Unexperienced Love

Where does all the unexperienced love go? The thought came into my head this morning as I slowly woke myself up in a warm bath. I haven’t said “I love you” to anyone in a romantic sense in five years. Five years. That’s a major chunk of life. So as I keep living, more as a parent than a partner, where is all the unexperienced love going?

I imagine my life must look very different from that of someone who wakes up every morning entwined with another. Yeah, my eleven-pound Chihuahua is often pressed up against me, but that doesn’t count. Thankfully. I appreciate his affection, but I’m not willing to call it a substitute. How about a weak stand-in, a love that reminds me how I can cherish another being, a love that encourages me to be selfless, like when he pleads with me to take him out for a social stroll when all I want to do is continue to read my book? And, yes, he usually wins the tug-o-war. I figure I’m completely in control of his life, and it’s my duty to make it as much fun as possible. Within reason. I don’t provide rabbits to chase or allow access to open trashcans filled with tissues ready for shredding. Both offerings could just get too messy.

I can’t imagine anyone’s life is meant to be absent of the opportunity to travel the complicated course of love. No matter how bumpy it is, I think most of us are more in touch with being alive via the context of love than in any other context. But given present circumstances, I’m sadly losing the connection to that part of me. I’m forgetting how to navigate a mate, how to give when I feel like taking, how to laugh when I want to criticize. I’m even forgetting the list of challenges. In shorthand, I’m not even able to remember what I’m forgetting.

When you’re single, it’s always presented as an in-between condition, not a long-term place to inhabit. So what happens when it becomes long-term? Do you redefine your life as that of a permanently single? Do you stop thinking about life with another?

I’d like to think of my unexperienced love as having a life of its own, as if since it’s not committed to me, it gets to roam and explore. It will likely encounter other people's unexperienced love out for a spin. I can imagine all the unexperienced love gathering together to compare the missteps and the near love, sharing moments punctuated by sighs and cigarettes and the occasional belly laugh that squirts soda through the nose.

And when my unexperienced love returns to me with a wealth of adventures to share including amusing encounters with unexperienced sex, we can laugh about them together over a celebratory bottle of champagne. Maybe it will even have some hearty advice. I’d love that. But then we’ll have to get serious and decide whether my unexperienced love really belongs to me or not, whether it is obligated to stay by my side and drop the ‘un’ so that we can launch into experience together.

But maybe instead of demanding that my unexperienced love remain here with me, it is time for me to join it on the road. If my unexperienced love can leave the comfort zone and seek new adventures, perhaps I can as well. Maybe I really can approach the solitary stranger to strike up conversation believing that this time it will be different, emboldened by the shadow of my unexperienced love playfully nudging me forward, convincing me that while these ventures in vulnerability can be frightening and unsettling, in the very least they provide anecdotes. “It’s all material,” my brave, unexperienced love explains.

So I take the step, a tinge of optimism pushing me forward, a smirky grin upon my face as I feel the presence of my prodding travel mate. I’ll be sure to report back.



The only patriotic outfit I ever put together is a pair of blue jeans, a white T-shirt, and a pair of red underwear. This configuration usually occurs by accident, and though only a very intimate friend would ever know, it still leaves me feeling a little self-conscious. I’ve never understood the flag waving mentality. It feels too inclusive, as if one accepts every attribute of a country. Can anyone really feel that way? I’m far pickier, preferring to select which qualities and traits I’d like to celebrate.

As a single woman, I marvel at marrieds who shrug and chuckle when describing spouses’ oddities. I envy the complete acceptance. If my mate displays appalling public behavior – well, appalling to me, at least – I want to distance myself from him as much as possible, sometimes going so far as to deny any knowledge of who he is. I’d probably apply the same denial to my child if walking away from him in a public place didn’t amount to abandonment.

Am I not accepting enough? Maybe. Or do I bond too intensely, thus seeing family members’ behavior as an extension of my own? Perhaps, but reexamining those who manage to laugh at their partners’ embarrassing behavior, I suddenly see it more clearly. They aren’t emitting chuckles of acceptance. No, they’re snorting through chuckles of superiority, of smugness. Their faces display smirks of “I’d never be that way,” alongside, “Aren’t I a great person for being so tolerant of my appalling spouse?” Suddenly it doesn’t seem so hard to be accepting, not when you can revel in self-congratulations.

