He’d censored himself, he finally admitted, both in concept and in devotion of time. Would it be too revealing? Too emotional? If he was as verklempt as it felt, there was only one correct solution. To say the things.
About the using of substances, in the back stage kind of way. Who was he to judge? It wasn’t judgement — it was concern followed by tacit endorsement. Had they offered? No! Not that he’d join them. But it was the token gesture that you hoped for. As if he was some proxy for moral behavior that needed to be apologized to.
About the humor that temporarily placated all of the not knowing what to say when the man in front of him was fighting more visibly and presently and advancingly for his experience. The conversation about hair loss and technology was funny, and that really as long as they could be funny together about it, or at least pretend to be funny about it, some small shared moment here, that would be hopefully enough. As if there was any clear concept of enough here.
There seemed to be a burden, at least he felt, an unfair responsibility on the part of the person who was suffering. They had to decide — he couldn’t set the tone. At least, not totally. What did he really know about any of it? Not like this, he didn’t. The normal conversations were usually as silently ripe with all of that indecisiveness and doubt, anyways. Whatever was uncomfortable about it was wholly defeated by a reminder that life was all as equally temporary. If thirty years felt this brief, then the duration of the remainder really wasn’t any solution at all.
He knew that, god he really tried to keep remembering that, but it was too easily forgotten.
About the image, under the haze of bistro light, of the second most pregnant friend, seated on the folding chair, and the second friend’s hand resting together with the mother’s along the curve of her dress, sensing for the feet or hands of the youngest wedding crasher.
“There is something special about being pregnant,” he mentioned to the dancing husband, “at a wedding.”
“Totally.” Too in love to say anything else. Glowing, too.
He would realize two days later what that something was.
That — however unpromised — the most meaningful experiences were still undeveloped, undiscovered, unmet, and unimagined.
About what it was like to marry a man and fall out of an airplane.