An unsent letter to a friend in a parallel universe ii.

Dear X_________

There is hail coming down outside in Los Angeles. They say it may even snow.

I’ve taken to biking again. Along the coast, mostly. It feels good. My friend Marco from Rome left his bike with me. I asked him to leave it since mine is mangled and deformed at the moment – and even if I fix it, I like to have an extra in the case of…the occasional guest…especially a young and brazen and adventurous guest…a guest, lets say, who is full of life and wonder and quite possibly bourbon, a guest with a face that’s strong enough to steady the sky – like a chandelier in the midst of a hailstorm – a guest with a pair of eyes that are probably spied by gemologists from around the world…the type of guest who wears invisible wings, let’s say, though they are still able to appreciate a proper cycling every now and again…out in the wild…guests like you, in other words.

I’m sending you a few things on Monday, at white people’s favorite time of day, which is, of course, first thing in the morning.

Just now, I started to write you about my friend Marco whose been staying with me, and just went back to Rome today. I guess I got a bit carried away with that (too ‘povetica’, as Marco would say) and so it turned into a long-winded but still whimsical story – a flight of fancy that I’m now hoping to edit for san fran or more likely, for the slush pile. Point is, it started with this little conversation I had about you the other day, while Marco and I were riding our bikes together:

He handed me a list of girls’ phone numbers – his little black book, so to speak. The bullpen and the lineup for all his lady contacts in Los Angeles. They are NOT for me, he made sure that I understood. They are only for me insofar as I keep them away from him. ‘Guard this list with your life,’ he says. Are you, a-hem, getting ready to make a life change? If so, you might be barking up the wrong tree, I say.

No no it isn’t that. My wife and are separated and I can’t see anybody else. At least not for a while. I have to prove that I’m worthy of her. To get her back, he says. ‘I don’t even want to be tempted to see someone else’ (pointing at his little black book).

I sympathized with his predicament, so to make him feel better I told him that I could relate.

You? he says. What are you talking about – you are too in love with your own neuroses. With despair. and with your own private ambitions. With Yourself. How could there be room for somebody else!? I know because I used to be that way when I was your age.

Okay, so he didn’t actually say any of that to be honest. But I guess he would have been right, to some extent, if he did.

Instead, he said: Which one? I know you and your Beatrices. Your pies in the sky.

(He is Italian and he uses a lot of out of date American idioms in order to feel ‘hip’ and to cover up his insecurities about the language, to feel he is one of us. He also pretends to understand more than he really does. When he doesn’t get something he randomly changes the subject or offers some sage wisdom that doesn’t apply at all.)

No, you don’t understand, I say. This girl. Her breath is for sparrows to wander in. Her back is spied by aspiring architects for future waterfalls. I am telling you, etc etc.

(I was talking about you, of course. Not sure if you were aware of that or not.)

Okay! So what’s the problem exactly? he says.

To be honest, the problem is that I recently discovered something dangerous about your eyes – and your face – that might be useful for you to know one day.

Then again, it’s silly and what would I know – my earliest female ideals were shaped by Fiona Apple videos, black and white movies from 60 years ago, and afterhours B.E.T. In any case, one of my favorite films has you pinned, I think – Julie Andrews in The Americanization of Emily has your eyes down to a T. I’ve known this since I met you – after all, she played an important role in shaping my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd adolesences. And I haven’t actually seen the movie since, so this isn’t really news.

But then I did watch Phaedra the other day and it all came together for me. The actress has this one of a kind sparkle that she brings out every once and a while the way some people bring out tools to build a new addition to their atrium – the heavy-duty stuff. I mean she goes from inward-searching to come-hither to deadpan-jitterbug-gaze in about two seconds flat, the precise facial explosion of which is not at all easy to explain. I mean I am no poet but one day I’d at least like to write a critical biography on the subject of your eyes – They are truly something miraculous, if not downright pyrotechnic. (And if they have already been cast in their own film, as I suspect, the least I can do is to wait for the rights to their potential novelization.)

I hope you take good care of them and don’t take them for granted. I guess that’s all I’m driving at, really.

‘In any case, all this is not a problem of discovery, but of rediscovery. And all this is not actually a problem at all…forget I said anything.’ This is what I told Marco.

Then he said ‘Vanity is a tricky whore, my friend. Don’t give her your money’, which had nothing and maybe everything to do with what we were talking about. So I laughed, knowing deep down he didn’t understand a thing of what I was saying to him and then I said, ‘I guess the only problem is I guess I want there to be more of me for her to know.’

In other news, I’m trying to write a play. Secretly – not so secretly – I hope someday for you to see it. It’s about the Roman god Cupid. Cupid is in Therapy, and Zeus (his father, historically speaking) is sitting in as his therapist. Zeus is disguised as “Dr Seuss”, trying to find out if his son started the Trojan War.

The first line so far is this: ‘When you first met me doc, i was a broken man, incomplete. Then i got married. Now i’m finished!’ After that, the lights come up for the first time in triumph. Cue the music. Cupid is a drama queen, basically.

So far, it isn’t a very good play. It’s timely though I guess, with Valentine’s day and all.

At one point Cupid says, ‘whenever i stop shooting people with my arrows everyone seems better off. Sometimes i wonder…’ That’s maybe the best line. I think maybe I should’ve wrote a treatise against love.

It is something of a romantic comedy. Though it isn’t very funny. I guess it’s a romantic dramady. Though it isn’t even very romantic. Maybe it’s just a romantic parody of a dramady (basically, I don’t think it knows what it is itself. Which sounds familiar…)

For a title I’m thinking: Love in the Time of Whatever Disease This is. What do you think?

Sorry for talking about myself so much. But what you said about knowing me and about being glad about it, well i couldn’t help but wish you knew me even more (which is, of course, a longshot and was always going to be) and that there was more of me for you to know (which is, of course, the plan.)

Drop a postcard sometime of Louisville? It’s just that what you said the other day, what you said to me before you left, was maybe the nicest thing anyone’s said to me as long as I can remember – coming as it did from somebody who I adore and admire more (probably) than you are aware of. And it’s just that I’d love to get some idea of whereabouts in the country that might come from exactly.

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