As of last Saturday, Michael and I turned the humongous clock hands to FIVE YEARS OF TOGETHERNESS. Apparently, the traditional gift for a five-year anniversary is “wood”; I was gonna give him a wooden ship in a bottle to symbolize our relationship’s stultifying entrapment and corking of his freedom, but then I figured he’d just respond with, “Baby, I already gave you wood today,” so fuck it.
On the up side, I can’t imagine anyone else I’d actually be having this conversation with five years later:
Michael, scrolling through my TiVo: “You recorded a ’60 Minutes’? You HATE
Me: “I know, right? But they have an interview with Alec Baldwin, and I finally got around to reading my November Elle, which also has an interview with Alec Baldwin, and I hate to admit it, but if you didn’t insist upon hanging around this place and nagging me about setting a wedding date and constantly throwing little reminders at me about the fact that we have ‘two children together,’ I’d totally have to
Mike: “Excuse me?”
Me: “I know what you’re thinking: TOTALLY not my type, right? I mean he’s a decade older than me, and he’s kinda heavy, and he’s forever tied to his batty ex-wife, and he’s talking about a future in politics and I will NOT wear Ann Taylor. Then there’s that horrible thing he said to his kid. . . I didn’t think I could get past that. But he talks about that in Elle — he actually says after that tape came out he spent every night for weeks plotting his own suicide, planning to leap from his apartment balcony, just sincerely wanting to die. Who in Hollywood actually says that
to a reporter?”
Mike: “Wow. No one?”
Me: “He talks about losing his father, and how he wishes he’d lived because he could’ve given him marital advice, and because marriage is the one thing he’s failed at miserably so far. He’s just so startlingly self-aware and bruisingly vulnerable, I can’t even believe he’s a part of the Hollywood system. And baring himself that nakedly to a journalist — that’s either a seriously sexy power move, or that’s
Tracy Jordan crazy!”
Mike: “I’m gonna go with crazy, because you can give me the ring back, but
NOT THE KIDS.”
Me: “I’m just sayin’: you know I’ve got a weak spot for the tall, dark, broodingly handsome Irishmen. And you KNOW my g-spot responds to FUNNY. And when he tells the reporter he’s actively looking for love, for marriage, for more children — well, if it weren’t for you, I’d probably have to go pack a suitcase and give it to him.”
Michael: “Are you saying that at our wedding, when the officiant asks, ‘If any of you has reasons why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace,’ and ALEC BALDWIN STANDS UP and says (in his best Jack Donaghy),
‘Tracy, come away with me!’, I should plan on being left at the altar while the two of you descend the Olympic Sculpture Park steps in a giddy cloud of white?”
Me: “No! I told you, you big noodge, unless he makes a VERY convincing case to the contrary, I’m totally not leaving you to marry Alec Baldwin! I’m all about you,
Mike: “Well that’s more like it, then!”
Me: “On the other hand, if the officiant asks that question and John Cusack* even dares to lift an INDEX FINGER, you do understand that I am GONE.”
Mike: “Hold on now. . .”
Me: “Because that’s simply a script you cannot rewrite. Might you edit Providence? Nay, sir, YOU MAY NOT. Just so’s ya know, if the Cusack’s in our nuptial house and feeling a betrothal comin’ on, I am WALKING WITH DESTINY, brother.”
Mike: “Oh yeah? Well that’s JUST FINE, because be I’ll too busy being consoled by Isabella Rossellini to worry about you two.”
Me: “What? Sorry, John and I won’t be able to hear you over the rapturous swelling of a strings section. . .”
Mike: “Also? Kristin Scott-Thomas will be walking past, and she has it bad for jilted Ukrainian men. REAL BAD.”
Me: “You and Kristin can take the honeymoon together. Or you and Isabella, whichever. John and I will always be generous with you — our fated love allows us to see only the plenty in life.”
Mike: “Talk about plenty: right now, Isabella, Kristin and I are getting a
‘you-poor-baby’ candygram from Juliette Binoche!”
Happy wooden anniversary, baby. I know you’ll agree that the chainsaw carving of an eagle I got you (to symbolize a proud love that can soar free no more, trapped as it is in a rotting stump) will look AWESOME on the front porch.
* In 1992, I was dating the brother of an Oscar-winner, and he’d happened to finagle one scripted line in the film “Bob Roberts.” I joined him at the LA premiere, where I mostly stood goggle-eyed amid the celebrity saturation (and babbled something desperate to Jackson Browne), until finding myself briefly escort-less in the bar area at the after-party. It was crowded, and I self-consciously sipped at my drink and tried not to stare a hole through Robin Williams, who was standing beside me, when the tall man in front of me dropped his cocktail napkin and turned, and we both reached to the ground to retrieve it.
It was John Cusack.
He grabbed it before I did, and we caught each other’s eyes somewhere near the floor. He said, “Excuse me — I’m so sorry. . .” despite the fact he’d done nothing to be sorry for.
We stood and continued to search other’s eyes, and I’d say that it was like a John Cusack movie except that it wasn’t at all — he was an attractive man I didn’t remotely know, but we definitely shared A Moment, a moment so quivering and electric I have no doubt it would have extended into the evening, if not
the years. . .
Had at that very moment my jealous and insecure date not appeared, revealing a startling and absolute lack of respect for the POWERS OF DESTINY, and so swiftly GIVING ME THE HOOK that I may as well have been ON FIRE (which, thinking back on it now, I suppose I was). And John Cusack and I? Ripped apart in the nascency of our meeting, fate torn asunder.
Destiny denied: that’s why I still get a pass with Cusack.
(And John, if that pass ever does come to pass, I hope you’ve got Isabella, Kristin and Juliette on speed-dial. Looks like I’m gonna need a few favors called in. . .)