Things I would like to do before I get to you.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 13, 2014
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jennifer decker

“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.”
~ Achilles

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

THINGS i would like rough coverGet your copy of Things I would like to do with You.


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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


26 Responses to “Things I would like to do before I get to you.”

  1. Lara Vasvari says:

    My favourite 'Things'!

  2. Blake Detherage says:

    I love that Bernstein quote. It feels like my life lately.

  3. Jami Johnson says:

    I have never loved words so much as I've loved these.

  4. Katie Mitchell says:

    These are always a favorite. Beautiful words.

  5. Victoria says:

    When you write stuff like this I have a hard time believing that scores of women aren't beating down your door, chasing after your bike and pretty much just throwing themselves at you wherever you go. My goodness.

    On an entirely separate note, I like how you write about brown eyes. Most writers write about their fantasy women with light eyes and there are so few lovely things aside from chocolate to which one can compare the color brown. I like the whiskey and mahogany similes. I usually tell people my eyes are the color of root beer.

  6. Asifa says:

    I think this might be the best thing I have ever read on Elephant, love, love, love it!

  7. christinajm says:

    This is perfect/beautiful/amazing/life changing.

  8. I should have kissed her in that mortal moment

  9. Tara Sar says:

    If she is crazy; kiss her. Brief summary of both life and love.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    The most recent wonderful amazing lady I dated, right before we parted ways (as friends), I asked her if she wanted to go on a two-day road trip to some of Colorado's amazing hot springs.

    Her reply: "You'll just be working all the time, probably."

    She was right. I'm one of the most boring people I know, though I can be a lot of fun when I'm not working. Which is almost never. 😉

    Thank you, Vicitoria, for your generous words!

  11. Thor says:

    My girlfriend and I reading these words at the same time. Separately. Sort of. Together. Definitely. While this would resonate at any stage of a relationship, or absent of one, it translates beautifully when you have traveled so far emotionally, and separately, to get where we are now. Together. Definitely.

  12. Kalee says:

    Lovely words as always… Twice this morning I have seen a post of yours state that you have yet to find your life partner because you “work” all the time… I wonder who are these ladies you meet who are not working… Isn’t life really about working in one form or another? Working on making the world better… Working on improving ourselves… Working on relationships with our mate… Our friends? Working on making our home more functional or cozy… Working in our gardens growing our food or flowers? Or maybe it’s all playing… Life is meant to be LOVe and love can be manifested in so many forms… movement and creation and speaking and writing and learning and reading and working to name but a few… Why are the ladies who move through your life fixated on which of those manifestations you choose to focus more of your energy on? But on the other hand, perhaps it is you who is making the choice… Perhaps the love, the love-child, the lover, that you have been manifesting IS your elephant journal. If that be the case I have to thank you for that. What a gift that you are sharing your heart, your thoughts, yearnings, the whisperings of your soul not with just one lovely lady, but with countless human beings across the globe… I’m sure this doesn’t make those nights without a real flesh and blood body wrapped in your arms any easier to bear the burden of loneliness…. I know that ache too well, despite a life of fullness in most other ways. I guess that’s my point in this comment. If you continue to choose this journal as your way of manifesting and showing love in the world: Thank you. And you are not alone in that Waylon, even in those moments when you are lonely…

  13. kristinalicia72 says:

    Why is it that more men in the world don't understand that this is exactly the crap us chicks lick off a spoon?! Just a DROP of this level of sincerity and thought would totally make me forget about all the gross little things men do when they think women aren't looking. Throw a heaping scoop of vajrayana madness in to the mix and a girl like me could get cynical about finding the love I haven't yet found in this lifetime.

    I'm so glad to see that the world of online dating hasn't totally assassinated romance in men. Gives me hope, thank you, THANK YOU!

  14. christine says:

    Beautiful. x

  15. elephantjournal says:

    April M Beautifully written but there are those of us who mistakenly picked before the list was over and the children have been born and the years have all gone and we still have not found the last one on the list.

    Waylon: Wow. Your comment just broke my heart in two. Love.

  16. Nancy says:

    April, exactly. Thanks for posting this comment. I choose to believe that my mistaken choice, and the 31 years of living with it/him, has prepared me for what is to come….that last one. I will not give up.

  17. andeejo says:

    ah these are so fun to read! i genuinely hope that the last one on my list (even if it's not really the last one, just maybe hopefully the one that gets to fill the mid-part of life, at least, even if i hope for longer, but especially now, the part where children are still possible even if they don't happen and where bodies are still easy to enjoy) does arrive soon, whenever that perfect time will be… and i have to thank you for writing these often enough to remind me that i can't lose hope entirely that there are other people out there who think at least sort of as intensely as i do 🙂

  18. Roots Yoga & Fitness says:

    Why do we hold out for The One? Are we truly in the present moment if we are continually searching? Are we not loving the person we are with now with everything because we are waiting for The One? Why do we hold back?

    I am currently reading an amazing book entitled, "How to Be An Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving" by David Richo. He talks about the five A's. Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing as fulfilling our emotional needs. He states that when we did not receive fulfillment in one or more of the five A's, a bottomless pit was created in us, an unfulfillable yearning for the missing pieces of our puzzling and arid past. The recurrent fantasy of, or search for , the "perfect partner" is a strong signal from our psyche that we have work to do on ourselves. A great read at a much needed time in my life.
    I believe that The One has been right in front of us the whole time, if we looked in a mirror.

    Beautifully written Waylon, really. When is that book being published? I will buy heaps of copies to give to anyone struggling with love & relationship issues. Going within is the first step to forgiveness and finding true love.
    Thank you and keep it going! I absorb it like a sponge.

  19. Rachel Layman says:

    This is so lovely. It made me cry a bit.
    The magic is in the minutiae and our willingness to live there and see one another.
    It is alchemy.
    A meditation on unconditional love.

    Thank you.

  20. kvs2 says:


  21. Jeff says:

    Where is the picture at the top of this page from? Who is that beautiful woman?

  22. sonrisa287 says:

    Yes! This opened the dusty velvet curtains on my freshly healed broken heart and left me with flutters of hope and excitement for the first time in weeks. Bless you, wild, conscious, beautifully vibrant man.
    Bless you 🙂

  23. elephantjournal says:

    It's from the movie vaguely referenced in the story…Flyboys. The movie is alright; the actress is wow.

  24. Many Hearts As Thunder says:

    Time is the central crux of our existence and when one considers how much time we utilize anticipating what is next, we lose in the revelry of now. Only the absence of truly great love can make the heart yearn for said love. But be warned, love cannot exist in a vacuum because we are both the progenitors and recipients of this magnificent experience. Therefore, as we straddle the metaphorical fence of wanton searching and wanton yearning, we must consider the juxtapose nature of love as both selfish and selfless. So rather than focus on the conquest or acquisition of love, we should focus on love as a journey with two destinations, as any other journey.

    Our starting point is selfish in nature because we must first learn to love, accept and value ourselves before we can arrive at loves ultimate destination; Loving, accepting and valuing another. So in this regard, let us journey toward preparing ourselves to be worthy of being another hearts destination

    ( or the last name on their list)

    Ksukuwiyuw (Chumash for Respectfully)

    Many Hearts as Thunder

  25. roopam says:

    Precious words 🙂

  26. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this! I love the Achiles quote!!