April 6, 2011

If There Is A Frantic Race To 30 With A Ring, I'll Be By The Tortoise's Side.

When he asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, I said 3 am eating ice cream, in my own condo, watching the weather channel in the dark. My honesty is independent but I saw his face flicker. "You?" I retorted. He said Saturday morning, at soccer practice with the kids. We are both a few years short on the mortgage and soccer practice, but when the wind wakes me at 4 am, I roll over and check the weather.com radar. The left side of my bed is empty. My Saturday morning rituals - the metro ride, ipod, coffee shop - fill and sustain. Months later, I let him decorate our library with dark wood furniture, while we sat in traffic. Years later, I finally matched our wrinkled hands on a porch swing at sunset, while we sat across from each other at a Barnes and Noble.

I ordered a bottled beer, one I can't even remember the name of now, maybe Miller Lite, and drank it slowly, hoping he wouldn't notice. No such luck. He asked if I always drank Miller Lite. I knew when I didn't feel myself flush and saw my hand waiving in the air, marking my nonchalant answer, "Oh, if I'm driving, yes." I didn't fidget and I had all the best answers, but I kept scanning the room hoping to see another's face. He walked me to my car after I told him I had to finish a paper. On a Saturday night. He asked me out again and I said yes. For my best interest, I said yes. I went home and finished that paper. I fell asleep thinking of U.S. Korean War policy.

I don't say yes anymore. I dart out out of check-out lines and dash to my car. I take the number but never call. I politely say no, thanks, as if asked if I would like a glass of water. "No, thank you."

I know eyes that can halt a spinning room. I know smiles that hold my breath. I know weak-kneed cliches.

Plural. I've looked across tables and thought to myself, "I could fall in love with you."

I've spoken in nonsensical non-sequiturs as an only alternative to introverted this-is-important-muteness but not been able to shift my gaze away. And that gaze has been met and held for hours, days, and years. I've walked in wind-blown, disheveled, hiccuping, nauseous, tear stained, feverish, and exhausted. And I've been scooped up and nestled in. I've sent late-night emails with words that couldn't face the sun and made statements framed by afternoon logic that would bend at just a glance from the moon. And I've had those buried truths sifted from the hours - understood and valued. By more than one.

I always do it. I write the letters, I say the words, I walk the flights of stairs, I drive the miles, I press send. The few times I haven't I regret. The times I have I'll always know.

I say no to invitations these days. I don't need the dinner reservation or the bottle of red wine. Just find my eyes. I'll know.

These days I worry less about worn-in independence and plans that only accommodate one. I know now that 3 am scoops of ice cream and the flicker of the weather channel doesn't mean that I won't return to bed to fall asleep with a finger across his chin. I worry less about my inability to make small-talk and know that some conversations can be held without words. I worry less about tidy placement and clean lines. Dictionary definitions, maps, and watches belong on shelves. Our lives are fluid and run together under the strength of the current. I'm not worried that I won't be swept up again, someday.


  1. Eloquent, Emily and so very visual!!!!

  2. I very much enjoyed this post.

    I especially like the bit: Plural ... I've looked across tables...

    Keep writing!

    Ladaisi Blog

  3. Hiya, I'm a new follower. Just found your blog today. Can't wait to read more.

    I love the way you write.


  4. Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it!

  5. Hi Lauren! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment - it means a lot to me. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm so glad you said hello. Welcome!

  7. I love this. I love how you wrote it, how I could feel the emotion. & thanks for posting it.

  8. Thank you so much. Knowing that what I write connects with people makes it so much easier to post the more person stuff. So thank you for reading and commenting - I really appreciate it!