On a particular night on Capitol Hill around half a year or so ago, I was out to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and upon getting ushered out of our typical late night haunts, we retired to a stylish condo to drink PBR and act like assholes.  I didn’t know the owner of the stylish condo, but she was a strikingly pretty girl with a nose ring, a skirt, and some affection for Phoenix, if I remembered correctly from our one other meeting ages ago (the same friend’s birthday, incidentally).  As I stood in her kitchen watching another couple I knew cuddle in the corner, she sidled up to me and said something that I can’t remember related to whether I was having fun, or what I did for fun, or something.

“Girls aren’t fun,” I said (though I don’t remember the question, I’m pretty sure this was a sensical answer, albeit rude).

I heard somewhere that when your body is under a lot of duress or you’re under a lot of pressure, your brain engages in remembering that event more actively, essentially taking more “snapshots” of what’s happening so that when you recall the event, it seems like it was occurring in slow motion.  People that had near death experiences, or who just had dramatic turns in sporting events often recall those moments of happening in slow motion.  What’s actually happening is that there are more “frames” in there, like a high speed camera.

When I woke up the following morning, my brain must have understood that I was in an important situation, because I remember lying in bed with my eyes closed and thinking that when my eyes opened I would see my bedroom, and being startled when I didn’t.  Instead what I saw was the condo owner’s bedroom, and she was next to me.

“Remind me how to spell your name?” I said at her door with my phone out, hoping it wasn’t something easy like “Molly.”  It was Genevieve. Phew.  No one knows how to spell Genevieve.  Well, I do, now.

She is overwhelmingly wonderful and also overwhelmingly flawed.  She uses a traditional southern sensibility that dictates how people are supposed to act, compensating for the fact that she is completely overwhelmed by the complexities of the world (not because she’s not smart, but because the world is crazy and so is she).  Her apartment must be spotless.  She is introspective not just to a fault but to the point that she drives gaping chasms into her sense of self.  All of this makes her an incredibly loyal and loving companion who always wants to be there for me.  She is a scientist, literally and figuratively, always trying to make things add up, and perhaps thankfully, never quite getting there.

We live under a vague air of domesticity.  She cooks, I watch baseball.  She cleans, I pet her cat and make bad jokes.  It’s surprisingly comfortable.  Maybe this is how things are supposed to be.

On a particular night on Capitol Hill around a day or so ago, I awake in her bed at 5:30 in the morning and she’s gone.  She’s had a bad dream or an anxiety attack or was just too hot or something and gone out to sleep on the couch.  I go out and nudge her and she opens her eyes, grumbles, closes them again and doesn’t move.  I go back to sleep.  A couple of hours later she comes into the bedroom and wraps her arms around me.

Maybe all of the things we look for in love are less important than finding someone who can wrap their arms around you and make you feel like everything is going to be ok.

Her alarm goes off.  She shuts it off and hugs me again.  “Oh, my Charles,” she sighs.


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