He asked me if I was "arty"” and seemed pleased when I told him I was. Lubricated by background noise and drinks, we had much to discuss. He is intelligent, confident yet humble, good looking, solid, kind, and funny. He comes from the coast too, from a background similar to mine, both Jewish and unpaved rural - he from fields of flax, and I from steaming innocent-eyed cattle. The sobering moment came with a comment other girls dream to hear. He told me he sees some of his friends getting married out of proximity or convenience rather than love.
"This", he told me, "will not do".
Like the example set by his parents, he plans to meet someone and spend the rest of his life in love. I nodded in agreement, telling him my mantra,
"I would rather be alone than lonely with someone else". As it slipped from my mouth I felt like a liar.
He lost me then. I was as sure about the impossibility of being what he wanted as I am about global warming. I could see all of the future disappointment clearly, but I smiled through, listening, feigning enchantment. Should I accept the lot I seem to think is mine?
The next day, in a meeting, my mind drifted back to the conversation. First, reveling in the early feelings of possibility. Then the clouds rolled in as they had that night. At the time the darkening had seemed so rooted in fact, but it began to look very different in the light of day. Nothing is manageable when examined too broadly. The world becomes impossible, and it seems that we face a lifetime of tragedy ahead - serial tragedy. This is never where fun is found. I want to let fun unfold.
Yesterday I officially convocated. Grad school complete, I went to a party with an eclectic crowd. Standing aside, there was a moment when I felt like running, seeing so many unfamiliar people streaming in from the cold. What will I say to them? How will I manage to interact, be charming, interesting? I brushed off my questions like dust, grabbed a glass of wine, and stepped into the party. I was spellbound by a Woody Allen who wore white gloves and would shake no hands, yet consumed canapés with reckless abandon, choking and spitting, while talking about germs. I fell head over heels in love with a married english professor in his sixties and with his wife's flourless chocolate cake. I glided between discussions of documentary production, acting, yoga, Hong Kong, South Africa. I had fun.
Later that night when I got home from the party, there was a message waiting for me.
"Hey Rachel, it's Ben. I had a great time with you last night and I hope we can go out again."
I smiled to myself. So do I, Ben. So do I.