“Things I Would Like to Do with You.” is now available! It’s eco and lovely. Get your copy here.
“…her eyes were great big blue things with a soul in it.
I wished I was on the same bus with her. A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world of ours.” ~ Jack Kerouac
Lost moments with Loves I never Knew.
We were sitting a few yards apart. I would like to have walked up to you in the small mountain café, but I did not have the courage or know-how to walk into and through no man’s land with no excuse, no reason.
We were across the street from one another. I would have liked to have run after you and talked with you, but I was talking with a friend and did not have the guts to run after you and talk with you. I was sitting in a modern hipstery café with a letterpress in the basement, and you were right out of American in Paris, you would have been an able stand-in for Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; you wore polka dots and were perfect, young—the gait of a ballerina.
We were near the library. I would have liked to have turned my black bicycle to follow your maroon bicycle, and called your name, but I did not know your name, and you were beautiful and full of beauty. Dark hair, long, a farmer—I recognized you from the market but only saw you once more. And now you have moved away, gone forever from my only life, your name unknown to me.
I would have liked to have fallen in love, or even “just” friendship, a thousand times—but I did not have the courage to expose my heart to a stranger. Why is a moment of awkwardness so scary? Why is letting go into falling so difficult, when this is how we learn to let go into joy?
There are many moments when I went for it—I am no player, though, so I flubbed my lines (and yes it is better, that way). I was sweet, but shaky.
Or, if I was in my element—friends, party, if I knew you knew I was not just some stranger—then I am confident, relaxed, cocky, troublemaking, handsome—but then there is no space, no awkwardness, no fear to be afraid of.
And so it is that asking out a girl without a pre-existing community knowledge of one another is akin to climbing a mountain—coming up to my edge and going beyond. Sun Tzu would not approve. And yet it is the bold and guileless who enter the lost moments, and find new ones.
And there have been so many lost moments.
There have been so many lost lovers. Most of whom—all of whom, with one exception—no, two exceptions—my first love, and a brief badsad love—I am either friends with, still, or we are just simply out of touch. You see, I grew up before Facebook grew up. And so I am not in touch with the red-haired girl with short cut hair, like Jean Seberg in Breathless, who took off her Japanese silk robe. Or rather I parted it for her. She was pale, and confident.
I remember one brownhaired girl I liked so much, but then I left for a month or two or three to the Mountains above Redland, and when I came back she was gone, again. Now she has a family, and we are in touch every once in a while.
I remember so many losses, break ups—some I wanted, some I did not, some just happened. Like the tall girl who shocked my mind open when I first saw her, a gazelle, graceful, walking…I could never be with someone like that. And then I met her and we had a horrible first date, I was so nervous, but surrounded by friends. At the end of the night I asked, “Do I get to see you again?” She said, “Really? It seemed like you hated tonight.” And…then we dated for months, a good friendship with heat, until one dinner when it all went from sixty to zero, crash test dummies, and a few months of goodness and unknown future months would end in the space of fifteen minutes.
So many breakups, so many heartaches—but none as romantic as that of my first love. After it was over I was haunted by her absence, for years, every day. Our love was to my youthful world a new thing entirely: world-expanding, life-transforming, so real and beautiful and fun and…then our emotions and circumstances overwhelmed us, and my immaturity was exposed, and suddenly we had lost control of our gallop. And while the love was still galloping beneath us, we’d lost the reins. I still think of her, from time to time, but now there is no feeling: time has quietly massaged out that gap.
I remember so many—I am at the close of my career, or at least the beginning of the end of my single love life—I am over-ready for nurturing friendship, deepening, with attraction on top. I am over-ready for a baby, and another baby, and another baby, and another baby, and another baby. I would like five, I would settle for three. Hell, I would be grateful for one or two to love and play silly faces with and run around with and be kept up by and raise and make mistakes with and care for, day after night, until I am old.
There are so many lost moments: my advice in retrospect would be to go into them, and fail if you have to—and learn, and fail again, and learn, and fail again, and learn, and connect, and be genuine. The path of love is not the path of Players with lines up their sleeves; the path of love is the path of Bravery and, then, if we are lucky, genuine connection based on genuine communication.
This is the only love that is invincible, for it can handle change, it can manage confusion. Love is found only in this genuinity.