Last year, M and her man thought for about two days that I would be a good thing for his son, who is younger than me and an untamed creature of sorts. I suspected after two descriptions of him that we would not be a Love Connection on account of he was living in New York City where surely all the girls are thin, young, and lovely, and also on account of his documented hyperactivity, which was evidenced on his webpage and the number of extra curricular activities he was involved in. We never met, he fell in love with some Southern Belle, and is now back in Ireland. The end.
Except now I find myself in the peculiar position of sleeping in his bed. His room is still his, though he's lived in the U.S. (and now Dublin) for quite awhile. I've never met him, so it's an interesting study.
When I was younger, men seemed like the ultimate mystery to me, like if you could crack open one of their heads like a melon, all the secrets of the universe would spill out. I've snooped through the drawers and bookshelves of men I love hoping to uncover the thing that would help me understand them, to no avail, and then after several years of married friends telling me that as far as men go, there is no there 'there,' I gave up wondering what secrets lurked therein.
So now I'm in the room of this guy I never met, and I'm reminded of how mysterious men used to seem. Of how I'd stand outside the boys' dorm in college and wonder what went on in there, listening to their music choices and suspecting the choices were superior to mine, realizing their lives functioned fine without me (or other women for that matter, about 40% of the men at my college ended up being gay or Celibates for Jesus). What I'm finding, instead, is that there is a hell of a lot of little boy in a man. True, this is this guy's childhood bedroom, but he's got literary classics in Irish, English, Swedish, and German on his bookshelves. He's no slouch. But there, in the midst of John Gardener and Joseph Heller will be sandwiched a Mad Magazine. Family photos dot the room, along with posters in languages I don't speak. And then, inexplicably, a stuffed animal. I'm beginning to embrace this nearly middle-aged thing, where I feel wiser and know things I didn't used to know. Where I have no need to snoop or speculate.
Maybe I'm kidding myself. Likely, if I'd met this person and were having a relationship with him and if he'd been unusually silent at dinner tonight, I would have had the room torn apart in five minutes flat, trying to understand him, wondering if I could find evidence of his love or his deception...going back to my old way of thinking, that a man I want inherently knows something about life that I don't. Yet, as I've mentioned before, I like to think I'm smarter now. Older. Wiser. More sure that what I know is enough and the rest I can just google up and find answers for my ownself.
Today was a windy, grey day in Waterford. M and I took a walking tour of the old part of the city, Ireland's oldest, a Viking city. One thing that interested me was the big archaelogical find they uncovered when getting ready to build a shopping center. It was a huge thing--Viking settlement, bodies, wood houses, the whole deal, buried in the bog. There's a little bit of it on display in the shopping center that was built on top of the find after the better bits were excavated and carted off to a museum. Initially, I was annoyed that they hadn't turned it into a Viking National Park or something, until the guide pointed out that once most of it would hit the air it would turn to dust in just a matter of hours. Oxygen, it turns out, isn't good for everything. Some secrets--like those in the hearts of men--need to remain under cover, under floors, under parking garages, under lock and key.