What you don’t know is before we met, I had work done. A plastic surgery of the soul. I was nipping and tucking and augmenting and – reducking. I was way different. I had turned from my ways. What I didn’t know was my ways had turned too. My ways had followed. I turned around and there they were, turning tricks. Am I repetitive? Am I addictive? At the least I’m fucking uncreative.

Sorry about that. No, not for swearing, it had assonance. And not for swearing again, it’s a poetic term. I’m sorry about that. That white knuckleheaded night in which I closed my fist around what I wanted and would not let go. You were what I wanted. Or what the wine wanted. Excuse me for the excuse.

See, you’re 25; it’s fine. But I’m 29, and it’s not fine. Statements like “boys will be boys” or  “the girl can’t help it” or “girls who are boys” are just barely acceptable anymore. Soon I will be 30, the age of accountability – though that age seems to age with me – and I’m supposed to have it together, in labeled bins, where it can be easily located. Actually, I do have it together. In a whitewashed tomb. Yes, and when I saw you, I flipped a lid and out jumped my bones. And then I jumped yours. All right, it wasn’t a long distance jump, so you would say there’s nothing to be guilty about. But it was still a competition, and I will not be winning the crown of righteousness.

Incidentally, Jesus was 30 when he started ministry. But then, he started by saying, “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” There’s no confusing me for righteous. Not even the ‘80s slang definition of the word. But I’m working on it.

A few nights after I met you, at Bible Club, I helped an Artist do a set of paintings with the kids. Upon each little square mural, he had sketched, in pencil, a line. “You can paint however you want, you just have to stay below this line,” he said, and the kids tried. They did. But inevitably, lines were crossed, apologies were offered, and a wet rag was applied, until there was a pile of filthy rags. And when the kids had all painted, the Artist laid out all the abstracted squares, refining, repositioning, until, remarkably, resplendently, it was Art. I never thought it would work. But then, it wasn’t because of our work. It was because of the Artist.