I BET THAT IF TWO KIDS LIVED IN THOSE TWO HOUSES THAT THEY WOULD COME OUT ON THEIR ALMOST CONJOINING ROOFS OUTSIDE THEIR BEDROOM WINDOWS AND TALK AND BE BEST FRIENDS AND FALL IN LOVE.
I will not write fluff to that. I won’t. No.
LUCY I FOUND IT
But what if instead of two kids, it was, say, a kid and an old woman? And at first they just ignore each other and keep their blinds down and curtains shut, but then the kid climbs out onto the roof one spring morning to get a frisbee and she’s got the window open bc it’s so nice out and she tells him to cut that out, it’s not a jungle gym and maybe the kid shows off a bit and nearly falls, and the old woman catches his arm…. anyway, so sometimes they leave the windows open and the kid’ll show off his comic books or asks what rhymes with ‘beautiful’ (and it’s totally for homework shut up), and the old woman tells him about all the protests and marches she took part in, and asks him the name of that one cute pop star (it’s absolutely for her crossword now shush). And the old woman gives the kid relationship advice, and doesn’t tell when he tries a bit too much of his parents’ liquor cabinet one time, and the kid comes over and shows her how to use the smartphone her daughter bought for her, and doesn’t tell when she sneaks a cigarrette out of said daughter’s bag. And when the weather’s too bad to open the windows, they tape silly pictures or notes to the glass for the other to see (the kid makes sure to make his extra big so she doesn’t have to admit her eyeight isn’t what it used to be), and when it is nice the kid will sneak over and leave seashells on her windowsill, because the old woman said once she misses the sea, but she can’t travel like she used to. And one day he peeks in her window and sees her on the floor, and calls 911 and basically saves her life because she had a stroke and nobody would’ve known in time otherwise. And when she finally gets back from the hospital, just for a while because her daughter’s talking about a retirement home where she’ll have plenty of medical care and lots of friends her age, the kid comes through the window and then pulls another kid through the window who he introduces as his boyfriend, and says he wanted her to meet him. And she sniffs and interrogates the boyfriend in proper elderly relative fashion, and then declares him worthy of her boy— barely. And when she finally does have to go to that retirement home, the kid still comes to visit her, and always leaves seashells on the windowsill.
“My son. How could I have made a son like that, Ned?” “He’s only a boy,” Ned said awkwardly. He had small liking for Prince Joffrey, but he could hear the pain in Robert’s voice. “Have you forgotten how wild you were at his age?” “It would not trouble me if the boy was wild, Ned. You don’t know him as I do.”
Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”
It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.
And I got angry.
Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”
Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)
If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.
Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be keptinterested, because he knows you are interesting:
I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.
I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.
I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.
I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.
I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.
I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.
I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.
In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:
Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.