I’m sitting on a train back to civilisation from Cern’s place reading Amanda Palmer’s book “The Art of Asking” when I came across a paragraph that made me stop and look out the window in contemplation. Then it made me smile from the inside out.
So I’m going to share with you this paragraph. So you can smile and think of a time that you heard such sweet words.
This is after she’d asked him if he would help her add text to some of her photos for her compilation book to go with her album at the time. They we in seperate relationships with others and had kept in contact via emails checking in as friends do. They happened to be in New York together a few months later and he asked her to meet up for coffee. Her being her she fretted about a birthday gift so gave him The Bride. Which was her street busking gig she hadn’t worn in a long time. He was having lunch with his literary agent that day so they agreed to meet at 4pm at Washington Square Park in winter.
I stepped up on the box at ten minutes to four, figuring I wouldn’t have long to wait.
After twenty minutes, I started to shiver & kept wondering if I should give up, but I didn’t want to get down & ruin the surprise, & if already suffered too long to let it go. There was construction in the park. Maybe he couldn’t find me. A few people stopped to get a flower. After 30 minutes, my fingers went numb, then my hands went numb, then my legs and arms froze. After about an hour, he appeared, accompanied by a woman, and approached me cautiously.
… Amanda? Is that you?
The Bride stayed silent. I stared at him & cocked my head. This was weird. He had come with someone, and I felt like I was embarrassing him. I’d noticed he easily got really embarrassed.
He put a dollar in my hat & I gave him a flower. I tried to make eye contact with him, and he smiled goofing while the woman stepped back and laughed at our little exchange. I hopped down. I still felt like I was embarrassing him.
Well, er, Amanda, this is Merrilee, my literary agent! Merrilee, this is Amanda, you know, the…rock star lady. With the dead naked book…and all that. Merrilee smiled at me.
I pushed the veil out of my face, reached out numb, gloved fingers, and shook her hand.
The uncomfortableness lasted a few more minutes before Neil and I walked off to a nearby cafe, where I told Neil I would buy him a birthday hot chocolate. I took off my wig and Neil helped me carry the 3 milk crates.
My god, you’re freezing, he said. Your teeth are chattering. He took off his overcoat and draped it over my shoulders.
I didn’t have any cash in my wallet, and the Cafe was cash only. But I had made eight dollars doing The Bride, and I insisted on buying his hot chocolate with those crumpled-up bills, which I fished out of the can I’d used to collect them. The bill for two hot chocolates came to eleven dollars. Fucking New York. Apologising, I hit Neil up for the rest of the money.
It’s ok, he said. What you did it out there was wonderful.
Ah thanks. Yeah sorry it got all fucked up. I should have planned the surprise better.
No, he said. It was perfect. I think it’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me, actually.
What? Really? I said.
Really. And I’ve decided something.
I’ve decided that I’m not going anywhere.
I’m not going anywhere, he repeated.
I don’t know what you mean, Neil.
I mean, he said, speaking more slowly, that I’m not. Going. Anywhere. Even if it takes years. I think I’ll stay right here.
Like…here at the corner table? I joked nervously. You mean you’re never going to leave the Cafe Gitane ever? That sounds very Neil Gaiman-y.
No, he said, plainly. I’ll leave this Cafe. But I won’t leave you. That’s what I mean. I’m not going anywhere.
Oh, I said. I see. I think
You see, Cern and I had a similar kind of talk this week. I was feeling pretty shit and expressed my feelings to him that I felt I didn’t have an option that made me feel ok with a decision and he sent me a voice message that conveyed something that may have taken this long to start to sink in. That he chooses me. Above anyone else.
I’ve not really had a guy choose me above anyone else before. Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long to sink in. I heard him but I never believed him. To believe him is taking a new found openness to him. It’s pushing some of my walls that I didn’t know I had erected. The ones where I heard people say things but didn’t believe they meant them, usually because they don’t and end up breaking my heart so I gave up hoping and believing a long time ago.
So maybe it’s time I let myself believe and hope. Scary. He is scary and still his arms are still the only place in the world I feel safe, wanted… home.
So take time out soon, stare into someone eyes that means something to you and offer the silent questions.
Will you love me even if I’m broken? Can you see the real me? Hello.