I’m taking #thenewyorkbarexam (yeah, I don’t get it, either) on Tuesday, so I’ve been spending even more time than usual Venn Diagramming this year’s lovers. They are men who wear watches, men with degrees upon degrees, men of California, men who radiate kindness, men who bloomed late, men who sandwich their mothers’ maiden names. They vote Republican, or not at all. They like me for the reasons I love myself (other than my looks – that’s your achievement, not really mine). My favorites make me smile and think and smolder, they inspire me, they challenge me, they speak softly and laugh loudly, they kiss me deeply, they watch me fall asleep and guard my slumber at sunrise, they keep mum about their fancy degrees, they’re practical, we take our leave of each other, we’re sad and grateful.
In five days, I take a fucking Bar exam. How lucky am I? I get to take a Bar exam. It has been twenty-six years – thirteen since we found The Law – and this path has been lit all this time, it’s been broad and meandering but certain, and it’s almost here, and Christ almighty if I’m not #lawyered within the year it’s my own damn fault for enjoying this season too much (and even if I fall at this silly barrier to entry, the only negative consequence is my own embarrassment). I’m an idiot who just plummeted through a skylight, whose only reaction was “I really should work out more,” and I am the fucking luckiest.
I am the fucking luckiest and I haven’t been in love in years. I haven’t particularly wanted to be. There have been too many jobs to try, more passport stamps, new skills to develop, more friends to honor. Yet I am the luckiest, for all the reasons you know, and also because I just can’t find fault in my most recent lovers.
I know I could, but do not, love either. I know I could, but will not, make happy lives with either. But law school has done nothing if not foster my love of hypotheticals, so I consider and reconsider and let go and scrutinize anyway. These souls are wonderful, incredible, so similar, and yet somewhat opposites.
More important, though, is the women they make me.
Of course, no matter what, I am I. I always have been I, even when circumstances were bleakest, and I always will be I, even if my limbs fall off and my face is drenched in acid and my brain is choked by a severed spine and my heart is hardened by abuse and neglect.
But these men – these bright, warm, funny, tall, honorable, modest, watch-wearing men who happily kiss me at cocktail parties, who stand beside me as we, together, observe the madding crowds – they’re different, and I’m different with them. A weekend with one catalyzed my most expansive self; a semester with another renewed my faith in true partnership. One understands my most fundamental instincts, my most inarticulable core, and seems to have always known me; fucking thirty minutes was sufficient to realize, “oh, there you are.” The other sketches us as coequal sovereigns: we glide in our own worlds and return each night to eat roquefort and drink bordeaux, and foreplay is reaching under my dress, pulling down my lingerie, and chucking it into his lap when we won’t agree on the fisc (again).
I don’t know if I want to be the smiliest motherfucker in the Class of 2013 or the grownup partnered with the kind Swiss watch. Frankly, both sound pretty great, and I don’t know if I ever really could choose. Then again, this is a False Conflict, if you will, so I’ve just spent a good 30 minutes chasing my tail instead of memorizing various statutes of limitations. (Culs de sac!)
I guess the moral of the story is: I am happy and lucky and fall-to-my-knees grateful, all the fucking time, so you’re pretty warranted in not worrying about me.
This has been an exercise in hypotheticals, it’s a fucking false conflict, and I’m updating a dead man on my sex life. But you’re my dead man, and I love you.