Monday, April 7, 2008

A Failed Science Experiment: Hey Kids, Let’s Make Someone’s Heart Explode! A Lesson in Internal Combustion with The Mad Scientist

He would be in Paris in two weeks.

He emailed to tell me this, though I’m not sure why. We hadn’t spoken in a year, yet he emailed out of the blue to tell me he’d be in the most romantic city in the world, which, as it just so happened, was only a two-hour train ride from where I was at the time.

Imagine that. I was studying in London and he knew this when he decided to casually mention his European travels.

“I love Paris,” I remember responding. “I have a friend who lives there and I could visit when you’re there, if you want.”

If you hadn’t spoken to a man you were in love with for over a year and he emails when he knows you’re just a two-hour train ride away, wouldn’t you assume he’s hinting for you to come visit? I did. Stupidly. And the response I got still makes the vomit rise in my throat.

“I’ll be super busy the whole time,” he said. “Besides, didn’t you say it would be hard for you to see me if you knew nothing had changed between us?”

What’s the French word for asshole? Or how about emotional tease?

Creve Coeur. I know that one. Means heartbreak. Finally a French word I can understand.

If life had dealt me a different hand, I might actually be going to Paris – with him. If he felt for me what I was beginning to feel for him right before he dumped me, he’d actually want me there. He’d say something like, “Darling, don’t you think we could come here for coffee after my lectures on electron superimposition into the centrifugal solarsphere?”I would gaze into his eyes and say, “I don’t know what any of that means, but they’ve got brioche as big as Dolly Partons breasts, so yes, coffee would be lovely.”

He is a scientist, you know. One of those traditionally geeky guys who looks at a microscope in the same hungry way a frat boy looks at a woman’s ass, and gets equally excited about encyclopedias and Nova specials on PBS. When I met him I was a jumbled mess of atoms, surrounding a porous shell of what should’ve been a heart. I wasn’t looking for someone else to pour acid on it. So when he looked at me in the crowded bookstore, it was the first time I felt something move inside my chest. It was tiny, almost imperceptible, but I know it came alive that day, in that moment. And later that evening, as we sat on black leather couches sipping martinis, the beat grew stronger. It was practically a bass drum months later, when he came to visit me and touched my bare skin as Billie Holiday crooned gently in the background.

When I visited him, he had a box of chocolates he bought me on his last trip. It was half melted, but I was secretly touched by the gesture. He hid packets of hot chocolate around his apartment and when I found them, we made steaming mugs topped with marshmallows and laughed and kissed while trying not to spill anything. I made him pancakes and he ordered in sushi. We watched movies, made love, drank lemoncello from frozen shot glasses and made love again. It was the most naked I’ve ever been in my life. Naked in a way that has nothing to do with clothes but has everything to do with exposing yourself fully to another human being.

By now you’re probably wondering what went wrong. So am I. If you know anything about love, you know it often leaves you wondering. Maybe for years. Maybe forever. He told me I was beautiful. He said I was funny and intelligent. He told his parents about me. We liked the same music, enjoyed independent films, loved culture and travel and he was picking up on my love of food. But as the Bachelor said on a recent episode to a girl he’d just rejected, “You had so much of what I was looking for, but in the end, you didn’t have enough.”

That’s just how it goes sometimes. Does that mean I’m okay with the outcome? Of course not. I wanted to be the girl for Mr. Scientist. I wanted to fit inside his universe. But instead, I got to find out what it’s like to find a man who fits in mine. That’s a very cool discovery, if you ask me. Screw Halley’s Comet or extra terrestrials. I finally found where my heart was hiding.

Someday soon, someone else will find it too.

1 comment:

BvS said...


Ich war Liebe – hab verloren
War Vertrauen – ward verlacht
Tiefe Neigung – grad geboren
Herzensfreundschaft – umgebracht

Gab mein Herz - behielt die Scherben
War dein Glück – nun tränenleer
Herzensbruch - ist so wie sterben
Geborgenheit – nun nimmermehr

Habe mich an dich verloren
Hab geträumt - bin aufgewacht
Deine Liebe – einst beschworen
Hat sich längst davongemacht

© BvS
Mai 2008