iván BRAVE

Writer

This can’t be love

17 November 2019
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This can’t be love, because I feel so well,
No sobs, no sorrows, no sighs.
This can’t be love; I get no dizzy spells,
My head is not in the skies.

–Nat King Cole

 

I often wondered why being in love made you want to stand on top of a mountain, shouting it out. Sometimes for me, and for others I assume too, I would rather turn the words gently, greedily in my mouth, like unwrapping a chocolate coin with my tongue, then licking it to sweet, succulent death. And yet, as the words come to me these days, I see something new about that image that I haven’t seen before: we want to shout, but not because we want to communicate it to the world. Rather it is because we just have to let it out, while at the same time not seem crazy to anyone. You scream alone at the top of the mountain, free at the top of your lungs, “I AM IN LOVE!”


Then you repeat it. You listen for the echo. And you yell it again, even louder. Suddenly, you are released. You step down the mountain and you build a fire for the night.

You may feel, as you read on, that I am this man now, shouting at the top of my lungs, telling everyone how much in love I am. But actually, I am alone, on top of a mountain (on a plane, actually) with no hope at all, no wish, no dreams, no fantasy whatsoever. Only the sweet words in my mouth, drooling onto the screen, to share a naked truth: I will hold her again, and again be two of a kind.

 

It shines in the lowest light and accompanies me everywhere, this ring. It’s enough to wonder . . .

How did I get here?

In the air, 30,000 feet. Beer frothing in a cup. Flight attendants with unforced smiles. Life is good.

I’m coming back from a mission, my first business trip out of the country, to a conference. Feeling? Like an old student of mine put it, all grown up. Yet . . .

The woman sitting next to me reads. Up front a man sleeps. The window is cool, even my side of it, while the light outside slowly dims.

. . . There is time. Once more that feeling of youth. There is time for everything. Thinking of the wedding playlist, I write, My head is in the skies, then fold away my journal, to pull out this very phone.

The last couple of messages from my wife: it would take two screen shots to capture all of them, the hearts and safe wishes before take off. This makes me feel more calm than usual about flying. I’ve never worried about my plane landing wrong, or dropping out of the sky, but I am the type to say to himself, “If this were the last flight . . .” before proceeding to send that extra “I love you,” or few extra, as was the case today.

A third screen shot, lo and behold, would show an invocation from the muse. I’m asking, what should I do on the flight? and she replies, “Why don’t you write about the wedding?” It’s like she can hear the playlist going on in my mind. So I type. Thank you.

And yet, now, she must be shaking her head reading the post. She doesn’t like it when I make her out to have so much influence over me. She told me once, “Do it because you want to, not because you feel forced,” before I moved to Bucharest. Then again before we married, and again before a lot of things. You know the type. Let’s just say she likes to lie down as she feels me feeling her. True, we want others to be passionate about us, but on one condition. Like Alan Watts told about two spouses, one said to the other, “You must love me, but only because you want to!” Trust me, then, when I say this is me, all me, head held high, while the miles between us close, on a flight back home . . .

. . . saying, I’m glad I married. And I’m happy with my copilot. My hands are on the wheel, but it’s her eyes I trust. Yes, she asks for this post, so what, here it is, baby. In bits and pieces, salted by friends and peppered with family: our wedding.

We met like these two, from one of my favorite movies; so when Ela and I watched it two weeks before the wedding, hearing this song in the closing credits, we knew what would play for our first dance.

Most take their designated spot at their assigned table. While others are arguing, quietly switching place cards with folks who haven’t arrived yet. They don’t like their seat, or rather go where they can flirt better. Some are caught by the owners of the cards, so merely fold their arms and avoid talking to the strangers, the cousins.

 

It’s like prosecco with dry ice in here, cold and sexy this the opening. The rest of the night a collage. Now there’s muzica: a four-piece gypsy lautari band, with their accordion and strings and vibratto.

 

Sour pork sarmale, fish, vita, veal, and endless red wine from Moldova, on top of the open bar.

 

More muzica. A mother in law, with her three changes of clothes, as she sings through the night.

 

He’s here, a friend I once wrote about who said he had never been in love. Back then, when I asked him how he knew what love even was, he had replied, “Aw, man, you know.” He gives a speech. We cheer.

 

Another friend, who always hears me out and I him, replied to my early anxieties about all this with the best line: “When you know you know.” He gives a speech, too. We rub our eyes.

 

One uncle told me that since I married everyone’s opinion of me just crashed and burned, they can go to hell, “Que se caguen,” he said. Couldn’t make it, but my aunt could, and she broadcasts via phone the whole evening.

 

Even more muzica. My brother-in-law raps, twice. If his sister makes me believe in fate, then he makes me believe in good luck. It has been good. And it’s on his old phone that I write.

 

These hands are sweaty, palms to knees already. Ma smiling in the back. Mom coming from the front. A 100 percent increase in being a son.

 

I’m nervous in this moment.

 

What am I supposed to do? Relax, says the best man. It’s not your problem says Pa. I look for the woman in white. She’s in a haze of laughter, smoke, but I see her clearly.

 

She’s under a purple light, showing her teeth and a glow I can’t ignore. I have never felt such joy. There are only thoughts, feelings, and a collage of persons all inside, have you noticed?

 

My bones rattle still from how much fun we all had that night, the greatest night of my life. And I have people who love me to thank.

 

Take it away, Tony.

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