But I must confess to one allegiance. When I walk down the Venice Boardwalk surrounded by its lively spirit of chaos, I feel very proud to be a Californian. Yes, without hesitation I claim my home state, which so often gets ridiculed for being out there and wacky. Wacky in just the way I like it, I must say. I’m proud to be of a state that puts forward innovations in environmental safety, that has liberal leanings in regard to domestic partnerships, gay marriage, and other protections for its citizens. Other states frequently follow our lead once we’ve shown that it’s not such scary territory, and these dramatic steps often provide real progress for society. Sure, we’ve had our embarrassing moments like certain memorable gubernatorial elections, but these missteps only serve to demonstrate the complexity of the state I love. I know there will always be those who mock California, but they’re probably laughing at their spouses as well.


Today I passed a man on the Venice Boardwalk wearing a large sign that read “Jesus Help Me Meet Jodie Foster.” Naturally I was curious about what he hoped would come from such a meeting. If he’s a devoted enough fan to parade around in public wearing such a sign, he surely knows that Jodie Foster is gay, so he can’t have his eye on her as a romantic possibility. He could be a desperate wannabe writer/actor/producer, yet despite how crazy those people can appear, this man seemed far out of their league.

If I’d had my friend Maggie with me, she might have gone up to him and asked. She has that ability to talk to everybody about everything, regardless of how insane they might appear. I don’t possess that trait, so I kept moving forward, determined not to catch the sign-wearer’s eye, focused instead on my little Chihuahua’s stride.

I was also curious as to why this man reached out to Jesus via a sign on the Venice Boardwalk. Does he imagine that Jesus hangs out there, waltzing around in disguise? Or being that in L.A. so many are repped by agents and managers, did he think he might find a link through a third party? On the other hand, if Jesus plays a potent role in this man’s life, hasn’t he found other ways to speak to him by now?

Perhaps like so many who pass time on the Boardwalk, this man is simply crazy. So, what is it about Jodie Foster that she attracts such wackos? Does she spend time in therapy asking her shrink the same question? Look what this man has started. Now he has me thinking about Jodie Foster.

An email that cyclically makes its way around the Internet recently returned to my inbox. It strives to point out that we don’t remember Nobel Prize and Academy Award Winners and any number of other celebrities who pass through the spotlight. The email claims that we have much greater success remembering our favorite teachers, childhood friends, etc. Maybe, but I’ve been thinking about celebrities a lot lately, names of note that extend beyond Hollywood idols. Political names, writer names, names that grace the bottom of op-ed articles.

The grim reality is that if you want to have global impact you have a far greater chance with a healthy dose of celebrity in your pocket. Did anyone take note that I protested against invading Iraq? Hardly, aside from maybe my son, and a few others who labeled me as naïve at the time. (I’m happy to have the last snarl on that one.)

As I navigate the Internet reading op-eds in assorted newspapers, I notice that impressive credentials seem to guarantee publication more than a potent article. Yes, there are some great op-eds out there, but I wonder how many insightful contributors have been turned away simply because they didn’t submit with an easily summarized string of accomplishments or a convenient title to place after their names. I can forgive readers of People their celebrity addiction, for that is the stated objective of the magazine, but what about the editors of The New York Times? Or The Huffington Post? Do we really want someone’s title to be the most significant criteria for publication?

When I first received an email announcing the launching of Arianna Huffington’s website, I was enthused. I felt her shift from conservative to progressive gave her voice a unique credibility. After hearing her in person and on radio, I imagined her site as an outlet for the people, something that went beyond politics as usual. That’s when it would have been appropriate to label me ‘naïve’.

Yes, I’m nursing a chip on my shoulder. Recently I wrote an op-ed piece, and those who read it encouraged me to submit it to assorted publications including The Huffington Post, so I navigated to the site to learn about its submission policy. I searched and searched, but found no explanation of the site’s structure. I wrote a friendly email to info@huffingtonpost.com inquiring as to whether they accept submissions, hit send, and waited. And waited. And waited. I wrote again. And waited.

It’s possible that The Huffington Post receives thousands of emails, but if a site invites your questions, it implies you will get a response. Every news-type site I visited aside from The Huffington Post provided its policy on submissions or letters to the editor. I later learned via a friend who attended a digital conference where a representative from The Huffington Post spoke that the site, very unapologetically, doesn’t accept submissions. They choose their bloggers, pure and simple. Granted, they’ve assembled an impressive array of contributors, but it still troubles me that they don’t accept submissions. Is Arianna not interested in an unsolicited voice?

