“What is the purpose of life?”
“I struggle with that a lot,” the doctor said, laying naked next to me.
“OoooooooooooOOoo I know!” I said.
“Let me just find it.”
I reached for my phone, trying to find the right tab, the right name that homed the answer that came to me just the other day, out of nowhere.
I scrolled and scrolled, with both of us looking.
Suddenly he detangles himself from me and rolls over. “I’ll just turn over so I don’t read your messages.”
His back to me made me acutely aware of the amount of male names in my recent messages list; all out of daily necessity and not one romantic, not that he knew that…
Liam – my PT.
Simon – dad ( which after you go through an ‘older-man phase’, you no longer have the privilege of calling your daddy anything but the name god gave them ).
Oliver– my dog sitter.
John Azzari- my new hairdresser who I fell in love with that day after he turned my hair pink for the startling price of $369.
*******Dating the doctor was a different experience because I wasn’t my usual dating self.
He caught me at the tail-end of a 5 month dating spree, one where I had flown free and had too much fun and then proceeded to get my wings clipped. And I did that over and over again for far too long.
And now I was tired and in need of nesting. I needed to lay on my back in a very unattractive way with a mentality that if I place one more sugary sweet drink in my mouth, I may just combust.
However the doctor was the last name in my dating line-up, whom I had chatted with for a while and yet we were both too busy to meet up.
He also wasn’t my usual type I would go for but there was just something about him.
His smile and how funny he was made me think perhaps I didn’t know what I wanted.
Or the type of guys I was attracted to were as trash as I was. And thus, two pieces of trash make a small ocean, meaning it was time to try something different. *****
Meanwhile, trying to find the meaning of life was proving to be harder than expected…
Still looking over at his back to me, we hadn’t had ‘the talk’ yet.
He already tried but I deflected as it was far too early at that point and yes, I was scared.
Usually it was the one convo that ended all beautiful, blossoming things while simultaneously turning adults into children.
Women’s default in dating being a desire for romance, intimacy, more commitment whereas men generally prefer you to freely offer up your body like a courtesy horderve at a Bar mitzvah.
“No Adam, no sex for you. I declare what’s between my legs is not KOSHER!“
Then takes a shot before leaving without asking what it is, “ Muzzletoff motherfucker.”
‘The talk’ usually follows the lines of one of you wanting more and the other wanting less. And then when you’ve established this, it almost feels like someone has turned the lights out and you’re left to stumble around this weird bedroom in pitch black, trying to find your clothes so you can leave without waking them.
No more unravelling, no more conversation. No more anything.
It is very easy to feel like you can’t trust what people say or do when dating, which I guess is why it is so easy to feel disillusioned, or for the activity to collect synonyms like shallow and exhausting.
But I guess for men it’s difficult also. The culture of yesterday made the ability to openly express feelings and emotions while also being a man, highly conflicting.
And to break this thinking takes years. My male friend said just yesterday, that to to tell a girl he’s dating how he feels, it can be likened to the same sensation of cutting off a limb. Whereas women can say how they feel without much effort at all.
Either way, being so close to someone and then never seeing them again sucks, no matter what gender.
And this man was pushing both red and green buttons.
But since we hadn’t had the special convo I didn’t know how honest I could afford to be. I didn’t know how much I could give or how much was on offer.
It’s easy when the clothes are off to get lost in it all. The stupid proximity, the warmth of skin. The flirtation of not sleeping alone for a change.
I liked that kissing him or even the idea tasted like popping a sweetener into my mouth. Like a tonic I needed more and more; a water, sleep or food replacement.
The feeling of elation from liking someone and being in reaching distance of them…
“The purpose of life tab seems to be deleted. “
Then he said, ‘just tell me’ and I felt stupid as all the things I had came up with were so perfect and beautiful the other day, and what was in my mouth was so tired and messy.
So tired that no sex was going be had or was had.
Even more upsetting….
“I’ve seen too many bad things to think life is fair,” he says and then turns over to look at me.
I don’t know what to say in that moment that could possible be of any weight, so I don’t say anything.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone die up-close...
And then have to tell their families… that someone they’ve held in their hands as a baby, watched graduate college and perhaps was in talks of getting married, starting a business, writing a book would never do any of those things.
In one blink they will never exist again- freeze-frame.
How do you tell someone that?
That it was all in a way, a waste of time.
My silence makes him avert his gaze towards the red lava lamp, as it makes irregular, ugly shapes on the wall in front of us.
Behind his head, my eyes catch on the thickness of the medical books on his nightstand and then refocus back on the harsh lines of his face, his jaw.
“Something has to matter, ” I tell him as I trace circles into his neck.
I say something sarcastic to try and make him smile, “We have to matter, in our own narcissistic, millennial ways, right?”
He does and his jaw loosens but he still doesn’t look at me.
I try again. “Our existence needs to count for something, even if our significance won’t make a dent on the human race.”
After a while, he says the one big phrase that is both beautiful but also incredibly scary to say to someone new who is laying next to you for the first time.
“I want to make a difference in the world.”
This, something five-year-olds say but don’t know exactly what it means just yet, only that it makes their parents proud and that’s better than a smack.
To give more than what you take….
In the game of humanity, it is the epitome of being a ‘good person’.
“Hmmmmmm,” I say.
The truth was I wanted to make a difference in the world too.
I just didn’t know if I would need it to be as big as a medical-start up, like his, or whether it would be something less big but still substantial.
A smile to a stranger as you cross the street, taking care of someone else’s child who’s parents are at work all the time, baking whatever birthday cake your kids desire; a bus- done, cosmic ninja cat- sorted, an octopus with a billion legs- no fucking way (despite cooking scaring the living crap out of you).
Or writing a book and having someone say it was their nightly companion, that held them better than their last partner of 20 years.
Like my mum’s favourite movie, Pay It Forward. Helping people find meaning. I think that’s my purpose in life.
On a grand or simple scale I want people to feel touched. Warm. To inject some light into their minds, open a window.
I want my work to stimulate a desire in people to want to live again.
“What?” he asks.
I turn my head and peak one eye out from underneath the pillow.
“What are you thinking, in there?” He kisses my cheek.
“What- tell me?”
“Fine,” I say.
“ I think it’s the small things that also count (as my best-friend Pat tells me.)”
And I unravel my mind in a way that he may or may not understand but that I hope he does.
Because that’s all we can really do in life, isn’t it- hope.
Hope to be understood.
Hope to be loved.
Hope that those who love us understand us.
Maybe that’s the purpose of life, of people…