Saturday, March 19, 2157
Popcorn and a movie, that’s what we need! Walter said. Even without the unaccustomed enthusiasm overtaking his usual staid speaking voice, I saw this activity for exactly what it was: a date. And I giggled. He grew his own popcorn in the greenhouse and popped it in a plastic container in the microwave.
It’s obvious how I feel about Walter. That he feels similarly about me gave me a pulse. I haven’t dared to talk about it. I certainly do not possess the skills to carry off a conversation like that. Hunter-gatherers aren’t great conversationalists. Walter knows other ways of communicating, though. It’s always been that way, since day one. Without a word of gripe, he has twice given up his bedroom to me so that I may heal, first when I arrived and more recently after my “episode.” With Walter there are no words, no declarations. He communicates by doing. Popcorn and a movie, it still makes me giggle.
I told him about my Mad Max obsession. He laughed. He had Max Mad, so we watched it. Plus, he had the sequels, which I hadn’t seen since childhood. Then he put on his favorite movie, Dr. Strangelove. Apocalypse night at the movie, he declared. I don’t know how the hell I missed that one as a kid. My parents succeeded in keeping it from me. It definitely was not their cup of tea. Subversive, that’s how they would label it.
I thought he was sending another message. There was a time when our attraction would have been called a strange love. Those days, at least, are over. Only a handful of yahoos go on about it, under the guise of concern for humanity’s continued existence and the need to procreate. They are easily ignored.
For real, though, any love in this day and age seems a strange thing. Perhaps it’s just the hunter-gatherer in me talking. Moving about solo, scraping to get by, means few attachments, and until recently I’ve had none. Though one seems to be growing. As Strangelove got stranger and stranger, we began sitting closer to each other, and touching.
As it started to get dark outside, Walter put on this movie about a guy who gets irradiated and turns into a giant. Then he terrorizes Las Vegas. Like Strangelove, it’s in black and white. I love black and white movies. In the end, the Colossal Man falls over Hoover Dam, tumbling into the rushing waters.
Are we the giant? I asked. Have we irradiated ourselves into monsters that ultimately have to be destroyed? He pondered my questions, but gave no real answers.
Then Walter asked if I had ever seen Hoover Dam. No, I said, I haven’t. He said that he had, when he was a boy. Lake Mead was a shell of its former self. The dam, he said, looked like an anachronism, holding back a third of the water it was designed to hold.
They took a tour of the dam, way down inside where the hydro turbines were. He talked about the big pipes he saw. They were enormous, he said.
By the time the film ended, it was dark outside. It was late. We opened up the sofa into a bed and slept together for the first time. It was beautiful. It wasn’t just the sex that made it beautiful. Sex I’ve had. Sex gets it done. It’s cool. But cuddling with Walter fulfilled a long-forgotten need.
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