“Things I Would Like to Do with You.” is now available! It’s eco and lovely. Get your copy here.
“A man said to the universe:
‘Sir, I exist!’
‘However,’ replied the universe,
‘The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.’”
~ Stephen Hart Crane
This last year has been the first desert of my love life.
I would not like to do silly things, anymore.
There are only two things we need in a love—the third is something I shall not tell you about, but that we all know.
The first is that you are skilled at laughing—at good jokes as well as at my jokes, at setbacks, at yourself, at me.
Life is too important to be taken seriously.
The second is that you are beautiful. Your beauty would not be the chemical smell of models hiding, thinly, in slick magazines. Real beauty is earthen hand-shaped elegance. Real beauty lies in the little things: a red hoodie, hair tucked darkly behind an ear, a sad shy smile, taking the time to bus your diner’s mug in my favorite café. As a wise man once said, elegance cannot be shopped for. If we are elegant, we are elegant however we look or feel—just by how we pay attention to the ordinary details of our daily lives.
I admire how she parts her hair. I admire how she teases, a verbal ping-pong. I admire how she takes her time—that she takes the time to be present is beautiful. I admire how she softly coos over delicious food, as she takes her time. I admire how she takes her time getting ready (some would call her late). I admire how her eyes widen in enticing openness when she takes the time to listen.
Some days I feel too old for dating games—some days I am low, broken, beaten, weathered, experienced, meek. And yet some days I wish to date again: the fun, the newness, the nervousness, the soft hard body beneath and above and below and beside me. Either way, I am yet too young for marriage:
I am just right for a loving yet open-ended relationship.
I would like to marry and have children, soon, and yet now I am not looking to marry. Looking to marry does not lead to the kind of relationship that I would like to commit to. I would like first to love and be loved, to establish a foundation of communication, appreciation and humor. This love leads to marriage—or, if it does not, then it is what it is and that is—whether joyful or sad—a feast of further learning.
I would like to be proud that I have had the decency not to use people out of boredom, or to waste my own time on shimmering beauty if we do not have a workable connection. Perhaps, belatedly, weathering the waves and waves, I have learned to paddle, and to wait, to watch, to turn and paddle again, to pick my spot to stand to surf, eyes forward, grounded even in groundless water…perhaps, belatedly, I have begun to grow up.
As for loneliness: of course it is a great and powerful thing to be alone and to take care of myself inside of my loneliness. And of course I now, finally, love being by and with myself. It has taken time to get there—that is, it has taken time to get in here. An empty, dreamlike image of a Technicolor cowboy content-to-be-alone guards these words.
Still, as you, my dear friend, well know—to be alone and drink from one’s glass and then to find another who is joyful in her aloneness…to raise our glasses and open to her loneliness as she toasts mine, clink! That is something.
And so while I walk through this droughted desert, I would like to continue to joust and shout and laugh and play and strut and stress and breathe through that stress. I would meet her eight years ago and ask her out tonight. But she is dating someone. Or she is living away, in Gray Skyscraper City or Fog City.
She is too far away to water me, and I may die of thirst.
On this quiet path in this seemingly-endless pink desert, I would like to keep to myself and endure my longing. I would like to remember that this painful, solitary longing is itself the sensation of the awakening of the seed of goodness in my heart.
I would like to say that twice, and begin to hear echoes of the unsaid truth the second time I say it to myself.
And this is my mantra: we can begin to grow up.