I want to go lightly with Peter, as I did not go with Marshall. I want the dizzying happiness--- the kind you don’t even worry about believing in because it’s made up of laughter. Is he a good kisser? He’s goddamn good enough. Good enough to get better, and I am looking forward to sleeping with him. My body’s been in a cave and this is the man who will roll the rocks from the entrance. No, I have not told him what he is waking me from. No, I will not tell him. I have to say I’m embarrassed, or that I feel very very privately about the mourning I’ve experienced. Oh, like there’s some unwritten feminist law that says you can’t let yourself be harmed or even affected by this thing. The rule about abortions: if you’re going to make it a sin, if you’re going to feel guilty and sad, then you shouldn’t be doing it. I don’t know where I got this idea. I have a wisp of a memory, of a woman I didn’t know and will never know, in a bar or at a meeting where abortion was on the table. She threw back her head and its lot of hair and exclaimed, “I’ve had four!” As if daring the room to object. The level of my own shock was so deep I laughed at it. How quaint. I felt I had no right to be shocked, much less disapproving, but my god, I was both. So, no. I will not tell.
And you know what that is, Nora? That’s a little wall. The secrets we keep are walls. Something between you. Not that walls are bad, not that perfectly happy people who live together for years shouldn’t have them, but know what you’re building.
Look how quickly it happens. We meet, we desire, we flirt and skirt and dance and start lying in less time than it takes to suck the lime out of a gin and tonic. We hand each other variations on the truth and see how they play. Even with the best of the romances, the ones we remember fondly, there are lies. With Beattie there were not lies but there should have been. Instead there was a screen door and two fingers touching wire, one body just gunning to be gone, the other an aching basket. This will not be that way. This will not be that way. Repeat three times. This will not be that way.
I know a woman who doesn’t believe a word a man says for the first six months of knowing him. Can he believe her?
Half of what Peter and I talk about is nothing more than showing off. We’re not bragging about ourselves, just displaying our shared prejudices for the pleasure of agreeing.