This is just one of my latest journal entries. I wanted to share it with all of you.
Anti-confusion note: On a different blog I have written about someone named Alex (many of you in the dance scene know to whom I’m referring). This is NOT the same Alex as the person about whom I write in this post.
May 14/ 15 2009
When I hugged Will Dailey after the show, he collapsed lightly into me so that his forehead briefly met my shoulder. His black shirt and vest were soaked with sweat.
“Are you ok?” I smiled, when he’d stood up again. “I know that takes a lot of energy.”
Will and the band had encored with “Laugh It Off” and “Down The Drain,” probably my two favorites, though it is so hard to say. They really rocked those two out.
“Hey,” I continued, “would it be super-Velveeta if I asked you to autograph the set list?”
“No,” answered Will.
I gave him my light blue mini-pen and the set list I had nabbed from the stage.
Will returned the paper and said, “Listen, before you leave I want to give you a bunch of my little CDs to take to Spain, so you can hand them out and say, ‘Hey, listen to this American guy.’”
“Definitely,” I said.
“And tell Daisy I’m really sorry she couldn’t make it.” He hugged me again.
“Okay,” I said.
It would be a while before any of us departed, though. I reached the bar as Cormack was getting started on another round. “What would you like?” Cormack nodded in my direction.
“Umm…. diet Coke and Johnny Walker Black.”
“Good choice.” He bought my drink. We clicked. Ricardo came over and the three of us clicked.
“Cormack, how’s your music been going?” I asked.
“I’ve been playing a lot lately. One, two gigs a week. I’m really enjoying it. Great stuff happening right now,” he said. Cormack works for MatLab in Natick during the day so two gigs per week playing bass sounds like a lot indeed.
Somehow we got to talking about my blog and realized that he and Ricardo would make it into the first book. I asked them what names they wanted.
Both men answered in short order. First Ricardo, with: “Ricardo.”
Then Cormack: “Cormack.”
“You got it,” I said.
“Ricardo Montaban,” Ricardo amended, smiling over his beer at Cormack.
“I think that one’s already taken. How about Inigo Montoye?” I suggested.
Ricardo began quoting quite impressively from The Princess Bride. “I saw it in 1989!” he crowed.
“I saw it in 1988. In the theater,” I bragged.
Cormack started typing into his phone, its bright blue light illuminating his chin.
“Cormack, stop texting your girlfriend!” I cried. I looked at Ricardo. “OK, ready? Unison eye-roll!”
“What are you telling her?” Ricardo asked.
“Just wishing her well on her exam tomorrow.”
“But she’s brilliant,” Ricardo pointed out.
“Yes, she’s brilliant. She’ll do well,” Cormack murmured, his deep voice cutting through the bar’s medium-volume canned salsa.
“How old is she?” Ricardo asked.
Cormack cast his eyes downward.
Ricardo looked at me. “She looks about fourteen.”
“Yes, she looks very young,” Cormack said.
“It’s not nice to ask about ladies’ ages,” I chided Ricardo.
“She’s in her thirties,” Cormack capitulated.
“In her thirties?! Does that mean, like, thirty?” Ricardo exclaimed. “Is she thirty-one or thirty-nine?”
Cormack just smiled quietly.
“She also weighs as much as a fourteen-year-old person,” Ricardo continued.
“That would be good for air steps, if she ever wanted to do that,” I said right away, hoping to change the subject. Then I noticed the guy with the raven beard and wide innocent blue eyes standing a few feet to my right, hollered hello and gave him a hug. “Hey guys, this is Leo. Leo, this is Cormack, and this is Ricardo, otherwise known as Inigo.”
We all discussed Will’s show for a while before Leo, in his soft-spoken way, said he was out.
“Getting on your motorcycle?” I asked.
“Yup.” He grinned and took his leave of us.
“He’s one of my students,” I explained to the other guys. “One of my newer ones. He’s also a new fan of Will’s. He came to the latest house concert.”
“Yeah, I was sad I couldn’t make that one,” Cormack said. I was in New York with Ling. We went for her birthday.”
“Oh, that sounds so nice,” I crooned.
“When’s her birthday?” Ricardo asked.
“May 1st,” said Cormack.
Ricardo had crossed his ankle over his knee while sitting on the bar stool and I reached over and tapped his shin with my fingers. “Hey, I heard you have a girlfriend!”
“Yeah, yeah, I do.” Ricardo nodded vigorously.
