One of the most magical events in a person’s life is when you bring a puppy home for the first time. The moments brimming with hope and joy and a feeling that centers you as if a marigold on spring’s first day. You paint countless scenarios in your brain, each one more optimistic than the last. And nowhere inside all those many scenarios do you even remotely imagine the reality of the situation.
You never think about the fact that your little puppy is gonna die one day.
Of course you don’t, because who in their right mind would take into consideration such a tragic circumstance? I mean, those kinds of thought processes are reserved for flaming anarchists, Scientologists and actuaries. Heartless actuaries.
Love is the very same thing.
When you lock eyes with a stranger across a crowded floor, or go out on a first date or have a three and a half hour phone conversation with a perfect stranger. And know. You just know. As if the universe went through all the trouble of being born, coming of age and growing old . . . for you. So that you could arrive at that moment when you figured out the ending you didn’t even know you were looking for.
You never once think about forever having an end.
I woke up on Friday, June 8th 2007 and felt more charmed than the lovechild of Brad Pitt and Vera Farmiga. It didn’t matter in the least that it was too early to be wearing a smile. I woke up thinking it had to be the middle of the afternoon before my alarm clock corrected me with half past six. Less than six hours prior, I’d been pinballing through the witching hours with a voice that left me wanting more of that good thing.
The Dame was every bit of that beautiful storm that I’d been keeping track of for most of the last couple months. Hers was a mystic thrown down from that fateful moment when Eve told Adam that she might want to marry him one day if he watched his weight and kept that firm body.
The Dame was crazy, but a crazy borne of hard wrought places that belied her silver spoon existence. She was a rich man’s daughter but she wasn’t spoiled. She was a looker but she wasn’t conceited in the least. She possessed as brilliant a pen as I’d ever had the privilege of knowing on a first name basis. And she never once talked about it inside the three and a half hours that catapulted us from strangers into something more than friends.
And her timing was madly provocative, as if her words danced inside the language of honeybees. Her smoking gun was left on my doorstep with a Pinot fueled come hither that left me stranded in the middle of dry land. She stapled three little words to every lonely part of me before hanging up.
“Just get here,”
It wasn’t fair, which had been her intention. The merry bachelor who played single dad with french toast and long hikes and playboy chef when I had the weekends to myself, had been harpooned like a fucking Marlin. I just didn’t know it yet.
I put a second pot of coffee on before settling down to check my comments on the Gorilla when Dan finally decided to return my call.
“Yo!” Dan bellowed, his voice thick with exhaustion and nicotine.
“About time man, I called you after hanging up with the Dame last night,” I said with mock exasperation.
“Sorry honey, but I was busy working while you were drinking martinis and talking to a hot chick from Chicago,” Dan laughed.
“Don’t be jealous,”
“Hey dude, I’m married, jealousy’s all I got left. So how did it go?”
“Without sounding too excitable . . . fucking amazing! She’s smarter than she writes, she’s funnier than she writes and if her voice could get me pregnant, I’d be shopping for cribs right about now,”
“So . . that’s good, right?” Dan laughed whilst scarfing down a breakfast sandwich and chasing it with a couple smokes on his back porch.
“That’s great, except for the fact that she’s got three kids, and she’s having issues with them because of her neanderthal husband who won’t cut her any slack, and she lives in Chicago, and she’s given up on dating or ever being happy again,”
Granted, there were more exemptions inside that statement than you’ll find on a billionaire’s tax returns, but I was smitten. Me . . smitten. What in the blessed fuck was the world coming to?
“But you guys hit it off?”
“We hit it out of the fucking park is what we did, Tonto. And now I have to slow things down because my mind is gonna jump out of my skull if I don’t,”
“There’s time. And oh hey! I read that Rabbit Hole chick, fantastic shit man!”
“I told you! Now see . . she is crazy. But I mean, how can you not be crazy when you write stuff like that. I’m glad you liked,”
“Loved it. Hey, I’m gonna crash but I’ll call you on my way into work tonight. You gonna be around?”
“I’ll be here,” I said.
“Whoa, this girl really did a number on you,” Dan laughed before hanging up.
I thought about what Dan had said before the gurgling noise snapped me back. I ran into the kitchen to find my dime on the dollar coffee maker dying. I’d been separated for almost two years and had already gone through half a dozen coffee makers since I couldn’t bring myself to buy another Bunn. Never mind that I had the thing for ten years without a hitch, I wasn’t shelling out a couple hundred dollars without a mortgage and joint back accounts to hide it inside of.
I was able to rescue a cup of Joe from the devastation, after which I placed the carafe on the counter and escorted the scrapheap out. I’d scored a writers pad rental less than two miles from my old house and I loved the quirks included at no extra charge. Like the fire escape stairwell that was the only way up or down. It hadn’t affected my business, as evidenced by the many high heeled visitors I’d entertained, so that was good enough for me. And besides, it was the perfect way to bury my hard luck coffee makers. It had become sort of a tradition that I toss the latest coffee machine done wrong down the long set of stairs to commemorate it’s untimely demise.
I went in to grab my smokes and the cup of Joe and I turned on some Talking Heads before returning to the proceedings. I sipped and tugged and then I let go of the piece of shit coffee maker, watching it tumble to its death for a second time inside the early morning.
There was symbolism happening loudly inside that moment, but I was too high to notice.