I miss very specific things about the last man I loved. His long fingers, strumming a guitar in my kitchen. Both of us singing along to the classic-rock station while we drove through the hills of Central New York. The mixed-media art he made out of reconstructed musical instruments and hung in the woods for his friends’ annual music festival. The pure happiness on his face the time we met a giant Malamute named Gershwin on a snowy street in Hudson, New York. A Thanksgiving trip to Montreal where we ate foie gras poutine and watched Beverly Hills Cop and spent hours wandering Bozar. The way he’d randomly surprise me with bodega flowers or hide a copy of Carrie Brownstein’s book on my bookshelf for me to find. He knew me, in a way I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to know me—still don’t, except for maybe you.
I told a friend (OK, my therapist) a couple of weeks ago that I want to run before I get hurt. I never want to run; I never have run. Show me a man who will hurt me and I will accelerate toward him, arms wide open. It isn’t pretty, but it’s true. I’m supposed to have better instincts these days, supposed to not only see the warning signs but be able to interpret them as impending doom. An astrologer once told me I’m a psychic white witch, yet twice I’ve been convinced I was done looking and turned out to be wrong. But I guess it’s not like I didn’t see the red flags; it’s that I was fine with them. And then there’s that BoJack quote: “When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”
I wonder: If, when I was absolutely certain, I was wrong, does my lack of certainty foretell something better? Or maybe it’s just that this year, I can’t see past the end of the week, as though there’s no future to be certain of, let alone who I’ll spend it with.
I live in the moment, or I claim to. Nothing tests that more than when I’m heartbroken, or think I’m about to be. The irony of all of this is that what I love about you is how present I am when I’m with you, how it doesn’t matter if there’s a future, or even a past. Early on in my relationship with him, I said, “Being with you feels like something I would do.” It was the same sort of feeling, present-moment yet somehow eternal. And that, I guess, is how I love: by extrapolating a single data point into statistical certitude. I always believe so fiercely that things will work out.
You, less so: “I don’t know what happens next,” you’ve said over and over, “but I’m glad we found each other.” Am I? I go back and forth. And yet, in a year where nothing has made sense, you make sense to me. Being with you feels like something I would do.