wonderland








I wonder if I've been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!
       Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland



So here we are.
Right back where we started.
Separate lives- no point of intersection.
In the near future.
Perhaps never to again.



Still, let's humor the king and everyone interested and begin from the beginning...
I'll go on until the end...

Which is the beginning.

 "And I never saw you coming;
And I'll never ( never) be the same"
                  State of Grace, Taylor Swift


So, yes, the beginning.
(Beginnings are difficult as you know)

 I remember our first conversation.
The one where I had no choice but to talk to you.
You stunned me with facts and basketball stories shattering the mad impression you left me with.
One Tuesday  in February.
And I looked at you.
Saw your blue eyes for the first time.
Heard your firm voice speak with conviction and warmth.
Laughed at your puns.

And the words you used!
Impressed the lit major in me so much so that it took/takes all my self control to not strike a conversation with you every single day after meeting you again in November.

Every time I did not do it,
I almost did/do.

Didn't think you had these in you-when I first had a glimpse of you that Tuesday in February.

When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.
         A.A. Milne

Wait, no!
Did we not begin with a discourse on food?
And where we can feed your vegan soul apart from the corner tree down Bel-air?
Yes, a list! We made a list.
Or did  I make  one for you? 
Clearly madness has set in and I can't go back to yesterday;
I was a different person then...




Out of politeness, promised I would take you.
But you obviously didn't forget.
Here at The Wholesome Table is where we began a journey over food just you and I..
We revealed future plans and  
history of our awkward years growing up over food. 
We almost got tossed out the first time 
because we were talking too much. 

Or at least I was. 

I always look forward to weekend brunch and now I don't know if I will ever brunch again without a memory of you



And our times together ever since have been
filled with food and hours of conversations about literature, music and life and what makes a good movie like we earn our living as film critics.
How did we get here?!?! 
Walking along the cold streets of Geneva with you on our way to another brunch

Four cities in two countries,
speaking in  three languages
(You ordering in French is my favorite part ...)
we shared plates of 
hearty, healthy meals.

Brunches and dinners.

Arugula. 

Black rice




This kitchen table holds warm memories of an afternoon tea with you...
You take tofu without my favorite animal byproduct.
Now, I'm convinced I won't miss it as much as eating across from you...

Tofu!


Beer and wine. 

Coffee and tea.

Even tried a vegan juice called "Be Pure" together which actually sets the tone for this trip we took  head on.

You might even say it was a premonition. Of my prudish convictions enough to turn off any secular, active man who might have been interested.



But surprisingly, you stuck around. (Fist bump!)
Our souls got cozy and began knowing each other.



But this is clearly my version of our wonderland. 
Perhaps you'll be required to explain your side of things.

Just a head's up.


"It's just that romance, with its dips and turns and glooms and highs, its swoops and swoons and blues, is a natural metaphor for music itself." 
                                      Nick Hornby, Songbook


I'm severely lost now trying to pin down the exact moment when I knew you have caught me unaware.
Now I'm convinced it was after I shared my Spotify playlist with you.
Or was it when you cooly told me you liked John Mayer of old too?




How I couldn't  believe we like the same kind of music-except for that ubiquitous John Legend song which at that moment you still had a raw romantic attachment to.
       Even now perhaps.
      Old habits being hard to break.

And I realized that after the hours we spent together, we forgot to agree on a song. 

We're entitled to a song I think. 


Especially after we made references to cool films, best soundtracks, tv series and books and how brutally honest we were to terms like


Fondness. 

Peachy.


Likeness


Respect


Substance and that sort of thing.
      
Sadly, we forgot to come up with a song. 

Two musicphiles caught up in each other without a tune.


We definitely need a song from the artist whose record you first bought to remedy that situation for us.







So on our last night together, 
I meant to quote/sing you a line from one of my favorite poems of 2014 written by a musical genius named Taylor but sitting across from you eating that risotto 
(and your film reference to make fun of my gastronomic  pleasure) 
made it difficult to remember anything else.


That and walking with you afterwards in the cold... 

Or maybe it was when I went to a friend's art/poetry exhibit.





That time when her words spoke powerfully to me but 
I was immediately thinking of sharing the best lines with you! 

In  my mind I was like:"Shit! What just happened to me and my love affair with poetry?"
It used to be something I don't share with anyone else you see. 

Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!-Jane Austen-




You wondered where this was headed,
I  quickly countered, "a brief mortal forever",
perhaps a defensive move on my part- trying to protect myself from a painful goodbye by dazzling you with my wit instead.

Yet secretly, the hope is that we will make it last longer...


But I know who I am.
I have no reason to doubt for a moment.
This person I have become I will not exchange for anything.
Yes, not even for love if it comes to that.
(unless we agree on Soteriology at the very least)


I no longer have existential questions.
The answers I have found have fully convinced  me that the god shaped hole in me can be filled-with and by God!
A long process it took though from the verge of being an atheist 
(who hates God! What a contradiction!)
 to possibly becoming part of Tom Cruise's crew. 
(Sci-fi fan  so no brainer)

.. you will not like me apart from who I have become because of grace.

Deep, undeserved, irresistible, redeeming, transforming grace.





"What I'm saying is--and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form--is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way." -Harry explaining his entire philosophy to Sally (When Harry Met Sally)

You said you're used to this kind of relationships: intense and brief.
(Are you not tired though and won't you want to be not in the "not started" category for once? I had to use double negatives somewhere...)

I said I willfully choose not to be in a relationship because I don't  
get easily swept away by any man.



The irony of it all is that when it comes to love,
I have no grand tale to tell;
mine, perplexingly, consists of vignettes.

And I told myself enough of the pattern.

The last one I become vulnerable with would be THE one.
twenty four months after I've rebuilt the walls broken
mourning what could have been twenty fours months after

...came along you.




You go free diving while I jump out of planes and cliffs.
You're  the one with a bad  boy image yet I'm the one inked.
You grew up in the Reformation capital of Europe of old
Yet I'm the one who agrees with the 5 solas albeit with a lot of skepticism and attitude.

Tim Keller of Redeemer in modern day NYC is more my Yoda/Spock  than John Calvin of St Pierre Cathedral in Old Town Geneva.

But it's amazing how we share a common passion to love our neighbors whoever they maybe.
Until it bleeds.
Even if it takes us to
hopeless places 
in these uncertain times.





That's why for me, grace becomes more precious each day I expose myself  to this world's hardships and allow human misery to profoundly touch my soul...

We found wonderland,
you and I got lost in it.
Life was never worst
but never better.
                       ---Wonderland, T. Swift

 "If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” Orson Welles


We knew the ending before we began
You and I.
But we started anyway.
They say that when you enter wonderland,
mad things happen.

Somehow, we've forgotten what becomes of curious minds.
(Even though curiosity for rationalists is the first virtue)




Got lost in it, you and I.


Now if you'll only follow me into the rabbit hole of faith (or grace).
To a wonderland where no Mad Hatter confuses.
And stop getting lost.





Stop feeling like  you don't know who you are,
despite the traces of wisdom in your unruly curly hair I love.
Stop drinking just for the sake of it or maybe start thinking
 about drinking from a well that doesn't run dry...
(you can still drink afterwards just so you know...)

Still, the mad ones are the best kind of people  
(also those who love to eat said Julia Child)

...a' jamais et toujours!




So between then and now, 
and while we wait for "Mr. Rabbit" to show up and give you clarity,
know that at this very moment,
as I write this for you in a library (ish) inspired cafe,
in cold,vegan friendly, beautiful  Old Town District of Copenhagen,
this poem aptly puts things in perspective for me- strange
and ironically, irrational...

  
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and
the bud of the bud and
the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows  higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)  
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart...
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

i carry your heart (i carry it in)
        e.e. cummings

 As my favorite book on food, lust, and love  described it, 
one don't think about love (or like), 
it's inevitable:
you either 
feel it 
or 
you 
don't...




 "Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help. In this case, the oxygen for example, would come from the breath of the person you love; the candle would be any kind of food, music, caress, word, or sound that engenders the explosion that lights one of the matches. For a moment we are dazzled by an intense emotion. A pleasant warmth grows within us, fading slowly as time goes by, until a new explosion comes along to revive it. Each person has to discover what will set off those explosions in order to live, since the combustion that occurs when one of them is ignited is what nourishes the soul. That fire, in short, is its food. If one doesn't find out in time what will set off these explosions, the box of matches dampens, and not a single match will ever be lighted." 
                         Laura Esquivel, Como Agua para Chocolate
  
  


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