The Continuing Adventures of Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl.
“The below is an excerpt of a forthcoming novella. It’s autobiographical fiction (with the emphasis on fiction). Book forthcoming in Fall 2012, the first from elephant journal press.”
Love, love, love. It’s the reason we get married and divorced, buy homes we can’t afford, have children we don’t know how to raise. Love is infatuation. Love doesn’t exist. Attraction exists, friendship exists. ~ Dr. Willard Evans
Sweat can be clean and salty and smell like sunshine.
It’s not always bad. Sometimes, it’s love.
She lay on his chest, in the crook of his pale arm. He climbed a lot, so his shoulders were round.
Her hair was the color of sunshine on water, just after it blinds you. Or, he could just say her hair was blond, but that’s too easy, too literal, too unliterary. When you’re in love, you have to describe your lover’s hair in hyperbolic, poetical terms.
And, boy, was he in love.
They hadn’t left his bed, his big organic (offa craiglist—it’d been (barely) used in a yuppie guest room, and he’d got it at one-third of the original price) mattress on the floor, all morning. It was probably 11, now, and he was getting cooked by the impatient sunshine through the open windows. It was hot; it was summer; and they were lying in sweat. He dreamed of a cool pool, pale blue.
They’d had slow sex that morning, and cozy sex once in the middle of the night, and urgent sex once the night before. She was perfect, her lips were perfect, her eyes were perfect, her skin was perfect, her hair was perfect, with cute long chopped brown bangs nearly covering her eyes, like a shy fox.
He’d just read an article in the NY Times about how bangs were popular, stopping halfway through when he discovered he was reading an article about girls’ bangs.
She was spiritual. He was not—he didn’t even like himself. She was affluent—he’d always been poor, a self-made man. She completed him.
He was grounded, dirty where she was clean and ethereal.
She was quiet, bored, self-contained, private…he was activism and uptight about the environment and where his clothes came from and who made his coffee and how much they got paid and she drove a perfect, leased SUV and he road his bike everywhere, even in the winter while he took on the endless issues—gmos, childhood obesity, plastic, BPA, tiger farms…of the day.
She didn’t care about any of that stuff. But she wanted to, she guessed. It was just that she didn’t know about any of that stuff…she was no hipster, no hippie, she’d been raised to be perfect and fit and that was all. And he was hot and he could teach her, and she was a willing eager vessel, ready to take communion.
And then he knew he needed what she brought: her silken naked open happiness. He wasn’t happy. He was insecure, desperately insecure beneath his weak charm and moody temper and bitter idealism. His hands shook, she’d noticed. He figured she could teach him to meditate, and get him to yoga class more often. She could help him look inside, and he could help her raise her navel-gazing vision and dedicate her resources to something greater.
She called him yin.
He got up, finally…finally, he’d been waiting for the urge to get up, and he went to the bathroom again and he let his dog out again and he came back and made coffee and brought it upstairs. She was sitting straight up in bed, now, red dark golden hair, the color of a wet fox. She got up and drank her black coffee, naked, went to the bathroom and ran the water. He panicked, putting a bucket beneath the faucet, saving the cold-getting-hot water for his plants. And then the water was hot, and she smiled and ran it over her Botticelli bangs, her hair going dark, flowing smooth, losing its curls in the hotwaterfall, and she smiled.
She smiled at him. He stood at the edge of the clawfoot tub, insistently holding the (PVC-free) shower curtain open, smiling at her smiling through the water.
And he stepped in and joined her and the water ran and ran for far longer than the ideal three minutes, but she was wrapped up around him, against the wall, the water splashing everywhere, and he went all up into her yet again, tired, weak, holy, happy, finally…he had reached the promised land and it wasn’t a land, it wasn’t a place, it was a woman’s mind, and heart, and…and legs, and bangs, and narrow shoulders.
And finally the ancient glacier that was his cold loneliness receded—only say three or four girls he’d now been with in three years, and one of those girls had tortured him, taught him unwilling lessons—finally his aloneness was warming, finally he was filled, even as he filled her, with true love. And true love is like warm butter, like magic dust, like too-raw weak sex in a hot shower.
Sex is love and love is easy, it just happens. The trick is to walk in its way, and get run over.
And the dark forest closed over them both, and sighed. This wasn’t love.
For more chapters: Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl Facebook Page.