In front of the city I love, in the night sky, street lights gleaming over the water. More stars in my eyes than the blue blanket over Echo Park. He said to me, “I feel so connected to you as though we’ve been married before in a past life.” In that second, I did a heart check and nodded, “Yeah, I feel that way too.” He then said, “But I’m confused… because sometimes I’m not attracted to you – ”
Everything dimmed into off grey, no stars in my eyes, mouth hanging open, to this awkward pause in time that seemed too good to be true. Our momentum was cut with the universe saying, “just kidding.” It happened so fast. Caught off guard is an understatement so I scrambled for words, “What? – What do you expect me to say about that?” Is this for real? My mind started pacing back and forth for a sense to land on. My first thought was, you had to say it now? Several dates in and at the park I hold as my secret safe place? When just a minute ago I introduced you to the angel statue who I greet every night I jog, in the park where I pray over my city, and celebrate the dreamers while I unfold my arms and pretend to fly? My island with god? This park?
Of course, what did I fee like next – a fool. I know what the ladies are thinking, I should have left his ass at the park right? I said, “I need to walk… I need to move my feet.. I need to get up.” (I think better when I’m moving.) We get off the bench and start walking. Inside, I’m trying to wrap my mind around this with compassion. With clarity. I take a deep breath. And I ask myself, how would I perceive this moment if I wasn’t defensive? What would I do with this moment? The thing is, I can’t necessarily cast him off as a “fuckboy” or a “duche.” This man in front of me, dating aside, I respect him intellectually, spiritually, creatively, as a person. I mean, he’s legitimately a good guy working to end homelessness. I tell him, “Give me a second. I need a second to process this because of course I’m not thanking you. Part of me wants to punch you right in the face, with reason, but in honesty, I’m oddly relieved you said the truth because it is what it is. I can’t help that now, and I can’t help it later.”
I coughed a small laugh the way I do when things don’t go my way. I sighed, “But it’s funny. I ran here yesterday, and debated my feelings because my ex’s face is on billboards and I’m here trying not to run away from what can be. There’s this tiny voice of hesitation that followed me since we met, but the bigger me kept saying, ‘You have to leap for great things to happen,’ and right now that little voice is all smug like, ‘I told you so’ when really, I thought this time… this time the bigger me would be the victor sayin, ‘I told you so.”
But there we were.
Two people in this imperfect moment.
Two people who saw the human in each other clearly and accepted it. Two people who easily excused each other as god’s kids under the moon winging it as best we can. So we walked and talked more. Next thing I know, we’re lying on the grass looking up at the sky like kids, and I had forgotten about the crushing news at the bench further behind us. We laughed at how clueless we were trying to navigate this life right.
We looked at each other as if wondering how can we be so close, but just not fit. I said, “If we were married in a past life, because obviously we have a connection, why do you think we even crossed paths again? I think, maybe souls can be like two shooting stars, passing each other and that’s all there is to it. If that’s the case, my ego aside, I think we can still make something beautiful. So, I say lets take advantage, make it beautiful, and leave it be where it was.” He was surprised. He was curious, and he trusted me.
All pressure off from expecting anything from each other, we drove to his place and rhymed along in his car to Mos Def’s “Ms. Fat Booty.” (I was the DJ.) We arrived to his apartment which was covered in post it notes of ideas and inspirations and lined with piled books. I closed my eyes and opened a random page of one book on his coffee table with photographs and quotes from Sufi poets. The page read, “Dance, even if only in thought.” Maktub, I took it as an omen. He handed me tea and gave me a hug from behind. He asked, “are you ok?”
We sat on the couch. Drifted with ideas. We danced to Hip Hop, to jazz, and something slow and latin. He sang in Spanish. I doodled on his post-its. We philosophized, and theorized, traded jokes, and secrets. We savored and celebrated each other. It was playful, innocent, mature, and sincere. It was the most intimate either of us had ever been without being intimate. We fell asleep in each other’s arms. The next day he drove me home. We gave each other a long deep hug and parted ways.
I flopped into bed, sighed in a few tears in proportion to recent historical fairness, and that was that. I didn’t regret a thing. Yes, it was unconventional. Yes my ego was a little hurt. Ok, a lot hurt. But I took something from that night. I learned I can flip the script when I step outside of how I “should” react and ask myself, “What is the right thing to do? or… What is the beautiful thing to do?” The right thing would be to leave him at the park and call an uber. The beautiful thing to do is what actually happened. In that night, we gave to each other I learned something about storytelling. We didn’t love each other, we loved our stories and our ideas. That was our connection. It was mental. We were not lovers, we were admirers. I discovered what could happen if you hand it all over to beauty’s making, put your pride aside, and let two souls be.
We texted a few times after that. For my last text in all dramatic closure, true to my style, I sent:
“Truth is, in this book of life, you are easily my favorite character so far, but you’d have to jump out of a plane to see me again. And I wouldn’t ask that of you. Take care.”
*If he’s reading this, 😉✌🏽.