Jacob Lawrence, "The Lovers," 1946
Jacob Lawrence, The Lovers (1946)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

July 16, 2004:

Tell me about us.

Who are we? Why these people and no others?

When we met, what did you think of me? Why did you choose me at the same moment that I chose you?

What were your feelings then? How long did they remain? When did they change. Why? What did they become?

Did we fail? In what ways? Did we succeed? Why is it so painful? Could we have done better? Why do we struggle to see our accomplishments?

I'll tell you a story. Not long before we met there was a girl I was interested in. A student. I never knew her name but I was intrigued from a distance by her beauty and intelligence, and her good taste in music. One day I had the lucky chance to invite her to a summer lunch with friends. We ate at my house, at the table outside on the side porch bordered by tall hedges. I liked her. She was funny and she charmed me, and I flirted and she liked it. She mentioned contributing money to the lunch, but I told her she could take me out in repayment. There were smiles between us. A petulant schoolgirl with a mean spirit destroyed the moment. "He's just flirting," she said dismissively, as though I were known for that. My student's face darkened and fell, and she went home and I never had another chance to speak to her or to overcome that utterly false first impression. She nearly was you. It was just the narrow chance of that one petulant sentence which led to you and I meeting a few weeks later.

Tell me about us.