Thursday, April 22, 2004
god save the queen
sure, it doesn't look that big. compared to the apartment building. but then you look over at the gorky, some perfectly adequate and luxurious russian ship that sailed up the hudson yesterday and is docked two slips away and you look back at the honkingly large queen mary 2 and you think to yourself and sometimes out loud,
CHRIST IN A SIDECAR, THAT IS ONE FUCKING MASSIVE BOAT.
the poor gorky has already checked itself into therapy and is having trouble performing.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
tree for the forest
we were at a restaurant in rio when it happened. my brother and i had been invited to dinner with an old family friend and his kids. his son, M, and his stepson, C, were both there. the exchange that followed may have gone completely unnoticed by their family, may in fact be a common occurence, but it was rather a watershed moment for me.
C is twenty eight, rakishly good looking in the way puppy dogs are cute even when they've piddled on the sofa. he takes almost excessively good care of his sculpted body, and probably knows how endearing it is when his thick brown hair flops over his inquisitive blue eyes. C surfs, owns a hip-hop club, and thinks "smoking makes women look ugly", as he so charmlessly told me while i took a drag off my cigarette. as i watched C drink his water and wave away smoke, i tired to remember what i found so attractive about him last year.
M is four years older, with a quiet but intelligent wife and a sparkling and adored four year old girl. M has eyes like brownie batter and patchy black hair. he's tall and his muscles sit comfortably on a bigger frame. he wears the same thing nearly every day - slightly rumpled but expensive button-downs and worn jeans. he takes after his father, with a kind easy charm and a smile for everyone. even better, M lacks his father's innate but harmless womanizing.
dessert came around, and with his treasured daughter hanging off his shoulder and his wife ready with a spoon, M happily dug into the enormous ice cream sundae. C, tanned arms crossed over his smooth flat chest, looked askance at M's dessert.
"what is it, C?" M asked jovially. "want some?"
with the kind of smirk that turns a handsome face into a fleetingly grotesque one, C replied, "ah, so that's when you know you're over the hill, eh? when you eat that kind of junk? all downhill from here, M?"
only my brother and i seemed to notice how incredibly rude this was. our eyes locked with mirrored surprise. the ugly smokers comment, now this? i watched M as he ruffled his daughter's hair. he looked at her, and at his wife engaged in a conversation with his parents. then he turned back to C.
"when you can sit here, with your family, and be happy... you can eat an entire sundae, C. you'll see." he lifted another spoonful of chocolate and ice cream to his daughter's mouth and wiped her cheek.
C laughed, "ah, sure, yeah."
the conversation was probably just a joust between brothers. on all other fronts, C and M obviously get along very well. perhaps this was a routine of theirs. but the implication is heavy - what makes you happy, your trim waistline or your family?
i couldn't forget this exchange, or how devalued C's shallow good looks became in comparison to M's warmth and kindness. C actually became ugly in my eyes, while M's more natural good looks struck me for the first time. i've always believed people are only as beautiful as their personalities. so why had i even found C attractive in the first place? more to the point, how had i not seen it in M?
for so long, i chased the wrong kind of guy. my friends didn't have to tell me ... i knew i could never settle down with any of these men. i knew they'd never look at a sundae shared with me and our children as one of life's precious moments. and i knew i would. but knowing who the wrong ones are doesn't always make the right ones stand out. i couldn't always see the tree for the forest.
watching M delight in his friends and family, watching the kind of wisdom i cherished fall so easily from his lips, made me realize that my radar had finally kicked in. i finally knew the good ones. after years of chasing the C's and wondering where all the M's were, i could spot them a mile away. both kinds.
so it's not surprising to me that i love stuart. it's not remotely surprising that i see him for exactly what he is - a brilliant, kind, beautiful person - and that i love him for it. it's not surprising that i fell like a metric ton of bricks at his charm, his warmth, his compassion for everyone around him, his intelligence and his charisma. it's not surprising i'm irresistibly attracted to him, that i feel both strong and delicate in his arms. it might come as a shock to the girl from a few years ago, who barked up the wrong trees and knew it. but this girl has been waiting for him.
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