elevator love letter

by s.

There is a thing that one must do when one has been uprooted or upset or possibly just very hungover: I call it “stuffing yourself back into yourself.” You can move around and talk to people and function fairly normally during this time, but it feels like your body does not quite belong to you and your brain is across the room. It’s like a weird zen visualization exercise to cross that room and get your brain back in your head again, and it can really be unpleasant, but it must be done.

Sometimes, though, the process of doing so is slow and seems more self-damaging. It takes more than a minute and in my case, it takes a flight across the Atlantic and back. Sometimes things change. You wake up one morning and decide you are fully, wholly okay with being a cheerleader for the rest of the world, and that in the support for everyone else, you are sure that you’ll be able to reconnect to your own brain.

When you’re me, what that looks like can be embarrassingly forthcoming. I showed up at my old office with a six-pack just in time to have a drink with Dorothy before her late-evening conference call, and I plopped myself in the doorway of the company COO and more or less forced him to call it quits for the day. I corralled two friends experiencing similar creative difficulties into meeting up for a drink so they could brain dump on each other. I went out for drinks with a co-worker and “just one more”-ed him into experiencing what I am like when I am drunk and excited and I treat everyone I really like as though I have known them forever. I did the same thing the next night with friends-of-friends at an impromptu apartment gathering.

There are so many things about other people that are just so worth it. When you message me in the middle of the day because you’re working on a band promotion and you can’t quite put your finger on what’s missing, I love that I am still the person that you ask after all these years. When you tell me that you have a weakness for old folk songs about shipwrecks and the sea, I am probably going to need to catch my breath because I am so excited that you are a real person. When you send me drunk late-night text messages and ask me if you can pay me to write cleverly about your life, I will lose sleep thinking about how I can do that in a way that would do you justice. If I walk into your apartment and you immediately begin to make me a Manhattan, I will do pretty much anything you ask me ever, including bake brownies on command a few hours later because you have a craving.

Some of that love is cheerfully misguided infatuation for new and interesting people; some of it is the very deep and real feeling that I would definitely throw myself into a river for you if it would alleviate your pain or make you smile. Some of it is, as mentioned, wholly embarrassing, as if I have thrown open the barn doors to my heart and you’ve discovered all of the wild and fanciful animals that live inside of it. I do these things for me, because I want you to like me and I do these things for you, because I will do anything I can to introduce your wonderful, wonderful brains to the rest of the world.

A good friend of mine told me yesterday that he’d adopted a wounded bird that had slammed into the glass wall of his house. He left the door ajar so the bird could escape if needed, and when he went back into his living room, another bird was perched on his couch just hanging out and watching as he tended to the first bird. He started narrating both birds’ thoughts to me. It felt really, really good to be alive.

My biggest secret is that I am probably your biggest fan, and something about this has changed the way that I respond to the world. This might be temporary or this might come with me as I figure out where exactly I am headed next, but it’s an unmistakable shift that becomes hard to reconcile with the version of myself who stands alone on a mountaintop somewhere and never speaks again. All I can say about this so far is this: even if I end up on that mountaintop, I guarantee you I will be there so that I can make more time to write you clever stories about your life.

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