Archive for the 'Flash memoir' Category

I Just Wanna Hold Your Hand

At this point, dating seems like a joke: if me and mystery man make it off the app or the website or the text messaging, what are the chances we’ll have any real chemistry? (mixed). What are the chances that one of us will have insurmountable ISSUES? (high) What are the chances that fear/reluctance/ambivalence will set in immediately (also high) and tank the experiment?

And still I try. Hope springs eternal.Holding hands

Lately, to my surprise, I’ve gone on more than one date with a couple of people. Say, whaaaa?????

How is it going? Hard to tell. There’s chemistry, we like each other. But is it a relationship…..   could it be anything more than a few Saturday nights and a couple of Wednesdays… and then fade to black ????????

My mountain of dating failures forms the backdrop for any excitement. It’s like the Grim Reaper of Dating is always by my side, eager to cut another one down. So I’m keenly aware of both the red flags (he texts back two months later) and the little things that are going well (he  shows up on time – more than once).

And like someone who lost her parents early in life, I don’t take the good stuff for granted. I know a good thing when I see it—even it’s passing.

He held the door for me–again. He picked up the check–second time, third time. He didn’t push to come over–classy. He checked in with me a few days after our date– thoughtful. (If you think these standards are too low you haven’t dated in New York.)

Like I said, I’m not blind to the red flags: you can’t be dating for this long and not develop a sixth sense about what’s up. He can drink a bottle of wine by himself no problem and still want a beer? Hmmmm. He hasn’t had a steady relationship in ten years? Hmmmmm. He’s in the process of getting divorced? Ermmmm….

But all that aside, I’m dating this spring (small miracle) and what’s really doing it for me is the simple almost ridiculous act of holding hands.

When we get off the subway or I get out of his car and he reaches for my hand, something inside me melts. I feel almost like a child. When we leave the bar a little tipsy and walk the wet streets, stride for stride, his fingers curled around mine, my whole being says, yes! 

Yes! yes! yes! YES!

He could almost ask me for anything in this moment. Does he realize this? His drinking, his relationship history, his divorce — any worries I have soften and float away when he holds my hand.

That contact feels like as intimate as a solemn promise. One he’s willing to give and capable of fulfilling. One I believe. It feels like a tender agreement, a collaboration, bit of potent inspiration that surpasses all ISSUES, that goes beyond fear. That holds an innocence in its palm like the heart of a little bird.

I go a little bit to putty every time.

Will the dating of late spring and early summer be as kind to me as the early spring has? Measured by hand-holding it looks promising.

That said, in my dating world, YOU NEVER KNOW. EVER.

To be continued….

That kiss

 

 

 

A Truck, a Dog, and a Couple of Babies

Montana landscapeOut the tall picture windows of the Bozeman Public Library (yes, Bozeman not Brooklyn) I can see a cloudy-grey grain elevator, Sky Federal Credit Union, and Main Street. I’m supposed to be working, but instead I’m counting trucks.

  • Small pickup: 2
  • Medium pick up (2-door): 4
  • Large pickup (4-door): 7
  • Covered pick up: 5

Colors are blue, slate gray, white.

In five minutes, on a Monday afternoon, this is how many trucks go down main street in Bozeman, Montana.

The rest are family vans and SUVs, a sprinkling of motorcycles, a lone taxi, an anomalous bus.

I’ve seen many Jeep Wranglers parked on the side streets. This land is all about Serious Vehicles.

On the side streets lilacs are blooming. At foot level are tufts of forget-me-nots, tulips, heal-all and spreads of dandelions. Side streets with one-level bungalows that might have housed someone’s Pa for forty years; bungalows with porches, and at some point in the past, a rocking chair, a dog, and maybe a shotgun behind the door.

But now, Bozeman is changing. It’s less Montana (my friend’s BF grew up here; that’s who I’m visiting) and more let’s escape from overcrowded Colorado, Oakland, Seattle, Brooklyn (that’s what my friends are doing).

Dogs are everywhere. Under the big sky, in the wide open spaces, folks have trucks to roam, and canine friends to travel with. Some are hunters and go backcountry with the boys on long overnights for elk, deer, bear, duck, wild turkey depending on the season.

Some dogs are walked on leashes in Peet’s Hill, the manicured city park at the north end of town that rises to a ridge from which, behind the old-age home, you can see Bridger Bowl (ski mountain) to one end, the closer end, and Gallatin Range to the other. Big Sky is a couple hours away.

On Sunday morning, we walked my friend’s elegant, goofy and huge doberman mix on Peet’s Hill. He acted like a puppy in springtime–rolling in the grass, splashing in the puddles, and most of all running running running sniffing sniffing sniffing in his full dog joy.

Pick up truck on a dirt roadAlong with the dogs go the babies. Young families, like my friends’, have come here and the institutions reflect this. There are several cafes on Main Street and just off it, and they all seem to have stocked kid play areas. And so do the (huge) restaurants. And so do the bars.

People look kindly on kids. Everyone seems to have them. The hot springs have one hot hot pool for adults and several cooler, shallower ones for kids. The dads look like dudes who could easily just have stayed at the bar for their 30s and 40s, Brooklyn style. But instead they’re chasing toddlers in waterwings.

My friend, who used to live near me in Brooklyn when she was single, when she got a dog, when she was newly coupled up with my other friend, when she got pregnant has crossed this line, too.

She’s crossed out of our neighborhood, our community, our cafes and bars. She’s entered another world. A world of big sky, big trucks, big dogs, and babies. It’s like Brooklyn came to the wild west, and the wild west kept on being wild.

 

Misty in Manhattan

Misty Manhattan buildings

This year, Manhattan was unendingly dreary. It seemed blocked in  stone. So much stone. And there was so much rain. We were hemmed in. Too close, too dreary.

The many mornings of rush hour trains didn’t help. That hustle that lead me to become hard like those buildings, elbow my way in through closing doors, gritting my teeth because I’m gonna get my turn! Survival. This instinct to make it that shoves anything else away. Eye contact. Grace.

Then last night, walking late down on Manhattan’s west side, the mist slurping the tops of skyscrapers, I realized it was changing. The temperature was mild, the sidewalks were not slick with rain but damp with dew.

I turned down a residential street and there were curled leaf buds on street trees. Not just splashing their green for show. They were nosing forward like riverboats preparing for voyage. That fresh color seemed impossible a month ago, like we’d exhausted our lifetime quota of spring. I’d wondered if they’d ever come again.

This morning, there it was again, that close mist, that green. My step was lighter and I could breathe. I was walking. Not rushing. Birds rustled in branches above. I looked up. The morning hush said, no matter you don’t know where to begin or how to end, no matter this city of strangers and garbage trucks  still sneaking and prowling–this day is for you, your season is here.