Alice came over for dinner Monday night. I have a table and chairs in my lounge but I never eat dinner on them; I sit on the couch like everyone else. Alice sat too. We ate zucchini pasta and talked about my work and her midwifery exams and about the weather and about the election results and about my video and about dudes. (I think I am too old now to talk about boys but I am too silly and don’t wear enough high heels to talk about men. Guys is too nineties. I talk about dudes).
We talked about crushes we may or may not have. We talked about dates we may or may not have been on. We talked about people we’ve slept with. We talked about people we would have slept with, if we’d had the chance. We talked about people we pretty definitely should not have slept with but did anyway, who knows why. We talked about people we might sleep with but probably not because we’re not really feeling it. We talked about people we’ll never see again. We talked about how there are no good dudes in Wellington except our own friends who are dudes, whom we wouldn’t want to date because they’re our friends and you don’t want to ruin everything with your friends who are dudes because who would you talk about other dudes with? We talked about the relationship pendulum, like how you’ll go back and forth, back and forth, between the extremes of Forget It It’s All Lies Anyway and Maybe I Kind Of Want A Boyfriend, I Dunno, What Do You Think.
I just miss that way of feeling alive when you really like someone, I said. I love everyone, and I have good talks all the time, but…it’s not like when I talk to you, you know—I mean, when I talk to you it’s open, and it’s vulnerable, and I trust you, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world—but there’s not that…that other thing.
Right, that spark. Is it that spark? I guess it’s that spark. What I don’t understand is how just one person can feel a spark. You know, if there’s two of you there. If it’s the two of you, right there.
Oh, darlin’, it’s cruel, she said, and all of a sudden, I saw all their faces across from me, on all the couches and in all the cafes in all the cities of the world where I knew them: open and young and free, looking back at me with big broad beautiful smiles, enjoying themselves, laughing there right along with me. Not feeling a thing.