Is is still okay to say “Boyfriend” when you are both dancing on the precipice of 50? So what do I call him? Life partner? My old man? Significant other? There are MANY significant people in my life. The gorgeous Italian “innamorato“? I usually call him the best human being I ever met. Anyway, this man is an artist, And I, in my complementary role, am a visual learner and arranger of things.
Sometimes my love and arranging shows up in the food I make. Last night, I made one of his favorite desserts, Trifle – lemon pound cake with lemon custard, whipped cream, strawberries and raspberries. No cooking, just arranging. . You could soak the pound cake in liqueur in you like. The concept is to make a deep well of summery joyfulness. It doesn’t matter if you just buy the pound cake, the artistry is in the assembly.
Dinner? Pesto and goat cheese tart with heirloom tomatoes. Bake it for 8 minutes at 425 degrees. If you want it crispier, broil for 1 minute after that. It’s a par-baked pizza crust, 2 tbsp. basil pesto, 4 oz. cream cheese, 1/2 cup goat cheese, top with mozzarella and arrange your cherry toms. The heat does something magical to the goat cheese. It’s tangy, soft and sweet all at the same time, a perfect match for the acidity of the tomatoes. Tear up some fresh basil leaves to nestle between the cream cheese and mozzarella layers.
When our mutual friend introduced us back in October 2013, I don’t know if was I felt was love. He was too familiar. Not in any of his actions or words, but in the way my entire inner workings reacted to him just being. I had hit a spot in life when I did not believe in romantic love. When I was very sure dying alone would be just fine and dandy. I’d make sure it was dandy, because I would leave thorough instructions on my memorial service. I was THAT bored. I was THAT stuck. I was THAT set on memorializing myself as a loner.
Whatever I felt – passion, revulsion, the immediate need to protect my heart and my solitary way of life – it was powerful. After the most perfect day-long date in the world, in which he painted and I made shepherd’s pie and we talked and kissed randomly, I actually said. “Let’s pretend we never met.”
We did not speak for a few weeks. Then in late November, on a Thanksgiving day when I was completely alone and bereft of plans and people, I asked him to dinner. And he said yes. During those two dark weeks, I wrote “Found Art”. It’s not specifically about love. It’s about a specific moment in our lives when invisible lightning hits us. All our glib platitudes from Rumi and “Keep Calm” posters fail us. All the Silly Love Songs become dire warnings with the forceful insistence that you ARE going to feel this. Stupid me clinging with a deathgrip to the notion that I am a self-contained work robot. So here is the poem.