Love and Gravity
“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.” ― Jane Austen
Once, I was talking with a friend whose real name is not Sally about one of her husband’s friends, “Ken,” whom she was trying to set me up with.
“These things never take,” I said.
“I think he’s depressed,” she said. He had recently broken up with his girlfriend. “Maybe you’ll cheer him up.”
Ken apparently didn’t want children, which was the cause of the breakup and why Sally thought we would be a match. She figured that I would be fine dating someone who didn’t want children since I seemed content with the idea of not having them.
What happened instead was that I began to resent Ken for his selfishness and to feel sorry for his poor ex-girlfriend, even as I was sure that she really had dodged a bullet. That bastard Ken wasn’t going to circumscribe my life, I told myself, and I was just going to need to get out of the whole Ken mess as soon as possible.
(The situation had quickly elevated to the level of “the whole Ken mess” in my mind. I wisely never mentioned any of this to Sally. By the time I figured out that I was full of irrational resentment toward this stranger, it was too late to say I wasn’t interested. Plus, I would sound like a nutjob.)
The group date we were all going to go on never seemed to get past the conception phase, and I began to feel some relief that I wouldn’t have to face the problem of what to do about Ken. And, anyway, Ken and his ex-girlfriend were still living together.
“Must have been amicable if they are still living together,” Sally said.
“I can’t even imagine. I don’t think I’m capable of amicable.”
“Really? My breakups have always been mysteries. I never knew what was going on. What are we? If I see you on the street, what’s the status?”
Around this time, I came across a silly article advising women not to “chase” men and instead to let the men chase you. One of the comments expressed this bit of profundity: “There’s no chasing,” the commenter wrote, or something like that. “You just naturally gravitate toward one another if you’re meant to be together.” Gravity! This was wonderful news. I can continue to spend most of my time on the couch, and orbital forces/nature will propel someone to my living room if we’re meant to be together.
Not long after that, Sally surprised me by telling me that we were on for drinks downtown, and I would finally meet Ken. Besides the fact that I hated Ken and didn’t want to go, I couldn’t think of a reason not to go, so I agreed.
The day arrived so rainy and miserable that – thank God – the weather was a legitimate enough excuse to cancel, which we did.
In the end, I never had to deal with the whole Ken mess. I never met him. Some time passed and Sally told me that he got back together with his girlfriend, whose house I understand he never left.