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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
When This Is Finally Over
“Do you believe in soul mates?” She asks as she kicks back her drink, dusting sand off her leg. My shoulders are starting to burn but I don’t mind. In fact, I like it. The smell of the ocean, the tanning oil.
“Yes, but…” there’s always a ‘but’ with me, “my Aunt made me change how I view soul mates, unintentionally. We were talking of her daughter, my cousin, and she referred to her as her soul mate. I don’t know I’ve ever heard someone refer to their kid as their soul mate before, but it makes sense to me, after all I know them. But I think she’s right. I don’t think a soul mate is necessarily a lover or romance, but someone whom your heart is so bonded to, that we all have many soul mates in many forms.”
She studies me to see if I’m going to tag my soliloquy with a ridiculous comment.
The aforementioned cousin is Nicole, one of my 19 first cousins. I’m wholly bias about them because they are my cousins, but I’ve always look forward to and never dread seeing any of them. They are all my friends, though some of them are my best friends.
Nicole is simply beautiful. Not only physically stunning, with the smiling eyes of a Disney princess, but she has the sweetest personality filled with unbridled empathy, kindness and humor topped with a genuine great admiration of life, art and optimism and no ego despite being intelligent and multi-talented. When I see her, I’m somewhat in awe of her. Every time. For 30 years. There’s no sense of jealously within me, though she is a superior human to me in almost every way, but rather this overwhelming feeling that I can’t believe someone as special as her not only exists but is also related to me. Pure gratitude. How lucky anyone is to be in her orbit. She now has steep competition with her toddler daughter, fated to be wonderful. Her husband is a great guy too. I mean, he would have to be a complete idiot not to adore her and adore her he does. The way he looks at her… I specifically remember standing there at her wedding as one of the bridesmaids thinking to myself, “well, Lori, you can never say you don’t believe in true love or don’t know what it looks like.”
So no. It’s no mystery to me why my aunt would both say and feel her daughter is her soul mate. Nicole’s love is too big.
Do I believe in soul mates? You bet.
But this is not about Nicole.
This is about her.
She says she doesn’t believe in true love but I don’t think she believes that, not deep down. In the wake of heartaches, I’ve many times resigned myself to not believing that I had experienced it—the heart and the head conspiring against me to bandage emotional wounds—but in moments of mediation with calm clarity I remember that just because something no longer exists doesn’t mean it never did. Like dinosaurs.
Love is the only thing that makes everything feel good. That’s why the absence of it is devastating. And that’s what’s going to happen when this is finally over.
Here’s why I cry all the time. Besides the myriad of reasons of the current world. I wake up wishing for this to be over. Corona. Quarantine. The hate that is more contagious than the virus all over TV. I want it to be over. I fucking can’t stand it. And then. I remember.
Here are the minimal facts: she was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer that spread rapidly beyond hope. That when this is over, she won’t be here. No matter how any of this ends, she’ll be gone. She’s not much older than myself.
I fucking pray to a god I don’t believe in to make this shit be over. And that desire is echoed that by the time this is over she won’t be here. And I get so fucking mad about the lack of justice in life itself and curse the god I don’t believe in for so being so fucking unfair. And I’m so angry. And I’m so sad. All the time. I know that nothing is supposed to anything, but it sure feels like it’s not supposed to be this way.
She dropped a tool in the engine of her boat which she feared was going to fuck the engine up forever (we fixed it, it’s fine).
“You don’t understand. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“THIS” I said, “is the worst thing that’s EVER happened to you?”
“Yes. Yes it is.”
We both laugh at this— I mean, if you need an ally to make dark jokes and laugh at fucked up shit—I’m your girl. It’s the only thing I have to offer. A drink to a quick tongue. For her (like me) there’s no place better than the beach. So let’s keep doing this. Let’s keep spending our money on frozen drinks. Keep making cringe-worthy jokes. Turn off the news today. It will still be shit world tomorrow. The sun is shining now. Let’s make it count.
Because. Even when this is over. You will be more than a memory to me.