A Bridge

I look up and smile, nod my head, and respond: "You might be right about that."

Robert, John, and Elizabeth seem to think that I go after unobtainable, or unavailable, women because I'm, perhaps subconsciously, trying to avoid the responsibilities I'd inevitably face from actually being in a relationship.

"And, you know," JA turns to Elizabeth, "he's got the right idea."
"Why's that?" Elizabeth asks.
"Because women are crazy."

I laugh. Elizabeth gives John a look. John recognizes the look and offers: "But, of course, we think of you as a man, Elizabeth."

Around these parts, we call that smooth.

"Thanks," says Elizabeth.

John continues, "I'm sure I've told you this story before, but here it goes again: A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer when he suddenly encounters the Lord.

"'Lord,' says the man, 'please grant me one wish.'

"In a booming voice the Lord replies, 'Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you the one thing you most desire.'

"The man, of course, is happy about this, and takes only a moment to think before requesting: 'Lord, please build a bridge to Hawaii so that I can drive over anytime I like.'

"There is a moment of silence, waiting. The Lord is clearly disappointed, and finally asks the man to reconsider: 'Your request is very unrealistic. Think of how difficult it will be for me. The Pacific Ocean is so deep! Imagine the amount of concrete and steel it would take! I can do it, but I'd really rather not. Is there anything else that you want? Anything else at all?'

"The man turns away from the Lord for a moment, takes a few steps down the beach, thinks. Finally he turns back to the Lord, and says, 'Lord, my wife thinks that I am cruel and insensitive. I wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside, what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say 'nothing,' and how I can make a woman truly happy.'

"The Lord sighs and shakes his head before responding: 'On second thought, a bridge to Hawaii sounds like a great idea. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. You want two lanes or four?'"

I forgot where I was going with this. Sometimes, when I'm playing guitar, my fingers will fall upon a few notes that sound particularly pretty. I'll play those few notes over and over again, until I get them right. I mean, I'll play them over and over again, until I get the order right. Until I get the timing right. Until I get the phrasing and the plucking right. Until it all comes naturally, and I can play those few notes with my eyes closed.

But one short string of notes doesn't always make a song. And sometimes, I can't figure out which way those few notes want to go. That first part was easy; that first part was almost nothing more than a mistake. An accident. A gift. But where do we go from there? How do we unwrap the gift? How do we finish the song?

Sitting there, beside her, at the impossibly beautiful Loew's Theater in Journal Square was special. I could not have imagined. Could not have dreamed this up. The bands that night — The Magic Numbers, Feist, and Bright Eyes — rose to the occasion and played to the beauty of the venue. I could not have asked for anything more.

Except: I could feel her presence there in the seat beside me, and — perhaps to complete the song of that special moment, to complete the beauty of everything around us — I felt the urge to kiss her.

Do you know how that feels? I'm sure you do.

"Sometimes you've got to turn up the fire," Robert says.
"That's right," Elizabeth agrees.
"But, then," Robert reconsiders, "sometimes no matter how high you turn up the heat, the pot just won't boil."

He sits at his dull, white desk, pondering his computer screen, wondering where he is going with this, when, suddenly, he encounters the Lord.

"Lord," he says, "won't you please grant me one wish?"
"Yes, because you have tried to be faithful to me," says the Lord, "I will grant you one wish."
"Lord," he says, "won't you please build a bridge from my world to hers?"

There is a moment of silence, waiting.

"Your request," the Lord begins...

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Al Marcy's picture

Bridges imply getting over. No way. Can't be done. Best I have found is agreeing to let each other get by. Not perfect, but, doable, usually ;)

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