Sunday, September 17, 2006

Last weekend TMS called to tell me that he had walked into his girlfriend's apartment, intending to surprise her with a night out, only to find her in bed with not just someone else but two someone elses--a boy and a girl. He called me from the sidewalk outside her building, pacing, asking me what I thought he should do.
I was speechless; this was beyond me. She ran outside just then, hastily wrapped in someone's button-down shirt, so I recommended tequila and let him listen to her story.

He stopped by tonight just as I was finishing a nap and deciding if the No Reasons were weighing too heavily for me to actually get up. I answered the door and he blustered into my apartment, cranky with me for having encouraged him to Gesture with this one. I pointed out that I'm really the last one he should be taking advice from, and that I'd said that already months ago.

We grabbed a bottle of wine and went for a walk. I'm no solution for either heartbreak or humiliation, but I am always good for a hug and helpful invectives, and we cheerfully called her names for a while. After a while we reached a park and sat down and he said that what really worries him is that each disappointment hurts just a little less, that he's afraid of becoming used to it. He said he's aching around edges he doesn't know how to dull. I smoothed his hair as he wondered whether some tunnels just don't have ends.

I still didn't know what to tell him. I'm good at believing in fairy tales for other people but I don't know how to see them for myself, and that was what he needed just then; he needed to hear that I believe, unilaterally, in happily ever after. So I told him that I am a poor soothsayer and don't have the eyes for ends of tunnels, but that I stand by my advice to Gesture with abandon. I gave him a patented samantha speech all about dragonflies and snails and Magritte and though I don't think he believed a word of it he was at least poking fun at my own romantic failings at the end of it, a sure sign of improvement.

I'm not worried about him. TMS is a romantic too, and will have made the whole event into a funny story to tell his mom the next time she calls and asks when he'll be getting married. But I wonder at you, people, and I wonder at myself, at just how careless we are with each other.

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