He took me to sushi on our second date and I told him how it’s neutral Zen glamour reminded me of the Japanese restaurant I’d waitressed at in New York in my twenties. The uniform so by far the nicest thing in my closet, I wore it to a wedding. A dress with stains like salt flats in the armpits, that forced me to hover around the reception, arms clamped by my sides.
“The big broad comedy version of that,” he started, “is she gets to the wedding and has forgotten to take her name tag off.” He was a half hour writer, I was one hour. He smiled at his own pitch, and I felt like he got it. That he got me.
I was attracted to him and never fake laughed once, until the end of the night, when he said, “People working on themselves, if I hear anymore about people ‘working on themselves…’” and I giggled praying no self-help mantras scribbled on post its fell out of my purse.
We started dating. He said I was confusing — a mix of a 50’s housewife and Gloria Steinem. I fell in love because every time he spoke I was surprised by how emotionally intuitive and funny he was. Like when one of my job interviews got cancelled and I rolled out the slogan “Rejection is God’s protection.”
“Well,” he said, one eyebrow raised, “if it rhymes, it’s definitely true.”
At which point we laughed until we were pink.
The night I really fell for him, though, was the night we had plans and he texted that he couldn’t make it. He’d had a meeting at a poncy members only club earlier about a feature. Disappointed, I asked him to call me. Hours later he came over, explained he wanted to be the best version of himself around me. After the meeting, (which didn’t go well) he went to the horrible valet which is like a Tesla/RangeRover/SmartCar parade. His old truck wouldn’t start, and the valets explained that his car wouldn’t “go.” He had to call a tow truck and the whole debacle crushed my heart. Because every time I walk into the stuffy place, I feel like I am at a wedding in a waitress uniform again. I fell for him that night. For his vulnerability and his reticence. For the guy part that didn’t want to be a mess and the sensitive part that knew that standing me up was hurtful. I thought we could work. I thought it was my kind of guy who could hold both.
A few weeks later, on my couch, he noticed a book, the Dalai Lama’s “The Opening of The Wisdom Eye.” He picked it up, thumbed through it, settled on a page and read aloud. I listened, sort of soothed. Most of the quotes were about grappling with death. Continue Reading…