On The Value of a Picture

Okay. So you may recall that I mentioned (briefly, hyper-cautiously) that I had a new Thing going on. You may also recall me saying that I wasn’t ready to say much about it. (You know, right before I said things about it.) And, here I am again today: still not ready, still saying more things. Um, so it goes.

But bear with me. You may also recall that I mentioned spending time with this Person (sorry, can’t resist) in New York–a place, you likely remember, I don’t (currently) live.

In fact, neither does he. (Do you like these hints? I think we’ve narrowed it down to the world minus eight million people!) But, still: it remains the case that he and I don’t live within one, or even two thousand miles of one another.

Which is all to say: perhaps I would reveal more about what this Thing was if I, myself, knew. But, geography (and other, you know, Things) such as they are, I have no friggin clue. It’s possible that I will never see him again. It is also possible that, five years from now, we will wind up wedded and window shopping on weekend mornings in some precious East Coast enclave that features a lot of brick. (Discuss.)

An uncertainty that, as you might guess, I find not a little unsettling. But I’m adjusting. As you may, also, recall, I’ve got other things (namely: a dissertation; and: trying to sleep every once in a while) on which to focus my efforts and energies.

And, as A put it the other day, while I watched her scrub her bathtub and recounted the latest developments, at least I’ve got someone to think about.

“Exactly!” I told her, leaning my head against the tile. “Isn’t that kinda the only thing that matters!?”

Here’s the part where I share something else that’s personal, the part where my stomach churns and I momentarily question the whole dating-blog enterprise (really? I’m going to say what happened? And put it on Facebook?) and then continue on because, what the hell else am I gonna do? Attempt an ending for my dissertation? As we say in New Mexico (kind of), that’s what manana is for. Also, I’m abnormal and don’t really care.

So, here goes: over break, (before above mentioned Thing), I finally talked to M: finally, I asked him how he felt. I need only tell you that the conversation was unpleasant, and you can imagine the rest.

I don’t want to undermine the feelings I had for him or the weight of my expectations about our potential future. (Okay, I totally do. But if I did, and you never trusted me again, I wouldn’t blame you.)

But I do want to tell you this: that the day after we spoke, riding the Bolt Bus up from Washington to New York, I contemplated what seemed the most devastating impact of the conversation: who, I wondered, was I going to think about now?

It’s a question with which I anticipated grappling. The night before I talked to M, I stayed over at my friend R’s house in Mt. Pleasant.

“Are you sure you’re ready to do this?” she asked as we lazed around her living room drinking tea. “Like, don’t you need those fantasies of ending up with him sometimes? Like, when you’re jogging and it’s hard?”

“Totally,” I replied–but, as I told her, I was determined to do it anyway.

A moment later, she took back her counsel: “Nevermind,” she said. “The great thing about fantasies is that you control them. Who cares what he says.”

It’s true: I could picture myself married to Brad Pitt if I want to. Pretty sure Angelina (if, you know, she happened to hear) wouldn’t consider me too big a threat.

But, sadly, I don’t. I want to have a different face to stick in those domestic daydreams of dinner-making and basketball-watching: one that the entire world and I don’t collectively encounter every time we go to Walgreens.

Because it isn’t, of course, just about the face: it’s about the comfort of having a concrete possibility. However remote it may be: I know there’s just as good a chance of me ending up with this guy (you know, the “Thing” guy) as there is for me to be with a whole handful of people I’ve never laid eyes on.

But I can’t picture them. I can picture him. And on days when I’m jogging, or lunging, or writing, for that matter, and it’s hard–that’s an option I’m pretty glad to have.