I feel the urge to text my exes, “Marry me?”
It’s not a serious question. I’m not a serious person. I’d text them for the same reason I took the side running path this evening to follow a guy wandering down it to pee. I wanted to see his reaction as I approached, catching him with his pants down. ‘Twas a sweet and savory surprise and amazement with impressively little (I saw no) fear. I wanted him to doubt for a moment the reality of the world around him. I didn’t stop beside him or start up a conversation—that would make him feel unduly uncomfortable—but continued running as though our meeting were happenstance.
As long as I can remember, I’ve considered myself the Jester. Not the king or ingénue but the comic relief. The one who enthralls the world by showing people a side of themselves they forget exists. The side that compulsively touches every street sign and picks up a tree branch to smash it in half. The side that caws at women squatting across the creek and still, at 25, enjoys high-pitched “ting” sounds. The side we all share that’s exhilarated by destruction.
I’ve had this notion—text “Marriage?”—more than once. I’ve never done it, because it would hurt a person and ruin a relationship.
My relationships with exes have recently lost their importance. What if I picked a small one—one of my many lesbians, like the woman who wanted my babies at eighteen and has now been married to another woman for the past three years? What if I tried it–just a little, you know, to see how it feels? It’s mean, yes, but also I’m curious. Great art often ruffles the comfortable and comforts the ruffled, and I’m clearly quite ruffled in this here mood. Some people simply want to fluff the world.
I pranked a friend last year, setting him up for a surprise lunch with Mormon missionaries. I thought he’d enjoy it. I never lied to either party, but also didn’t tell each who was coming. My friend was minorly annoyed that I’d wasted his time and majorly peeved I’d been rude to the Mormons—as he put it, “by using them in a prank.” I’m sure the Mormons were fine—we remain friends to this day. They received a free lunch and a warmer lead than their typical method of knocking on random doors. Still, I miscalculated. The friend didn’t appreciate it. I miss my former image of that friendship. I miss the friendship I thought we had. I miss feeling less alone, less one-of, less off.
In college, a friend turned my room into its mirror image. He moved every item to its exact opposite location. Clever prank. Great friend. I had to move each item back. Every prank comes with a cost. I wish I had more friends who played pranks on me.
When life feels like today, I’d even take an engaging negative: the loss of a beloved pet or someone breaking my heart. But those take investment—devoting enough love to something that losing it hurts. I’ve had trouble doing that since my most recent breakup. I’ve claimed it’s because I haven’t found a new someone. It’s really because I haven’t been looking.