While anyone can post a remark on a specific article, there is no place to comment on the site in general. I tried writing one more time asking about this policy. After all, Arianna and her editors have complete control over whether or not they print a letter. Aren’t they at least open to hearing from their readers in such a forum? Again, no response. How can common citizens even dream of being heard when one of the champions of democracy ignores us?

Am I unfairly going after Arianna? I don’t think so. I think she’s doing some great work and I’ve been a supporter, but I feel duped, and no one can disappoint you like someone you admire. Somehow I get the feeling that if I’d signed the letter ‘George Clooney’ or maybe ‘Jodie Foster,’ my inbox would have been graced with a reply quite quickly.



This morning I awoke to an article in the New York Times about the head of the CIA firing an agent for being a ‘leaker.’ The article stated, “The dismissal of Ms. McCarthy provided fresh evidence of the Bush administration's determined efforts to stanch leaks of classified information.” I wanted to puke. I don’t know what made me angrier: the government for its claims or the New York Times for repeating them.

The agent was fired for leaking information to a journalist regarding the existence of the “agency's secret overseas prisons for terror suspects.” This disclosure outraged the Bush administration almost as much as I’ve been outraged by members of the current administration’s role in the Valerie Plame case. Funny, no one’s been fired there.

So in other words, the administration isn’t seeking revenge against leakers, it’s seeking revenge against its critics. When the leakers are on its side, well, the more the merrier. I’m not the first to note this obvious behavior, but for a supposedly reputable paper to write about this issue with the tone it took made me ill. Talk about selective perception.

What do you do with outrage? How can anyone maintain any sense of fair play with the Bush administration in power? I’m not saying that CIA agents who disagree with policies have permission to take matters into their own hands, but there should be a legitimate method for disclosing troubling – and possibly illegal – activities. As a country comprised of what’s beginning to feel like powerless citizens, how do we go up against an administration that sees itself, in the worst case, as above the law, and in general, not bound by the spirit of the principles I thought founded this country? Secret prisons? Unauthorized wiretapping of U.S. citizens? We deserve to be the laughing stock of the world due to the hypocrisy with which the Bush clan is running things. And when our journalists parrot the administration, we’re really in trouble.


Precautionary Tale

I’ve decided to propose a name change for ‘insurance’ to ‘legalized gambling.’ After all, it’s time to call it what it is.

Recently, I was forced to shop for my own health insurance, as my all-inclusive union coverage was due to expire since I hadn’t worked enough qualifying hours to maintain my eligibility. Ah, the life of a freelancer.

I picked up the phone and rang Blue Cross, who’d been my provider on and off through the years. The friendly voice on the other end of the line guided me to their website, and then told me about a new subdivision of the company, Tonik, that would likely offer me cheaper options. I confess, I still don’t understand the difference between normal Blue Cross and Tonik, but Tonik’s website was amusing, offering plans named ‘Thrill-seeker,’ ‘Part-Time Daredevil,’ and ‘Calculated Risk-taker.’ Very colorful. Apparently, as with everything else, it’s all in the packaging. Roy, my chipper insurance broker, explained that Tonik is a division designed to reach out to twenty-somethings to encourage them to get insured. Well, I was way out of that range, but Roy assured me that I was a good candidate for their plans. I had no idea why, but he spoke with a ‘trust-me’ kind of pitch, so I decided to blaze forward.

The Tonik website guides you like an encouraging friend with headings such as “What’s the deal?” quickly followed by “Relax, this is not a test.” The background colors are vibrant, and I was convinced that if I’d had my browser’s audio turned on, I’d be listening to hip, alternative music. A key seductive tool that lay ahead was that once I purchased my policy, I’d get to choose the color of my insurance card. This was one company that understood its target audience.

I worked my way through some insurance basics, providing my personal details and selecting co-pay and deductible amounts.

“Do you want pregnancy coverage?” Roy inquired. I paused. The conversation suddenly felt very intimate.

For years I have claimed to be done with childbearing. I am quite happy with one son, a near-teen who’s achieved a high level of self-sufficiency. We enjoy many activities as pals now, and I no longer have to feign interest in games and toys that used to drain the life out of me. But was I ready to commit in an official way to never getting pregnant again? I mean, accidents happen, and after having one child, the thought of an abortion is a bit harder for me to accept.

“Well,” I started. “I’m really not planning on having more kids, but, you know, accidents happen.”

“Uh huh,” Roy replied, as I imagined him rolling his eyes to his adjacent coworker.

