Dearest Rachel –
I’m gonna preface this later by admitting that I really don’t feel like doing anything today. Even something as small as dictating to Siri feels like a herculean effort. So you’ll understand if it turns out that this letter is rather short. The thing is, however, that it’s the moments that are the greatest trials that are the most interesting, and require documenting for you. And while this isn’t a particularly serious trial (I’ve been sick plenty of times before, after all), it certainly feels like it when I’m in the middle of it.
That being said, though…
This new dating app that I am signed up for includes, among other things, a collection of essay questions. How would you describe yourself, what’s your best attribute, what’s your ideal first date, what’s your most memorable travel experience, what are you looking for in a match, who’s the most influential figure in your life, that sort of thing. There are some thirty or so different such questions, and you’re required to fill out at least five of them in order for your profile to be considered ‘complete’ – although you’re more than welcome to fill out as many as you want (as long as each answer is under 500 characters, which proved to be a bit of a challenge for me in certain cases).
Still, it’s a good thing that we’re not required to fill out every single one of them. Some of them just can’t be answered adequately. I’ve had so few perfect days that I couldn’t guess what one would be like. To describe an odd habit of mine would be difficult, simply because, by dint of it being a habit, I’d probably not see it as odd (unless someone were to point it out to me – perhaps that nervous tic of lapsing into a British accent when I’m in an uncomfortable social situation?) I don’t think I ever had a dream or something I was passionate about – even those things we talked about shortly before your parents began to decline, I’ve been able to set aside as I’ve gotten preoccupied with keeping you up to date. And while you had your “happy place” on the island, I don’t think I ever had somewhere I could call that.
But the one question that’s gotten my attention is this: “Five years from now, I…”
Now, how do I answer that?
The fact of the matter is, I can’t envision out that far any more. Sure, I’d like to have found and been able to settle down with Megumi by then – five years is longer than we took to realize that we belonged together, in fact – but is that a realistic goal? Neither I nor those I’m communicating with are college students in the prime of our lives, like we were. We’re older, more cautious… damaged, even. We have less time to come to that conclusion, but we’re orders of magnitude more careful about getting there. Can I find someone who could commit the rest of their life with me? I honestly don’t know.
It also seems very presumptuous on my part to think about five years in the future, when I can’t even plan two days in advance. After telling you about this one lady down in Printers’ Row the other day, I’d had half a mind to ask her yesterday if she had room on her schedule for us to meet this evening. Of course, you know how that turned out – and in fact, it’s actually worse now, as I’m running a temperature above 100° at the moment. For what it’s worth, I did let her know both about my situation, and what I’d planned on, and she appreciated my keeping her informed.
Meanwhile, so many of the stereotypical things that people might put down as an answer – retiring, traveling, that sort of thing – I’ve already been able to do. Although, of course, those come with their own hazards as to whether they’ll pan out, as I’ve discovered (for much the same reason as I’m currently keeping to my own – oh dear, I’m already able to use the first person singular, heaven help me – bedroom).
So I don’t need to tell you how little I feel like I should be making such a long-term plans. I may have a few things that I want to have happen, but I need to be realistic about whether they will.
Until next time, keep an eye on me, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.
P.S. It’s official; it seems that I have tested negative for Covid. I guess that means I’ve got the flu, as a fever would indicate something other than just a cold. In either case, I’m gonna have to seclude myself for a little while, at least until this fever breaks. Wish me luck, honey; I’m clearly going to need it.