“You met her in Mexico or something like that?”
“Mexico City. It was crazy.” He laughed brightly. “We were on a gig. She was involved with someone else.”
“And you stole her heart!”
“Well, it wasn’t really working out. See, she had been with this one guy. He was on this gig too; he was in the band. They had broken up because he didn’t want to have kids and she did. But then he changed his mind.” Ricardo held up his hands to make quotes in the air. “You don’t change your mind about that!”
“Anyway, so they were maybe getting back together. But in the meantime, she was dating the bandleader of this band!”
“Oh my goodness. She sounds like a hot ticket.”
“She is. Well, she was married, and then she got divorced, so she was dating a lot of different guys, that’s what you do when you get out of a marriage, right?”
I smiled inwardly and shrugged. That was what I had tried to do, Ricardo himself having been the first.
“So this one day while we were on the gig, we went for a 10-mile run. She’s also a runner. And she just told me everything. She’s a talker, you know. And then two weeks after that we got together.”
“So are you guys inseparable, like Cormack and his gal?”
“Yeah,” Ricardo admitted. “We’re together pretty much every day. She would be here tonight except she’s been sick. I mean, she’s better - she went to work today and everything, but she still needs to rest. She edits children’s books.”
My eyes widened in fascination and I expressed my approval. Then I added, “Relationships are so interesting.”
“They’re crazy,” Ricardo laughed.
“Mine’s crazy,” I said.
“You know, my father said something really wise once.”
“He did?” said Cormack.
“Yeah. My father’s a nut job! But he had this one wise moment where he said something like, ‘You can be in love and that’s great, but the relationship is only going to work if you are in the same place and want the same things.’”
“What are place and things?” I wondered.
“You know, whether you want kids, what kind of place you want to live in, whether you’re ready for commitment, things like that,” Ricardo explained patiently.
All at once I recalled several different conversations with Alexander: both of us describing the perfect loft while walking Sharma to Union Square one morning; me telling him I might consider having a child with him someday; listening to him describe the beauty of his sister’s place in New Hampshire and then saying, “But I could never live there; it’s in the suburbs.”
To Ricardo and Cormack, I cried, “But love makes you change, doesn’t it?
They were quick to agree with me, but they missed my point, which was, might falling in love with someone inspire a person to alter place and things being referred to? And if so, would that person still be the same person, still be authentic?
“My guy and I, we have a different kind of connection from what you guys have with your gals,” I said to Cormack and Ricardo. “I don’t know if it’s going to work out or not, but if it does we might wind up having the kind of relationship where we’re in the same place for a while, then we go off and do our own thing for a while, but consistently come back together.”
“That seems like it would work for you,” Ricardo approved. “You’re a very independent person.”
“Maybe that’s true. I don’t often think of myself that way. But Alexander needs his space. Sometimes have trouble with that. At first I really miss him, but then I realize that space is good for me too.”
Cormack looked at me. “He seems like a great guy.”
I remembered that Cormack must have met Alexander at one of the house concerts. “He is really great,” I sighed. “Both of us are big flirts. So, for example, this past weekend was a dance-event weekend. It was fun for me to flirt with a lot of guys, because -”
“Because now you know you still got it!” cried Ricardo.
I smiled in gratitude. “Well, yes, that’s true,” I giggled. “So that I know if Alexander ignores me too much he might lose me. But also - I always realize that I don’t like any of these guys anywhere nearly as much as Alexander.”
In fact, in these very moments I remembered why I’d liked Ricardo, why I’d stood in almost this very spot at Great Scott ten months ago almost to the day and let him flirt with me, why I was unnerved when six weeks later he stopped calling. Ricardo is much more engaged in the moment than the average numb person I talk to; he is considerably like Alexander in level of expression, in ability to pay attention and bring something to the conversational table. His expressive face is just darling. However, I do not have much chemistry with him. When I say hello to him he shoots his left arm up for a hug in a way that is a little jarring. For me, he doesn’t smolder; there is no intrigue. Sometimes his high level of energy registers as a white wall under a too-bright light, showing everything, and at the same time nothing interesting. In this moment, though, I liked him considerably and remembered why I’d considered him. I reflected upon the differences among dynamics between people. How can it be so easy to flirt with someone with whom I have no sexual chemistry? Or is there just a little of that chemistry? Are flirtation and sex different stops along the same continuum, or are they different kinds of energy?