The Almost Marriage

I was walking by in blue jeans and a red flannel shirt, even though it was June and over one hundred degrees. You were sitting outside of a church in a lovely dress. Your back was against the bricks. You had tears in your eyes. Not of terrible sorrow, but of a gentle sadness. It was pink or peach or something, the dress. I walked up to you and asked if there was something the matter. You looked up at me and then back at the door of the church, and then you stood and took my hand. “Let’s go,” you said. And I said, “Where?” And you said, “Who cares?” And I went with you because you were quite beautiful, the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all week.

We walked at a brisk pace, like trying to catch a train or something. Even though it was over one hundred degrees and we were practically running, you weren’t sweating at all. I was drenched. Two blocks later, a car caught up and began following us slowly, honking. Then they started screaming your name, and that’s how I discovered your name was Linda. And then you screamed at them that it’s all a terrible mistake and to go away. I asked what all was a terrible mistake but you didn’t answer. I tried to put all the pieces together, but I couldn’t really think right because I was just so excited that you were holding my hand and walking with me — even if it was hard keeping up and I was of out of breath and panting. A pretty girl like you totally takes over my brain.

Case in point: I was terrified you’d ask me a question I didn’t know the answer to, so I prayed you’d ask me like a state capital or something, because I knew all 50 of them down pat. But if you turned to me and asked, ‘Why are humans so fucked up to each other?’ Well, then I’d be screwed. And the only reason I thought that was a possibility — because seriously, who asks that of someone they just met? — was because you seemed so distraught and there were these people following us and it really was quite dramatic.

Case in point: there was a man in the passenger seat in a tuxedo with a furious scowl on his very angry face. He pointed at me and mouthed: ‘I am going to murder you.’ You told me, “That’s him.” I had no idea who him was. I said, “Linda, who?” You didn’t answer because you were too preoccupied with ignoring the man in the tuxedo… him. And because you were now choking on tears that seemed to want to water the Earth.

Now there was a procession of cars, five or six of them, and many of them were honking also. It was a giant ruckus. People stopped on the street and watched us. Then I started to put it together on my own because everybody was wearing tuxedos or lovely dresses too, and I’m not that much of an idiot. I get distracted, but I’m not dumb.

Case in point: you started to run, and I almost tripped behind you but then I started to run too, because you were still holding my hand and that didn’t give me much choice; plus, I wanted to follow you, even though I didn’t know where we were going, but I didn’t care, because for the first time in my life it felt like I was going somewhere. Like I said, you were the prettiest thing I’ve seen all week. And if these assholes in the cars were chasing you then I wanted to be there to protect you, even though I didn’t know you and I really wasn’t that strong or much of a fighter. Still, I turned into a caveman in that moment… for you.

Isn’t it crazy how you can develop such feelings so fast?

Case in point: I once had a stray cat come up to me and meow while swiping its body against my leg — that’s all it took for me to decide to adopt it, that little bit of attention and affection. I took it in that night, into my home, and I fed it and pet it for hours. I loved it instantly. I named it Jane even though I wasn’t sure if it was male or female. I just always liked the name Jane. The cat jumped out of the window the next day, but still… case in point.

Then we turned the corner quickly and you pulled me into the stairway of a building so they couldn’t follow us anymore. You led me up the steps to the rooftop that looked out over the city, all glass and mirror gleaming in the setting sun. A city made of golden light. The sun shone on your radiant face too. I wondered how you knew we could access the rooftop. Had you been here before? Is this a friend’s place or something? In just a few minutes of meeting you, you had surprised me multiple times. You were like a magician, but not, because magicians are creepy.

Once we were up there, you stopped crying and were now laughing, and the laughter grew until you were doubled over and trying to catch your breath. “Oh, my god,” you exhaled, “I can’t believe that I almost married that turd!” I laughed with you — not because I found it as funny, but because I always laugh when other people laugh. It’s just the way I am.

Then you started to cry again, and I cried with you too, because I also always cry when other people cry.

Case in point…

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