“Her heart sank into her shoes as she realized at last how much she wanted him. No matter what his past was, no matter what he had done. Which was not to say that she would ever let him know, but only that he moved her chemically more than anyone she had ever met, that all other men seemed pale beside him.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Our beginning has been literary. We write notes to one another but we have not kissed. And now I am half a world away, yet your notes reach me just as quickly, and my notes reach you just as quickly. I would like to continue to remember you from time to time as I travel, and write you new notes as if in arching gray graphite pencil as if on a scrap of paper. Here are these scraps of paper: they tell of my past relationships and chapters and bring you to now, so that you will know all of me and so that I may let go of all of me and leap into the unknown future with you, hand in hand.
I would like to add more offerings to this beginning as I continue to travel.
I am on the road. I am alone, surrounded by strangers, friendly strangers, friends. But you are with me, in your absence.
I would like to continue this lonely traveling, for it is rich.
This morning: an old heavy green military bicycle, a light-weight blue sweater, a light-colored blue cotton oxford dress shirt. My body is fit and ready, it is Summer again, and I have learned to ask questions and make conversation with strangers.
In my home country we are different—or perhaps it is this mode of traveling: here on the road it is not a bother to bother a stranger with small talk, or a question of directions. Or perhaps it is that they can tell I am different: I am a stranger and strangers see it and become friendly.
Still, I see my home country everywhere: how they wear headphones to block out the world, how they drop plastic on their perfect beach, how they listen to our songs and read about our celebrities.
“Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.” ~ Roger de Rabutin
When a song transports us back to past lovers and sweet days and sad hearts, I think of her with appreciation, then snap back to here, wherever I am—and I feel gratitude for you, now.
Do you feel a small part of yourself traveling with me?
I am in a cool gray city full of strong stone buildings with gloriously unnecessary architecture, and necessary craftsmanship that is as good today as when it was shaped centuries ago. I would like to take these moments to write you this note, and pin it up for you—then I must get out and run around, and fill my eyes with newness.
I am in a spacious well-loved white and cement café, formerly a warehouse.
You should do nothing
that you do not wish to do
be here with me
Nick Drake is singing softly, sadly, before his end
the quiet roar of the silver espresso machine
strange Northern pastries with cardamom
gray morning light
a dog, in the café, waiting to play outside
bicycles, tattoos, thick sweaters
A white candle dripping neatly on my gold table.
all of it so new and yet so cool, so familiar, this world of ours.
The uncertainty in our literary love is enough, for now. But not for long, for I am no coward, I am a gentle man—and you are no dilettante, you are a wolf.
I would like to tell you of my journey from far away, for it is romantic to be alone without you, and yet to feel so close to you…
The girls play guitar and fiddle and sing softly in high lilting laughing voices across the street and I stomp with disarming charming abandon!
The girls sway in their shirt dresses with thin belts and olive skin and perfectly dark green eyes that hold my gaze, and smile around it. They remind me that we need not be shy in our affection. They are forthright and strong in their openness—not weak. They are fiercely hungry for that which is good to eat.
There is nothing wrong with corny. Mushy. Cheesy. We learned to be tough in school. It is good to be tough. It is good to have a tough spine behind an open heart. It is good to remember that there is no vulnerability in complete openness. If we are all the way open there is nothing to hit.
Openness is tough.
Machismo is ginned-up fear.
Relaxing is tough.
Our future life does not exist, except in the seeds we planted yesterday, when I invited you to join me for my birthday month.
Tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and ten tomorrows after that, and a thousand tomorrows and moon cycles from now, if we cultivate this garden, we may grow a life co-mingled. It is not likely, but love is not a thing of odds—it is a thing to make happen if we wish to make it so. This is how all great affairs have arisen.
I would like to build a tiny house in my backyard out of old things.
If you are mad at me or when I am mad at you or if you want to write or when I want to write or if you want to do yoga or if I want to play pool or if I want to sleep separately (maybe I am sick and when I am sick I may snore) well you or I can go there. I would like for it to be made entirely out of local things with history and therefore quality in them.
And we can host guests and use it however we would like.
Because space is a good gift to give one another.
It will be raised from the ground so the water and the earth can still meet, and Red dog can dig holes down under it and lie in the cool shade. And on the roof I will plant xeriscapeable edible fruits and build a deck and put an old claw foot bathtub with a canvas cover over it that I can fill with cold or hot water as the season suggests, and then the water drain out down into the the victory garden, below. The view of the mountains cradling the sky from above our home is mind-pausing.
I would like a woman who is beautiful,
and strong, adventurous, lustful—
who can take care of herself—
who laughs loudly and unselfconsciously,
who will be a good mother, some day—
who is careful when doing dangerous things—
who looks up at the sky and the trees and breathes in sweet life
instead of checking her phone one hundred and fifteen times a day, on average—
who cares for the truth above comfort—
who is patient, usually—
and when impatient, is forgiving of herself and others.
I would like a woman who likes to
and naked indoors
who keeps her hair wild even when she grows old
who doesn’t mind wrinkles, or scars
but who doesn’t shy away from her simple beauty, either.
I would like a woman who, most of all, is kind.