You are everything I want—and I do not want that. I do not want my projections, merely. They are empty, brittle, sour.
I like sour, when it is a lemon.
I do not like sour, when it is a heart.
I do not want to fall for my projection of you—I will fall into your mirage and come up with desert dust in my mouth.
As Dr. Seuss says, love is love when it is not what we dreamed of, but something better, weirder: because it is real.
I do not love you—I do not even know you. We’ve been out together a few times. But you check off the silly and meaningless and serious and meaningful boxes on my could-love list, so far: intelligent. Witty—I like to ping-pong in joyful conversation. Beautiful. Tall—I’m tall, I like tall. Motivated by service, not selfishness or greed. Active, outgoing, adventurous. Loving of your family. Frank. Stylish—so stylish. You even have an accent—which, as a boy too-long contained by geography, brings me a feeling for the overseas.
Today I noticed your eyes light up. Even on a rainy day.
Yesterday we had a perfect day—only I ruined it. I am not sure you noticed, for you saw me again today.
Yesterday was Farmers’ Market—we met over coffee, in line in the middle of what I call the cat walk at the Market. I was greeted for hours by everyone in this town—I am well known, and their warmth buoyed me up and relaxed me as I warily squinted into the sun of our new friendship.
I was nervous, quiet—but my community buoyed me up, and I took care not to be distracted by them or pretentiously captivated by their regard for me. I paid attention to you, and we sat on the ground and listened to music and you ate and shared Korean sushi from a friend of mine’s new food truck and we got Kombucha from another friend’s trailer and we bagged kale and bought plants for our Spring gardens back at our respective homes. You wore my hat against the sun. You looked good in it, at home. I was dressed casually, in ripped pants, a cowboy shirt, well-sourced Monsanto-free socks from another friend’s company. I bought good bread. I bought good honey, thinking to give it to you later if we liked one another—it is special honey from a friend, local, truly raw, mixed with herbs good for one’s digestion.
I fell for you months before this—just seeing you strut down the street alone or with friends, so stylish, so tall, so beautiful, so intelligent, so kind, so far away.
Then you and I did yoga together, strangers still, and after class you walked out and I walked out and after I showered you were there in coat room as we got our shoes on and I could see you listening to me and a friend talk about my shoes, which are wing-tips, by Filson. And then you left and I left after and my staff was outside and I saw you walking off, disappearing into another month of not knowing you. And I would not have it.
So I called after you, not knowing your name: “Lady in Red!” I was not loud, but you turned around.
And finally we met and talked and after a few minutes of charm I spaced out, thinking of my staff behind me waiting for me to talk with them about something…and I said good-bye but I knew your name.
And I looked you up (we had mutual pals) and you accepted my friend request and a week later I messaged you and you messaged back, yes! And that is how we met at the Farmers’ Market.
And after the Market you went your way and me, mine, and we went to our homes, dropped off our groceries, got our dogs, and met at my house. You came to the front door and I greeted you and sent you around back so the dogs could meet and I went out back and the dogs played and we hiked off for a long hike.
I have always been bad on first dates—not that this was a date, yet—this was a pre-date, I think. A date to see if we wanted to go on a date. I have always been comfortable and confident when it comes to women I don’t care for, much—but you, I could tell I was interested, and scared, and insecure, and we hiked and talked and had fun but I could feel my fear. And eventually I cooled in the storm of my fear, and got quiet. Though I am not sure you noticed, since we talked about horseback riding together, and visiting Shambhala together, and running together, and yogaing together, other things together.
And today we got together again, and I was more relaxed, with a friend in Boxcar, and then you and I went to another cafe and worked together, and we were so quiet, and comfortable—it is a delight to work with someone and not have to talk. And we did talk, comparing music and other things. And it was not ’til the end of a few hours that I grew cold from hope of knowing you and fear of losing you, though I do not yet know you and can not yet lose what I do not “have.”
And you went your way, and me mine, and perhaps I will see you again, or perhaps not. Perhaps I will love you or be loved by you, or perhaps we will just be brief friends, or perhaps nothing.
The fear we are presented with when life assents to hold up everything we think we have ever wanted and feared to lose? Is you, so far.
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