds. It is March and it will snow again and they will suffer for their impertinence!
I would like to kiss your strong neck: it is regal like a Morgan horse. I would like to hold your arms up and press you against the gray tree and kiss you again.
I would like to hold your head as we kiss for the first time and soon the fiftieth time beneath the wide old gray tree.
But it is too soon too quick and so we pretend we would just like to talk, and walk. We talk again by the creek, and walk more as the damp darkness tries to make us cold. Both of us have dressed up instead of wearing rain jackets.
I would like to study your eyes: they hold mysteries and lamps in them.
If you are she, then you are the last name on the List of loves who I will know, in this life.
You have a list, I have a list, we all have a list: a list of names of those whom we date. So I ask her out, and her, and her, and we go out, or we hike, or we whatever: and it is a great first date, or an okay one, or a weak one; and we go out again or we do not. And the List lengthens or shortens as life ripples backward or forward, a receding or advancing tide. And I am at the end of my time of my list: I am running my fingers over the thin end of this scroll. And this joyous, heartbreaking, or ordinary list of affairs must soon conclude with one name. Yours.
“I’ll tell you a secret. Something they don’t teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”
When I meet you and you meet me I do not know if you are to be the last name on the list of my loves, or if you are to be nobody to me, or if you are just another name on this long list.
It is likely that I have not yet met you. Where will I meet you? When? Will it be because I decide to go right instead of left one day, and get some groceries, or go left instead of right, to Smog City or Fog City or the Grand Old World?
Love hangs on the intertwined threads of limitless mutual coincidences: love is not a good business plan.
You know: when you are the last name on the list your name will be taken off the list and held close, and the list will be tossed: it will serve as kindling in our fireplace in our hearth.
And so you and I have not yet realized that we are the two human beings who will enjoy having too many breakfasts together, drinking one too many drinks together, going horseback riding together, doing laundry together, doing parties together, raising children together, composting neurosis for awake together.
We do not either of us know who our best friend in this world in this life will be, yet: it is me and it is you.
And yet your mahogany cerulean or light-brown or sea-green eyes are really out there, right now.
The other night I looked at you with the light moon above on your face and you waited in the open air for me to move at you—I did not. The other night I took you up against the back of the couch and we laughed, after. After love your hair is messy, long, curling gently; it used to be braided but now is a baroque disaster. And the other night was a lifetime ago, so many lifetimes, so many dates and beds and moonlit conversations, you in a robe opening, you in the fields above a cliff above Harbor City, you in a shop in the land of Green Mountains, you half naked in a stream, you in the pouring rain against the black iron fence, you bending, rocking, giggling, opening, opening, opening…so many good and heartbreaking days and nights in this sweetsadlonghardcynicalgood scroll.
And this scroll, this story, this novel, this list is no longer new, now: I can almost read the end of the List. I would take my time, though I can not wait.
Last night, alone, with you out there, I watched a movie, cozied beneath blankets with Red dog sleeping below me. The heroine reminded me of you—whom I have not met yet. She was not perfect—she was vulnerable and brave, strong and soft. Human is more attractive than perfect, because it is real.
And she reminded me that this list can be shortened by removing those from it whom I am not in line with, ethically. My bar ought to be set high—not merely for attraction, but for attraction and friendship, both.
And so I do not care for the color of your hair—it is gold, or black, tightly messily curled or simple straight. It is no matter. What will matter is what you want to do with who you are. And, of course, if you like me.
I will treasure your hair, and your eyes, and your little nose, and your mouth, and the back of your neck, and your strong legs, and your eyebrows: it does matter. But I would like you to know that what is important is what is important and we can laugh at the rest, and so we would like to enjoy our row in the boat across the stream.
The alchemy that is friendship mixed with attraction is important. The alchemy that is two hearts, two minds, two lives, two particular laughs in silly melody is important. And, it is yet unknown, as you are, to me.
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ~ Jack Kerouac
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