Someday when I'm old, will anybody view me the way I do Gertrude? Or is she the only one of her kind, and am I the only one who knows her?
I know a girl, Androgyne, who looks at me like I'm a fool most of the time. To her I seem irrelevant and outmoded because I question myself and I move slowly, hesitating where she would leap. When I look at Gertrude and how slowly she moves and how little she seems to do, I sometimes feel sorry for her too. I'm middle aged; I can still do so much, almost anything except sit on the floor and hug my knees.
Androgyne doesn't know a lot about love, and I can't tell her anything because I never learned how to love even someone like Petrus until I passed through that period of time in my life when my self absorption and inability to love deliberately came to a head and I felt my ego crashing to the point where all of my emotions had turned into one big psychic bruise. Afterward I saw that love isn't from above. It's not like water, something you can go and get and share. It is the stuff I'm made of that flows from me with warmth or held back with coldness, is clean or polluted, is generous or miserly.
It seems to me like Androgyne feels as if love is a happy accident that might come crashing in one day and the stars will align, rendering a stable and mostly gratifying situation, knitting together most of life's contingencies with the life of the other.
I can only hope she finds a situation that starts out like that, but which can make that difficult transition to the point where it's not easy anymore but it's worthwhile, and you have to lose something of what you started with, to trade for something you never knew existed until you reached your hand out into the fertile darkness of what lay beyond your vision.
Gertrude is on the other side of me from where Androgyne dances. She is maybe more fully human than I am. She enjoys simply being alive. I drink more of the blackberry tea at her table.