This prompt began by asking everyone to generate two lists: “Things that are buried” and “Things that float or fly.” I gave everyone about seven minutes to free write as many words, phrases, or sentences as they could under each of these headings. Then we chose two from each list and read them around, out loud, allowing a short pause in between each person to let the others write down anything they heard that they liked. Then we chose one or more of these as prompts, wrote them at the top of a blank page, and used them as a place to begin.
I wrote down these: “Possibilities, Anger, Laughter, Gardenias, Dust motes, Love I was afraid to claim.” My fifteen minute write is below.
Love came back, thick and messy and beautiful as ever. He sat down on my living room couch and asked for a glass of water. “I’m so thirsty,” Love said, drinking it down in one long gulp. “May I have some more?”
This was the Love, the one I was afraid to claim, the one with too many ex-boyfriends and too much stuff in storage.
“It’s time for dinner,” Love said. “Are you hungry?”
“Look,” I said, “I get it, okay? You’re one of my teachers and I have a lesson to learn: I’m scared of the responsibility you represent. Fine. Will you go now?”
“How about dinner?” Love asked, reclining on the couch, big, muscular arms behind his head of dark hair, his thin calves hanging off the edge. “I mean, a boy’s gotta eat!”
“Look, Love,” I said. “It’s nice of you to visit again, and I appreciate it, I really do, but I liked my life before you came back. I had yoga at 8:00 am, and lunch at 1:00, and Friday evenings all to myself. I was free to kiss anyone I wanted. Now you’re back and I’m not sure I’m really committed to having you here.”
Love looked at me quizzically, knowing full well I had avoided the question. He’s handsome and smart, but he’s not good at bending. Tenacious, Love is.
“We really have to get you a new couch,” Love said. “There’s no way you can make out on a couch this small.”
I sighed. Love sighed.
“I don’t want a new couch, Love,” I said. “This one is fine for now, in this one bedroom apartment for one. And on lonely nights it’s just the right size for a movie and a bottle of red wine, and some good old-fashioned self-pity. Now you come in and shake up my routine—and it’s not that I’m not thankful to feel this, don’t get me wrong, what with wrinkles and back fat and gray hair galore, but before you showed up, I was comfortable.”
Love just sat there waiting patiently, perfectly sculpted eyebrows raised.
“Where shall we eat?” Love asked.
I sighed. Love sighed.
“Your pick,” I said. “I’ll go wherever you want.”
“That’s great!” Love said. And off we went, with Love holding my hand, as he always does. As he likes to do.