Parker arrives all shits and giggles.
“The doctor is home, baby,” he shouts.
I poke my head around the corner and he is not two feet in the door, uniform pants around his ankles. He’s just finished a day shadowing a local MD/Acupuncturist.
“Very funny,” I say, handing him a hanger for his clothes. “And hi, by the way.” We kiss, hug, I take notice of his winter beard. Remember those sea green eyes I almost drowned in.
He slips into jeans, a collared shirt, and a wool sweater over the top, then heads for the kitchen. “I’m making dinner,” he says.
It doesn’t take long, really, for me to remember all the hungry lust I had for him before. But the best part is being able to name it for what it was. Writers are asked to reshape and make meaning out of the ordinary. We identify heightened, quintessential moments of the human experience and map them on the page. Nonfiction writers who apply this to their daily lives fall prey to remaking the world as it unrolls before us. We start to think, after a while, that we can simultaneously write an event in our minds at the same moments that it occurs. It’s lust for the page and lust for labeling life and if we’re not careful, lust misplaced when we need something to fill our gaps.
I do homework while Parker chops onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. Throw in some garbonzo beans, an Indian curry paste I hand him, and dinner is served in about forty-five minutes (with brown rice too!). He wants to know about Oregon, Colorado, and words, words, words. I want to know about the tai chi, his latest acupuncture exams, current mantras, and roommate situation up in UnivsersityTown, NC. It surprises me, almost, how seamlessly domestic we are together. Then I remember the romance of our first night, the Keller Williams show we went to, meditation sessions we had together, and even a hike up on Roan Mountain. We’re practiced at this and it feels good. Except this time it’s not a smooch fest and there isn’t the push-pull of what next and I don’t want any of that anymore.
In the morning, Parker rolls over and says, “Got time for a quickie?”
I punch him in the ribs, only half holding back.
“A quick compression, that is?” He corrects himself. “My back. It’s my back, just a quick pop. That’s all I need.”
I stare at him, unimpressed.
“What? Don’t look at me that way,” Parker says.
I keep looking at him that way. “You’re repressing your sexual desires again,” I say. It’s great to be able to tell it like it is.
“Who, me?” he plays dumb but can’t hold it for long and soon we are both laughing, getting up, ready to greet the day. I make him breakfast, hand him his work clothes piece by piece off the hanger, and kiss him goodbye.
“I’ll be back next month,” he says on his way out. “Two more sessions with the MD and them I’ve got my credits for the semester.”
Once he’s gone, I don’t look back. Don’t feel sad. Don’t feel empty. In fact, I sit down and revise for five hours.
Progress is possible and even, occasionally, measurable and rewarding. Thank goodness.