as i walk from the kitchen and he walks down the hall, we meet at the edge of the living room and he says, “are you ready, honey? now break it down.”
he begins doing the running man and in one switch of the feet, i join him in the running man and we running man the length of the living room where he continues running manning in place and i show off that i can move my running man backwards into the kitchen.
we do this because we are in our 40’s.
we do this because we are outrageously cheezy.
we do this because we’ve been playmates our entire adult lives and everything is funner when you play with it, including dancing in your own living room.
he’s aging more gracefully than i am. he’s turns 49 in two months and smiles when he talks about his age, smiles when he asks for what he wants for his birthday, smiles when he suggests i start planning his 50th birthday party way in advance because he wants a big celebration with a mariachi band and a $5000 gift which probably means a new instrument to add to his collection.
i am not aging as gracefully as i’d hoped. i’m disappointed in my fears and vain obsessions. i’m annoyed easily and bored often and less patient with my bullshit (although more patient with other people’s bullshit) and i want what i want and when i get what i want i have to play whack-a-mole with fears about losing the thing i have that i want and i begin to wonder if i’d rather not have what i want or if i should give up this thing i have and want because i’m afraid of the pain i’ll endure when i lose the thing that i want and now have because i lose all the good stuff eventually and usually sooner than i’m ready.
i stop thinking about these things and sit down to write to the poetess because writing to the poetess helps me tell the truth about what i’m feeling and what i want. but instead of writing the truth to her, i copy poems for her that i love that she’ll love and i avoid telling the truth with other people’s beautiful words about love and desire.
i get up and go to the kitchen (regular walking, no running man) and reach for a diet soda, the diet soda i’m addicted to that i quit drinking and then started drinking again and quit drinking and started drinking again and quit drinking and now drink again. my stomach hurts when i drink diet soda, which is why i quit drinking it and why i’m drinking diet soda again now. i want to hurt myself, i want to feel the pain, because the pain is familiar and comforting in its bottomless emptiness and the pain reminds me that i’m in charge of how i feel, that i choose how i feel, that i can stop drinking diet soda three sips from now, that i can stop hurting myself this way, that i can stop the pain, that i can stop being afraid.