“On the other hand, I’m single, getting old, on the pill, and, well, also use condoms…” my voice trailed off. I knew I was really crossing the line in information sharing. “Bet you didn’t need to know all that,” I added with a laugh.

“The coverage’ll cost you an additional hundred dollars a month,” Roy informed me in a business-like voice.

“Wow. That’s quite a lot to pay for a highly unlikely pregnancy.” Silence from my pal, Roy. “I guess I’ll pass on the pregnancy plan.”

In that one statement I decided to forgo future biological children – at least during the first premium period – but I resent the fact that I was forced to make the choice in the context of selecting health insurance coverage. I mean, I’m not planning on getting pregnant, but I’m not planning on getting cancer either. Should I have to pick which illnesses I’ll pony up for?

Of course the pregnancy angle was one of several measures I had to consider during that phone call. If I opted for the thousand-dollar deductible and remained healthy all year, I’d score big, uh, except for the fact that I would have just paid out around $2400 for the privilege of staying healthy, and requiring nothing of my insurance company. I know, I should be grateful. Small price to pay for the security of knowing I’ll be well taken care of by my health insurance if I do get sick. (Yes, insert ‘wink’ here.)

All insurance plays on our fears and sense of responsibility by forcing us to anticipate possible disasters and weigh them against what we think we can afford in premiums. Talk about gambling. We don’t want someone to plunk down a twenty on a football game, but we’re fine with institutionalizing what is essentially a lose-lose system. You only win if disaster strikes and your insurance company charges to the rescue, justifying your outrageous outlay of cash over the past year, decade, or lifetime.


Simply put, the whole system is offensive. Luckily, I have a pretty turquoise and green health insurance card to ease my pain.


Car Talk

“Don’t bark!”

Those were the first words out of my mouth when I heard the repeated honking of the far-off car. Not ‘honk’, but ‘bark’. Yes, a little Freudian slip, but then I realized that’s exactly what we’re doing when we repeatedly hit our horn. We’re simply barking, and it’s really not an effective form of communication. One hard jab can prevent a near accident, but the continual jabs just express anger. They seldom have any impact other than to make us feel that our irate voices have been heard.

I think there’s a better way.

In Los Angeles, we spend so much time stuck behind the wheel of our cars that we actually do need a method to communicate with others sharing the road. Why have we settled for one restrictive sound for all these years? Yes, we find ways to expand the language of the horn honk. The gentle tap means, “I don’t want to upset you, but, uh, the light has changed, so could you please go.” Succinctly, this mode contains a ‘please.’

The accident-avoiding honk is rightfully strident and aggressive. It either appears in the form of a harsh thrust onto the horn or the alternative of the long, drawn-out wail of a frightened hand bonding with the steering wheel. Your subconscious usually makes the choice depending upon how freaked out you are.

The horn honk that could use assistance is the one I call the ‘Let-me-tell-you-how-I-feel-after-the fact’ honk. The incident has passed, and we turn to our horn simply to vent our disgust with the offending driver. Perhaps he cut us off. We safely avoided a collision, but we want to criticize his driving and let him know how pissed we are. If we have the opportunity to pass this driver, we add a scowl and hope for humiliating eye contact. “That’ll show ‘em,” we congratulate ourselves.

No one wants to end up behind a driver honoring the speed limit, a number apparently selected to incite road rage. You feel as if you’re crawling like a snail, which inevitably leads to your being late, for you never factored in a law-abiding citizen. Sometimes we start with the polite horn tap, but if the driver doesn’t pick up the pace, we escalate to the ‘I-hate-you’ honk. If you succeed in passing this driver and see that it’s a little old lady or man hunched over the wheel, straining to see and comprehend road hazards, you may feel terribly guilty. However, indignation quickly replaces the guilt. “They shouldn’t be driving if they’re that old!” And then you realize that one day you’ll be that old and living in a city with a horrendous public transit system. You decide you better start hoarding your money so that you can afford a driver for when your eyesight and reflexes start to fail you.

Another rage-inciting driver is the one who refuses to use his turn signal as if he can’t be bothered. The only potent response here is the mighty middle finger. Horn honking doesn’t work in this case.

