Slowly, I am moving to the age where when you arrive at a party or a dinner by yourself, they find a way to make a question out of it. It could happen out loud if someone feels particularly obnoxious or drunk, but on most occasions, it occurs in soft, intimate interactions where someone asks you one of many variants of the same question. The night has gone on for a while. The energy has succumbed to isolated murmurations on tables and balconies as people talk and give away their deepest secrets. With pints of beer, in the forefront of blurry music emanating from some corner of wherever we are, they ask me the cliche, “Were you ever in love?”
“Yes, more than once. I wonder who hasn’t?”
“What happened?” They follow up almost as if this were a scripted interrogation.
“Nothing. Nothing ever happens—seasons change. Have you looked at how gorgeous the weather is lately?”
“You writers!” They laugh, “Always writing your way out of everything!”
“Not everything,” I whisper, smiling as I spin my pint slightly, giving them the pleasure of having stirred something.
But they haven’t. They seldom do. When people ask you if you were ever in love, or if you have someone, or what went wrong, or if you plan to find love soon, they are only trying to ask you: don’t you feel lonely? But they are also telling you something: because I do, because I do all the time, I don’t know what to do, help me. And so, I humour people and then ask them to look at the weather. If only they knew that was the answer after all: to look around the world at all times, to keep your eyes wide open.
It was how you ensured you saw love arriving, greeted it with a smile and said, “The weather looks lovely today. Would you like to take a walk with me?”