It’s Saturday evening. Jane and the kids are out.
I’m sitting contentedly on the tan Eames chair. Dinking around on my phone.
I notice a desire to feel seen, appreciated, loved.
I want to feel a meaningful connection.
Instead of sitting with the desire—to see if it dissipates or getting into my head to puzzle out its origins—I choose (though it’s an unconscious decision) to orchestrate the fulfillment of my inclination.
I open my phone’s messenger program and, from the list of recently-contacted people, press on “Andreas 🎅 Ma….”
(I make all my favorite people’s middle names into emojis; I identify images more easily than words.)
🎅 is my godbrother, Andreas.
I text him, “Hey, I love you. That’s all.”
Next, I select the text, copy it, paste it, and send it to 👶, 🍔🍔🍔, and 🐕.
I start to scroll in search of others with whom I want to share this little bit of sunshine.
Suddenly, 🍔🍔🍔 calls.
Me: “Hey, Buddy.”
🍔🍔🍔: “Why’d you text me? Seriously. Like why did you text?”
I’m confused, wondering if 🍔🍔🍔 is doing a comic bit.
But, as I’ll learn from the slew of words I’m about to hear, they are just flooded.
“Dude, I’m in the hospital. A friend, long-time friend—Tim—had a seizure. I was just with him, at the table, his eyes rolled back. He fell backwards in the chair, hit the tile floor hard. Out. I started pumping on his chest. He’s OK now, well, not OK, but conscious. The ambulance took us here. He’ll have a long road ahead of him—and certainly, it will be—but he’s around, he’s alive, he’ll live to see tomorrow and his girls again. It’s surreal.”
“Oh, my,” is all I say before my traumatized friend restates much of what they’ve already said.
🍔🍔🍔 exhales audibly, for a moment.
I jump in.
“My friend, my friend, my friend, I need to interrupt.”
“Not a good time, too much? I’m sorry. You didn’t…what’s up?”
I slow my speech as I say, “No. I just want to ask you something. A favor.”
“Sure,” they say, their pace slowing matching mine.
“A moment ago, I heard you exhale—for a moment—quickly. I’m wondering if you can catch another breath right now. With a full inhale and full exhale.”
I stay quiet.
“Thanks, Brian. Yeah. Adrenaline.”
As we chat a while longer, 🍔🍔🍔 becomes a bit more regulated.
“Buddy,” I say, “Imagine something, would you?”
“Imagine a little bird that just flew into a window. It’s on the ground, dazed. The first thing that little bird does is shake—like resetting an Etch-A-Sketch. It shakes it all off.”
“Can I ask you to do the same right now?”
“Yeah, if you can—shake your arms and body, as much as you feel comfortable. Shake it off.”
We exchange a few bad jokes.
What’s the opposite of lady fingers?
What kind of pan does a red panda cook with?
What makes a dad joke a dad joke?
🍔🍔🍔 thanks me.
Me: “You are welcome, I love you.”
🍔🍔🍔: “I love you, too. And thanks for the shaking. That really helped.”
You might not be comfortable texting people, “Hey, I love you. That’s all.”
You might not be as comfortable expressing your love for people as I do.
I bet you can figure out suitable alternatives.
You are more likely to win the lottery if you buy a ticket.
Buy a ticket.
And, one more thing: Hey, I love you.