The ‘I-hate-you’ category extends a bit further and includes drivers completely absorbed on their cell phones, eating breakfast, applying make-up, and shaving. A newly added group is drivers navigating their iPods. L.A. drivers attempt to do far too much in their cars, but given that the number of vehicles occupying the roads is escalating like mating gerbils, we have little choice. We now move through the city at a painfully slow pace. L.A. natives over the age of thirty tearfully reminisce about their childhood when everything was “twenty minutes away.” Ah, what fond memories. Now we choose our friends purely by their geographic viability. “Yes, I love you, but you live in Pasadena. Let’s face it. This friendship is doomed.”

Cars have everything today. Navigational systems, DVD players, game system hook ups. If we’re going to be trapped in our vehicles for hours on end, we need a joyful way to communicate with those stuck alongside us. How about adding a few horn options on the steering wheel? If we can have differentiating ring tones on our cell phones, why not assorted horn honks for our cars? It would be like learning a new language, and that should silence all the critics who rant about how monolingual Americans are. We can all learn car talk. As it gets more personalized, you may even get to know a friend’s car’s greeting and respond with your own, “Hey, how are you?” No more gentle tapping here, not when that message can be easily confused with, “Move, please.”

A honk for every occasion. Now that’s something I could get behind.



My dog and my computer broke on the same day. Contrary to the common scenario, it was easier to diagnose the problem with the computer than the problem with my dog. My dog yelps without warning and with no consistent provocation. The computer simply refuses to come on, apparently due to a faulty internal power supply. Ironically, I can relate to both conditions equally.

I succeeded in depositing the computer at the repair facility where they informed me that I might be without it for two weeks. Two weeks? The internal power supply is on back order (again, I can relate), so there’s no way of knowing when it will come in. Apparently this lack of internal power is a wide spread problem. The true tragedy is that I have become so dependent upon this computer – as has my son, who I’m clearly creating in my own image – that the idea of not having access is painful. My son hadn’t gotten a chance to print out his homework, so now instead of “my dog ate my homework,” we have “my computer is holding my homework hostage.” Luckily, he has a very tolerant and evolved teacher who shrugged and said, “Just turn it in when you can,” but in the next breath added “Don’t know how you’ll study for the test on Tuesday.”

Thankfully, we held onto our ancient computer as back up. A friend will email my son a version of the homework from which he can study. This kind of sharing didn’t exist in my school days, but that’s no surprise. Listing all the things that have changed since today’s adults were students has become an internet past time. Apparently, we don’t have surplus energy, but we have lots of time to waste.

As far as the dog, he woke me at three a.m. with a yelp that could only induce panic in a parent. Reaching for my sleeping laptop on my nightstand, I began Googling “spontaneous yelping dog pain.” You’d be surprised how many movies have used this theme. Unfortunately, no vet websites sprang forth with clear-cut answers.

From the room down the hall, my son started calling out in his sleep as if experiencing sympathy pain for our dog. I lay there listening to the competing sounds, making one of those negotiations with the universe where you promise to be satisfied with your life “if only…” In this case, the “if only” was that I didn’t wake up with a dead dog on my bed. Yes, crass. I then rephrased it to say, “Please just let my dog be okay.” I’m not sure of whom I was making the request because I’m no God fearing American, but a sick dog calls up the same desperation as turbulence at thirty thousand feet.

I awoke to a pain-free dog. No more yelping. He was even smiling and playful, his spirit back to normal. Recalling the pact I made in the middle of the night, apparently I am now committed to appreciating my life.

Tall order, I realized. I’ve been in a funk, intellectually able to see all the good in my life, but emotionally aching. A lot of my friends feel similarly as they assess their lives, remembering all the grand hopes and expectations, but now facing the reality of what life has become. We feel average, mediocre, not full of the zest with which we left college. Each person who walks the planet may make a difference, but we want proof, something to add to our resumes, a way to feel special. We were raised with the message that we could do anything that we put our mind to, that all achievements were within reach. As we look at our lives years later, we feel responsible for our lack of accomplishment. If only we’d tried harder, been more focused, believed in ourselves more.

Our upbringing of encouragement denied us one valuable piece of information: Sometimes things just happen. We can’t control everything. We’re simply not that powerful. Rather than fierce encouragement, maybe a message of acceptance would have been better. Yes, try your best, believe in yourself, but if all doesn’t go as hoped for, you haven’t failed. The journey has value.

