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How A Woman Falls in Love


I

Okay, here’s scene number one: it’s about three in the morning, you’re in a wheat field with him. He pulled his junker off the country road, got out a blanket, and just started walking. You followed. The hip-high blades of grass were wet with dew, you can still feel the cool of the water when you think about it now. And you can smell the wheat, you can smell that it’s green, that the acres in the dark are screaming with life.

He finds a spot and pushes the wheat down. Then the blanket goes. Then you go.

You remember that all you could see was a few stars in the sky, silhouettes of trees waving on the horizon, wheat hovering over you like skyscrapers. And him, kissing your arm, your shoulder, your cheek, your eyelid.

When the two of you leave, he tells you it’s a little after four. And you don’t believe him.

II

Okay, here’s another scene: you’re sitting at your desk, and out of the corner of your eye you see a jar of potpourri. There are about twenty white roses in the glass, they’re still whole. You dried them yourself.

So when you see the roses you stop your work and let your eyes wander until they can’t see anymore. And you daydream.

You remember him coming over with two dozen long stem white roses, taking you on a picnic. You ended up in the balcony of a music theatre eating croissants and strawberries with sugar, drinking champagne, listening to a pianist play Mozart on the stage below.

And you remember that he took you to dinner afterward, but what really sticks in your mind is that after dinner you brought him back you your place and you turned on the stereo and slow danced in the dark.

You moved away the next day. But you put all the roses and all the leaves and all the baby’s breath in a small garbage can, filled it with some water and took it with you.

And that’s why you keep the roses dried on your desk.

III

Okay, I’ve got another one: you’re fulfilling your end of a bet, so you take him out to an empty road one night, fully prepared to serenade him. But every thing starts to go wrong: the wind picks up and you’re shivering with a chill, you’re coming down with a cold and sound nasal, you get nervous, he’s going to hate it, you’re going to make a fool out of yourself, and you can’t even think of a good song to sing. So you’re racking your brains for a good tune, you should have thought of this before, he’s still there staring at you, and finally you remember this song from your childhood. Your older sister taped it for you, you don’t even know who sings it, but all you ever thought was that it was a song about romance, about love lasting forever. So you just started to sing.

In the back of your mind you always thought that song would be the song you shared with your husband. But you didn’t tell him that part.

IV

So now jump ahead a couple weeks. You’re at a bar with him, it’s crowded, you’re pretty drunk. After the bar closes he takes you to his car, his already pathetic car, you know, the one that stalls at intersections, and by now the driver’s side door is stuck and won’t open so he has to crawl in from your side. Well, he drives you to his house and he lets you in and he goes upstairs and he gives you a bouquet of flowers, and then he gives you this compact disc with the song you sang to him on it. He found out the name of the original singer, and by the fourth record store he found the song.

And he got it for you, girl. For you.

V

Alright, one more. No picnics, no serenading, no gifts. Here’s the scene: you make dinner with him at your apartment. You set the table, lower the lights, turn on some big band music real soft. He opens the wine. As you eat, the two of you start talking.

About politics. About the upcoming election. About abortion. The death penalty. The judicial system. About the ethical dilemma in returning clothing to a retail store simply because you’ve worn it and don’t like it anymore. About business. About the welfare system. About philosophy.

So when you can’t eat anymore you just kind of lean back in your chair and watch him. You smile. He’s your intellectual equal. He talks to you.

You know, earlier that day you were looking through the want ads because you wanted a new apartment. And you mentioned, without thinking, that the two of you could save money by living together.

You still can’t believe you said it. Or even thought it. But the thought is still there, haunting you, teasing you, in the back of your mind.



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