Jack says, “I’ll meet you on the Empire State,” meaning the top, at a prescribed time, carrying flowers.
“What for?” I ask him, sure we’re past grand gestures which are essentially superficial moves with ulterior motives. We’ve had sex, what more could he want?
“There can be romance in anniversary, in marking pasts, futures, constructing events that mean nothing to people who aren’t us, enacting movies we’ve not seen and ones that we have, sure that our lives are more Tom Hanks Castaway, than Meg Ryan New York. But we’ll try, suggest places in cities spread out on classroom maps, flat, inaccurate. And we won’t make most of them, don’t have the cash or stamina to see the settings of movies, aren’t actors with wages enough to get flowers each time we fuck up. But this, the first, give me it. Meet me. Pretend we think this will last.”
“Okay,” I say but I’m minutes late and he leaves and I list what I’ve stolen in life, from whom, and I figure how to give it back. Starting with Ira.
Sometimes the real you isn’t you at all. But family and friends convince you you’re definitely one of them. No-one’s ever fit succinctly into the unique holes they’re cutting for others, but you’re the closest and that’s got to be fateful or, at the very least, meaningful. No-one considers they’re desperate, they’ll let anybody be what they’re after if it means one less night looking in TV guides, a Sunday without a solo cinema trip. Although some people like that, but it’s not what you like but what you should that’s important. So keep the game up, and the extensions plugged in and the hair colour a shade off the other people in your new circles. You don’t want to be dull, but noticeable’s almost as bad in situations when you’re pretending to be who someone else thinks you are.