Looking at it this way, I’m starting to feel better. Maybe my career isn’t as explosive as I’d hoped, but as a result, I’m more available to my son when he has unanticipated questions, questions I wouldn’t want answered by anyone else. As I see my ability to offer guidance, I begin to understand that maybe I am where I need to be. Without the detours and bumps in the road, I wouldn’t know how to comfort others. When my dog was in the midst of his pain, I gently massaged his stomach remembering how we can heal one another. So maybe a broken dog and computer weren’t such bad things. Both have been healed, and some of that healing may have spilled onto me.


Temporary Retirement

My inbox is so full of do-gooder messages that I just want to run and hide and turn the world over to someone else, which is pretty insane since the world isn’t mine to pass along. But, that aside, I no longer want to feel the responsibility of making improvement. I want permission to retire.

Everyday these countless emails plead with me to use my voice or my money or both to try to eradicate a lurking evil. The messages are often quite convincing, and I rush to action. But after roughly six years of this behavior, I’m getting very tired, not to mention feeling very hopeless. I’ve yet to topple an evil regime. I’ve yet to end corruption. I’ve yet to end genocide and world hunger. I may have kept an animal or two on the endangered species list for a bit longer, but that hardly feels like a victory. Hell, they’re still endangered.

I wonder if the condition of the world was just as horrid before the Internet or is it time to actually blame the messenger? Apparently as a society we don’t like to read about good news, but no one’s ever asked me to vote on that issue. I like good news, inspirational stories, an encounter that provides a little proof that being a member of the human species isn’t all bad news. Such stories shouldn’t be confined to websites with new age music and flower-lined margins. They shouldn’t be relegated to the back pages of newspapers or buried condescendingly on feature pages. Success stories are big news and deserve prominent display. Can we agree on that?

Yes, this country has been going through a pretty grim period. Personally, I’m counting on the pendulum swing. That’s when I’ll come out of retirement and get really active and do all I can to make a positive use of a positive trend. I’ll rally friends and acquaintances to strive to cement the ideals that so many of us fear have been completely abandoned in the current age. No, I’m not proposing a sit back and wait approach. I’m suggesting a little cocooning in order to build a strategic attack, one that hopefully has a chance for success.

So, for now, rather than put all of our effort into what’s proving to be a numbing fight, let’s start planning for when the momentum shifts. Let’s put less thought into what we’re against and more into what we’re for. Let’s lurk in the wings devising a ‘pro’ campaign that displays positives. It’s an assignment for everyone. Start your list and be on the ready. Really. Send in your ideas. I’ll happily compile them and see if we can form a consensus. When the time comes, if we demonstrate how to do it right, there may not be a return to wrong, or at least when the pendulum swings again, it might only be a slight sway.


My Green Mile Moment

I like reaching out to others to help. It feels natural, and I get a certain rush when I see a friend feeling better after talking to me. Yes, my ego gets a little boost, as if I better understand my place on the planet. Call me human.

Of course, on a rare occasion, a downside emerges from my helping voice. My friend walks away with a smile, and I take myself to my car, ease myself onto the seat, and then slump down, sad and depleted. I’ve just had a Green Mile moment, immortalized in the film by roughly the same name, where a healer takes on the ailment of the healed. A smart healer can feel it coming, has that hint of awareness, and carefully adorns a bit of armor. It might involve cutting the conversation a bit short. In some cases, the healer must stop before the conversation ever begins. And that would have been the smart advice I would have given myself today.

Anyone who has passed 'Girlfriend 101' could have told me to STAY AWAY from the-man-in-pain today. But no, I wanted to feel needed, to provide a little bit of healing that would allow me to sneak into this man’s heart so that he’ll always remember me. Oh, please. What I need is a good twelve-step program to get me past wanting to be needed. It’s an addiction as potent as all the others, and it puts its sufferers in emotional harm’s way on a regular basis.

I was so sure I was over this guy that meeting for coffee today didn’t feel remotely risky. He’s never given me an ounce of what I’ve needed. Months ago I finally believed that it was a blessing that he and I never ended up together in any real way, so today truly felt like one friend reaching out to help another. Yeah, right.

A flash of details. He’s hurting over assorted life issues. Sips his coffee as my tea seeps. I look into his eyes, utter a few pearls left and right. Sneak in a few laughs. Blah, blah, blah. Our cups grow empty. He stands renewed. I give him a ride home, and return to my house like I’ve just suffered a hit and run, and promptly descend into a slump. His slump. I’m breathing his slump. Aaahhhhhhhh!!

But my fingers dance now, performing a writer’s exorcism. My life returns. I feel strong again. Stronger than before, a victor from battle. And the mystery of life survives another day.