daily preciousness

Saturday, October 12, 2002

leaving the party

I left the party with Mark. He was debonair in his coat and tie and told me I “cleaned up nice” in mine. Those eyes – those sparkling hazel eyes charmed me to no end. We left the party together, walking down the spiral staircase. It was the same staircase that the junior Senator from New York had strolled down, just as I was arriving. I held his hand as we descended the staircase. It was awkward, I’ll admit: he’s just an inch too short for us to comfortably hold hands. But despite the physical awkwardness, the emotional part felt just right.

I can’t explain it. I can’t do the math. What equation is it whose sum is greater than all of the reservations of my heart? I don’t know. But he’s got the heights and the depths of me. I’m a hopeless puppy around him. And he’s noticed it – as if there were any way to hide it! “Stop it!” I admonished him, “Stop looking so adorable – it’s unbearable, you understand!” He responded with a dimpled smile and a sparkle in his eyes that showed he enjoyed the attention. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” he replied.

While I was at the bar, making small-talk with various handsome strangers and alluring lesbians, Mark was busy lobbying the purveyors of influence against the Bushie faith-based initiatives. I was happy that Emily had filled me in on the “Women of two spirits” mix-up… the administration was ignorantly ready to help out a lesbian Alaskan native tribal health program involving “women of two spirits” because it sounded vaguely religious. Mark seemed entertained by this.

I told him I was glad to hear that he was lobbying at the engagement. “…And all on my own time,“ he pointed out. “You get points for that,” I offered. “And how can I cash those in?” he asked. I countered that that information was on a “need-to-know basis” only. His response was a demurely dimpled grin.

Apparently, my three glasses of white wine were having an effect on me… he noted it and pointed out the economics of buying a glass of wine for $6.50. Buy two and you could’ve bought an entire bottle of wine! “So this is Jeffrey after he’s had a few!”

At the soiree, he introduced me to Chad Johnston, power player and head of the Stonewall Dems. I was so happy to meet Chad that I told him a little anecdote from my past: “You know, when I was in high school, I’d recite the pledge of allegiance. I would say the last bit, the ‘with liberty and justice for all’ part, with my hand over a heavy heart and I’d complete the thought by adding ‘except for me and my people.’” “And that’s why what you’re doing is so important. You’re giving us a voice we’ve never had before – so nobody has to amend the pledge of allegiance ever again.” He smiled and thanked me for telling him that.

I also got to meet Sen. Bill Bradley, out of Oregon. He was a hyperactive giant – easily 6’5”. I told him that I was amazed by the fact that he had time for a busy political career and still had time to pump out all of those wonderful sci-fi books. He just laughed and admitted that most people confuse him with the basketball player of the same name. Bradley sat down in a director’s chair with his name on it and gave his speech from that – I could picture his little interns carting that chair around from event to event and I had to chuckle. Those poor little slaves! At least they were supporting a guy with a bundle of energy, not an old sack of decrepit bones like some other senators.

The best part of the evening was actually just a gesture. But it was a significant one. Mark was talking about his school reunion in Connecticut this weekend. He was debating whether or not to go when I remarked that I had a friend (Eric) in Connecticut that I’ve been meaning to visit. To my astonished ears, he casually asked, “Well, wanna to go with me?” It was 8:35 PM eastern time, just an hour after the U.S. Space Station had passed in the northern part of the sky. The sky was clear and the temperature was a cool 74 degrees. Mark Levine had just asked me to spend the weekend with him on a trip to the country. At that point, my spirits were drifting just above the space station and the smile on my face must’ve reflected that. It was a moment sublime and genuinely sweet. I reveled in it. But I told him that I had a prior engagement, so I couldn’t join him. But I told him how much I appreciated the invitation. We kissed and I said goodnight. I was so touched that he’d consider spending the weekend with me that I nearly forgot my coat on his back seat.


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