Winter: at home or a café
Summer: my dad’s yard or the park
Phone usually on silent or off
Mailbox emptied once a day
Sent from my desk, in a free and fitting moment
Good evening there,
A friend of a friend told me you’re looking for someone to partner on your project with. Then another friend told me about you as well – and very independently so – and so after a few more nights of sleeping about it, I decided it was about time to write to you. You’ve never met me, and I’ve never met you, but since I will take bullets for all three friends of mine who are also somehow connected with you, I am confident we could be on to something. /
I’ve heard about your project, and even though I am not entirely sure of the details, I like the sound of its reach: it’s for the people, for progress, for the future. Sounds like a sensible list of priorities to me—and a mighty rare one, too.
Here are a few things you should know about me right from the get-go (…maybe you like surprises, but maybe these don’t have to be among them):
My favorite thing to do it to write, especially guest book entries. So for office equipment, I’ll need a pen and paper and I’ll be good to go.
I blush easily and most often during deep conversations, happy news, and swing dancing. I won’t try to hide it.
I cry seldom but when I do, I’m either in a lot of pain or absolutely overwhelmed with joy. You’ll know the difference.
And lastly, I’ve lived in America for the last seven years. Let me leave every now and then, or come away with me, and I’ll return rejuvenated.
Since this isn’t speed-dating, I will get into the more academic matter now. Because I love language so much, I studied it in college, and would therefore propose focusing on verbs in the following paragraphs. I’ve got four for you.
If after a walk, a talk, and a handshake, we’ve both agreed to commit, I tell you: I will show up. There will be days when we’re set to meet on the corner at 10am. And my car and I will get in a traffic jam, or I’ll start talking to a loner on the tram, or my grandmother will call right then. I might end up twisting my ankle on the sidewalk (although I’m not into heels), get rescued by a old man, and subsequently have the chat of my lifetime. By that time, my old brick cell might be out of juice, and you might not be able to phone me. I promise, if I don’t show up, there’ll be a reason. Maybe not a standard one, but one with anecdotal value at the very least.
If in such a moment you should start shouting at me, because you’re disappointed, had a short night, ate a wrong thing, or maybe slipped on a banana peel, rest assured I will listen. My ears will not be on “Durchzug”, as the Germans like to say, which literally means throughtrain. I will be on that same train with you, listening just as closely as when you’re giving me a compliment or telling me about your greatest childhood memory.
When you chose to tell me about your dreams, don’t apologize for it first and then take the short route. Say it loudly, go on those tangents, and introduce me to all of the characters. Tell me about the wheres and the hows and the whos, tell me about the when. Tell me about the question marks, and the ellipses, I’m into them. So when you dream, I dare you to dream big, so we can not be afraid together.
Well and then, when money or time or neither or both run out, ask me, and I will stay nonetheless to try again and again. In this age of short means and shorter ends, I have this very palpable yearning to stay through the happy times, stay through the toils, to be there from beginning to end. I want to see it grow, witness it take on different names and shapes and sizes. I want to feel it creating me just as much as I’m creating it. I want to see other people drawn to it because its filled with realness, with desire, and with will. And if all of this means that you and I have to schlep a piano into the street and sing favorite songs while passing the hat, well, then that’s what we’ve got to do. As long as there’re a few coins for ravioli, a train ticket, and white envelopes, I’m good.
So… My glass is empty, the phone is ringing, and the laundry still sitting here—unfolded.
I’ll be seeing you,
PS: If for any of these you want references (other people I will take bullets for), here they are:
1. The president of Georgetown, Jack DeGioia. I almost missed my BA commencement celebration, because an elderly woman had suddenly collapsed on the sidewalk in front of me.
2. My first host mother in France. One day—I was very young and spoke not a word of non-school French—she sat me down, told me something of great importance, and wrote a telephone number onto a sheet of paper for me. Even though I didn’t understand much of what she was saying, I caught on to the fact that she had a severe chronic illness and needed me to know whom to call in case of an emergency.
3. Call my mother and ask how it came about that walked into my first principal’s office, at the age of five, to tell him I wanted to go to school NOW, not the year after. How it came about that I left home at the age of 15 to move to America. Or when I dated a woman and decided to not hide it. There’s not much I’m afraid of.
4. Well, no, don’t call him. You might fall in love. After all, I did. So on that one, just take my word for it.