Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Senior Sex(less) and the City: #21
The name was so familiar, it didn’t seem at all out of place in my inbox. Yet when I thought about it, I realized I haven’t seen that name in—could it be?—thirty years?! And when you figure how long I’ve known him, we go back even further than that.
He lived on the other side of my neighborhood, so we were practically children together. A friend of Joe’s, I think. What was I—15, 16 when we first met? I know I thought he was cute. But he had a girlfriend. Later, after they’d broken up, we dated off and on for years.
And now here he was emailing me. Did I remember him? Ha. To me, he looks exactly the same, right down to that scar I loved because it somehow added a slightly rugged defiance to those almost-too-pretty features. And how I loved his conspiratorial grin, the way he leaned in as if we alone got the joke….
What I remember most for some reason is the time he picked me up for a date and I asked him what he’d done all day. He told me he’d been mowing lawns after work. I guess I asked him if it was a job. His mother was widowed and I knew he mowed his own family’s grass. He answered that he always mowed his neighbors’, too. Wasn’t that a job, I asked? I still remember the way he said it. “No,” he shrugged. “They’re old.” As if that explained it. And it did. I believe I fell in love with him just a little bit at that moment.
After we emailed a few times, I sent him my number so we could catch up. He is recently divorced. Although neither of us is from this city, we both live surprisingly close now. And I could no longer use the excuse that I’m not ready to date someone new. Technically this isn’t someone new, is it?
It was really nice when I started to explain a situation with someone we both used to know…and I didn’t have to explain. Not only does he already know the people involved, but he went through something similar himself. He understood my feelings exactly, and from more than one perspective. It’s a situation not many people understand. He’s experienced his own losses, and they’ve given him depth and character. Wisdom.
Once again, it’s the scars I’m drawn to. What an unexpected comfort it is, this intimacy, like something we alone get. I believe I fell in love with him just a little bit. All over again.
My friends are my estate. ~Emily Dickinson