I remember everything being so intense and wonderful: that first shy meeting, the hot-and-heavy hand-holding, finally getting to second base, which in 1982 meant acknowledging that your affection had reached the next level, or “base.” [Editor’s note: This is not what “second base” meant in 1982.]
I’m too old and too married now for summer romances. Still, I miss the thrill. That’s why I’ve decided this year I’m going to have a summer fling with myself.
I can picture it now: I go out to my back yard to sit in my favourite lawn chair only to discover I’m already in it. “Oh, I’m sorry,” sitting me says. “Is this seat mine?” “No, please,” I tell myself, “sit. I insist.”
Overwhelmed by my kindness and suave beardiness, I begin to chat with myself, and instantly I feel a connection. I have so much in common. I like long walks on the beach, and I like long walks on the beach! It’s amazing, the chemistry, like I’m the same person!
“Maybe I’ll see me later,” I say.
“If I pass a mirror I will,” I reply coyly. Good looking and funny? I think I love me!
Later, I “accidentally” run into myself at the pharmacy. Except it’s completely embarrassing because I catch myself picking up hemorrhoid cream. “It’s for my eyes!” I explain, to which I reply, “Then I think I’m using it wrong.” I laugh, and I explain that, no, it’s good for reducing eye wrinkles, and I smile, neither I nor me realizing that a man worrying about eye wrinkles is kind of swishy.
The encounter leads to coffee, coffee to an evening stroll. As the sun begins to set, I tentatively reach out and take my hand. And I walk, hand in hand, talking to myself like I’ve been talking to myself all my life.
But then I go and say something stupid, like “So. How do I feel about Justin Trudeau?” And immediately I can see myself go awkward and inarticulate as I mutter about positivity and Canadian values but my eyes betray a deep wariness. I’m quiet after that, and when I reach my door, I try to give myself a goodnight kiss on the cheek, but I miss.
Later that evening, I get an email from myself apologizing for my behaviour. “It wasn’t me,” I write, “it was me.” Then I confess that I do have feelings for me and would like to spend some time getting to know me better.
After that, I’m inseparable. I spend every minute I can with me. When I’m apart from me, I’m just not myself.
Is there physical attraction? Yes, of course there is, but it’s more than that, almost spiritual. And the amazing thing is, I’m not even repulsed by my clusters of nipple hair.
I take it slow because I don’t want to scare myself off. “I’ve been hurt before,” I say. “I would never hurt me,” I reply.
Things progress. One beautiful, unforgettable night, I get to third base. [Editor’s note: I’m not sure what he means this time and I don’t want to know.]
Of course, it’s not all bliss and endless ice cream. At one point, I get angry with myself for giving up on “Breaking Bad” halfway through season two. And I have my first real argument about being so self-centred. “Why does everything always have to be about me!” I shout at myself. I agree, which only makes things worse.
The thing is, I both know it will have to come to end. This is just a summer fling. Once September rolls around, I have to go back to my own life, and I to mine.
Finally, the day comes when I have to say goodbye. There are tears in my eyes, and I cry a little too. I promise to write to myself, Skype with myself once a week, without fail. “Every time I offer someone a piece of ID,” I say, “I’ll think of me.”
I stay in touch with me for a while, but soon I move on. Life gets busy. Before long, I understand that what I had with me was special, magical, something I’ll never forget. But a little part of me knows that if I had spent more time together, I would eventually get sick of myself.