We sit and talk and laugh, he at one end of the sofa, I at the other, with cups, saucers, fruits and cakes covering the glass-topped coffee table and music pouring from CDs on the dining-room player. The TV, without sound, is showing the Lakers and the Suns in their third playoff game. Paul Simon sings; John Coltrane plays - background music, underscoring the Lakers and Suns moving balletically back and forth on the court - to Chopin now.I say, “ Horowitz should see his Chopin being used to accompany these seven-foot giants in a basketball ballet, passing and leaping and layups and slam-dunks.
He laughs, looks at me. “How could it be, thirty years later, we could meet again and connect like this? Who could have predicted this?”
Before I can answer, he yells “Yes, Stevie! A three-pointer!”
Steve Nash, his eye swollen, his lip bleeding, smiling as the score moves up from his astonishing three-point jump shot, taken completely off balance; and this, after he had played his usual brilliant passing game.
“Our boy is so amazing!” I say. (We’d never had children together, so we decided to adopt Steve Nash as our incredible son – a harmless eccentricity of old age.) “I think he takes after me,” I claim, “I was a pretty good shot in high school.”
“Maybe,” he says, “but he does have my blue eyes.”
And so we sat for four months – learning from each other what had happened during the thirty years since we had known each other when we were mere youngsters (in our forties), psychologists at a college counseling center. I look at him, a bit wrinkled, gray hair, thinner now, at 71, and still see the handsome man I knew thirty years ago. He looks at me and can’t possibly be seeing me as I am. He says I’m “gorgeous.” But I know what he sees. It’s impossible to look at each other now and not see each other as we were and as we are somehow blended into some version of us no one else sees. It’s The Enchanted Cottage here in my living room, where we experience each other’s former beauty and strength as it blends with our much more developed senses of compassion, humor and wisdom.
The basketball game over, we face each other. “It’s been four months,” I say to him.
“Yes, I know. Four months—on the couch.”
“Four months is a long time to spend on a couch,” I say.
“True,” he says. “What are you suggesting?”
“Well, I know older people do move more slowly.”
“So I hear,” he says, smiling. “Are you telling me to put on some speed?”
“Well, not exactly, but even at my age, four months of foreplay is a bit excessive.”
“You are a shocking old dame, aren’t you?” He laughs.
“Yes, a shameless hussy. I admit it.”
“And I do love a hussy,” he says.
Ocean waves, music crescendo, fade to black.