It has been a day of disregarding rules.
The no-cuddling rule. This most worthless, most arbitrary of edicts, we cast aside at once.
The no-breakfast rule. He makes it for us: eggs from his own chickens, and toast, and coffee—pressed in the French style—as Ezra Koenig’s eccentric warble fills the house. Brutus, finishing his own breakfast, shoves his head under the table and whuffles cheerfully at my knees. If he’s not sure why I’m still here, he doesn’t ask questions. Dogs rarely do.
The no-staying rule. I am ready, after breakfast, to deliver my prepared remarks: This was fun, let’s do it again some time, I’ll get out of your way. Unexpectedly, Dustin says, “Do you want to hang out? We could get some lunch later.” Obviously, he is not much for scripts.
Lunch is a few hours off, but we find ways to pass the time.
He takes me to Merritt’s Store & Grill, where they do not fuck around with their BLTs. It’s December 21, the first day of winter, and 73 degrees, and though this makes No Goddamn Sense and all of us are clearly screwed, it feels irresponsible to squander an opportunity to eat outside. We find a picnic table tucked behind a curtain of bamboo, and set to our sandwiches with a will. The warm air coaxes us to linger; so, sated, we lie back on our respective benches, gleaning sky in companionable silence.
In the late afternoon, it is agreed that the drive is long, and the night comes early, and perhaps it would be better for all parties if I just stayed another night. Somewhere, a two-bit dating advice columnist howls and claws her eyes.
We take a field trip to the co-op for dinner supplies; he wants to make me Thai curry. We fill our basket with lemongrass and coconut milk and fat shrimp, and pointing out that this is a couple’s errand feels as superfluous as pointing out the moon’s effect on the tides.
After dinner, he fills the fireplace with wood he chopped himself—because he does everything himself, and there is little he cannot do—and sets it alight. We arrange ourselves in a pile on the couch, and put in The Fifth Element, and don’t really watch it. I contemplate the fire, and this inexplicable thing that is happening to me.
His fingers in my hair, over my face, feel like a lullaby.
And I wonder, drowsing, cocooned in glow, how many days I can hold out before I break the last rule.