word by Charlotte Kidd
colour by Jason Middlebrook
1. Meet a guy who builds things. It’s refreshing because he can get out of his head. Now, you can be in Sex and the City (rather than a looped Woody Allen movie, as has recently been the case).
2. Realize that refreshing is a reductive way to describe a person. On the second date, he takes you dancing. As if he existed in opposition to all previous men. As if he was made to fill a gap in your life, like water. Realize this when he is just as funny and charming and soft with you on the second date as the first. Realize that the way he handles the world is gentle, and kind, and generous.
3. Spend a day in bed with him. Listen to all the sad songs. Be cushioned by happiness, sensitive to the songs but never touched by them. Wonder why you’ve never listened to sad music when you felt light.
4. Ask him to build something. Not just dinner (he’s done that already) but one of the things he really makes. Something to hold.
5. Write him a song of gratitude for the thing he made; a perfect painting on an imperfect round of wood. And for the story he tells you, about recovery.
“Idle hands are the devil’s tools,” he says, in all seriousness. Where you would have once scoffed, you instead take his un-idle hands into your own.
6. Dance to your new story, dance to the details, get down to the grit. Marvel at how much you can enjoy something so pedestrian as a slow dance; you didn’t ever think you could love someone you weren’t competing with. Dance to nothing really being extraordinary and nothing being truly ordinary.
7. Keep grooving. Find that it’s easy to bring him flowers if he’s had a bad day. Make him laugh. Plan special things for his birthdays. Not so easy to wash his beard out of the sink, un-dog-ear the pages after he’s read your books. Hard to convince him, after another sale goes south and another one of his pieces ends up in a half-born graveyard, that he does not need to go out and find something to make it easier.
8. Dig out the thing he made. Blare music, emotions of the song intruding your feelings so that there isn’t enough space for them. You are not sure how big they could get if you let them expand. Wonder when he’s coming home. Wonder if he’s coming home. Say he is.
9. Dance to the sound of a door closing. Get down to his footsteps. Feel the rhythm of him coming back to your arms. Dance for the boy who makes things. Groove to the people whose lives are complicated but who touch the soft and fleshy walls of the world with the least pressure possible. Get down to him, in bliss and imperfection.