They haven’t met face to face, my husband and his pen pall.
An image came into my head as I wrote that: Charlie’s face and her face, the face of this other woman. I saw his thick silvering hair, the broad forehead wrinkling and brows rising as he smiled. And within inches, hers, constructed by my imagination: pert, oval, hair pulled back, lips pursed…
I meant they haven’t made a rendez-vous, no phone calls or even live chats. I know because I read everything they write to each other, and their dialogue is entirely self-contained, no “as I was saying last night” or “didn’t that waiter drive you crazy.”
Instead they go on and on about nothing.
BigBear47: “In a good cup of Columbian Supremo,” he writes, “you can smell the mist rising up from the forest.”
2Dance: “I taste it much better now,” she says, “since I give up smoking. But I miss. Without stopping to think, tell me something else you love.”
BigBear47: “What I love most is trajectory: the arc a thing makes — a golf ball for instance, but it could be an arrow, a champagne cork, a man’s life, the plot of a mystery — rising and falling to the trigonometry of destination.”
2Dance: “Your are poet! How do I always find artists? When I’m in Russia, they are all the time at my apartment, and I am at their apartment. Painters, writers, philosophers. I am the only ballerina. Now I am in New York only one years. Pushkin said in a foreign place he lets a bird fly, then he is free. Do you know? The e-mail is maybe my bird.”
It’s all so innocuous. I keep reading it just to make sure. If anything changes, I will know as soon as they do. Yes, it goes down like cyanide. But what can I say? I believe in a marriage you have to overlook such annoyances.
I wonder if my parents would have stayed together if they had focused on what really matters.