“Sexy panties!” “Well, these are my period-slash-sleep panties, but thank you, dear.” I watch her brush her teeth from the bed we are sharing in Colorado, doing the New York Times daily mini and picking my nose. “I have to wake up earlier, do you want me on this side of the bed?” College sex life sure is raucous.
I always hoped to one day be a boring adult, anyway. As a kid, at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia (not a joke), there was a faux-supermarket in which you could fill up a kid-sized shopping cart. When selecting a cereal, I didn’t even get the sugary one. Later on, I invented a country and simulated the weather for one year. Mostly, it was just partly cloudy.
Then I grew up, just a bit, steadily limbing the branches of the decision tree diagram of my life’s future. For example, I gave up a full ride lacrosse scholarship to Harvard at age 8, theoretically, in quitting tyke’s lacrosse. Finding a forever-in-love partner is one of the ultimate ways to limb your branches, besides dying or invading the Capital, maybe. You are locked in (except when you’re not: shoutout mom and dad!). It’s a massive decision to fall in love—and the worst part is that it’s not really even a decision.
Furthermore, I usually hate any of the bits of dust that obscure the gunsight of the future. If I know about an appointment a few days in advance, I can just write those days off. The future event fixes me in place like a paralysis freeze ray. My ideal calendar is just a vacuum. I want 9 a.m. to gaze at a vanilla ice cream canvas of a day. That way I can seize it exactly as I see fit. Which, sometimes, is not seizing it at all. Just imagine if Ben or Jerry were delivered Moose Tracks as a base instead of vanilla as a base. They’d be pissed and confused. Ben and Jerry, by the way, were always madly in love, oozing homoerotic sexuality—and cookie dough.
People love each other best, Gabriel Garcia Márquez says, in times “without hurry or excess.” It’s the fifth episode of New Girl in a row: “It’s Jess!” It’s the mundane, the grocery store visits or rainy days—the anti-honeymoon. It’s indiscriminate farts. And it’s days that pass just as indiscriminately: in a blissful unanalyzed unawareness.
On another night, we stay at an Airbnb near the airport, the shag carpet inn, forty bucks. “Live, Laugh, Love,” says a sign on the door. And another similar sign inside. Jesus, on a small wooden cross, looks down upon a porcelain Republican elephant. In a dusty framed photograph, the woman, our host, is in a beige turtleneck, standing beside her vested husband and adult children. They are standing in front of an equally beige felt backdrop, leaning on one another and, inexplicably, their arms are crossed tightly across their chests. They’re all gleeful. Live, laugh, love, baby.
I call my mom from Trader Joe’s the next day because I don’t know where to find the pizza sauce. She’ll know! “Laughter,” she tells me after she finds the sauce, “is the key. Nothing is more important than laughing in bed next to someone.”
Is the trick to find someone that completely transcends dust on the gun sight of your life? Maybe someone who looks down the sight with you and the vision is somehow not double, not differing, but a crystal clear view all the way down the line until death or Capital invading. Someone you can lie next to in the disarmament of falling asleep, dropping any facade, that process which is almost like death—which is almost like love. Even if the future is unknown, because it is, can it, at least, not be an item of dread or fear? What if true love is just repose, like the way two old folks sit on a porch and just know each other and laugh?
I greet her in the bathroom doorway with a kiss. She rubs the toothpaste from the sides of her mouth onto the sleeves of my sleep shirt. “Love,” I say. And laughter descends on the Colorado apartment bedroom.
Categories: April 6 2021, grant woods, review