The two of us were halfway through a great big gallon jug of wine, one that had us locked into talk that had slowly fallen from serious and concentrated down into love—with all its different forms, vices, and virtues—where it buoyed for a while.
“I’m just not sure. I think it can work.” I said.
“Look, you can’t keep going at it like this for much longer. Nothing is everything, okay? I’ve watched these different relationships take you over, and you end up trapped inside of some Thing and its walls become your walls and its laws and emotions become wholly yours. And this works for the Thing, but it doesn’t for you. And almost every relationship you have is like this: work, dating, your parents, money, you know? Each one is the whole world.”
“But that doesn’t mean that—”
“Hold on. I want to say this real quick. If you only define yourself by whether you succeed or fail in other peoples eyes you’re not only going to waste a lot of time staring at other peoples eyes, you’re basically going to be this twisted Sisyphus. If one person is disappointed, then you’re miserable. If one person is happy, then you’re only happy for the time it takes you to look from that person to the next. Then, again. You need to find a way to start being happy with yourself because of yourself. All those other things are parts, not wholes. Figure out how to stand on your own, in a room alone. Then you can open the door and invite people in. And that way, when the party’s over—which always happens—you’ll still be alright, even if somebody broke a lamp or shit in the punch bowl.”
"Okay," I said, "thank you. I wish I had recorded that or something. A lot to digest along with the wine." I smiled.
"I’ll be happy to say it again tomorrow, trust me." She said. She smiled.
We sat on the floor and poured each other more wine.