Josh slipped into the seat across from me, looking fey with his slight frame and mischievious smile. “You were looking for me?”
“Josh, how do you feel about Jeanne?” I ask, knowing that I would catch Josh off-guard.
“Oh, boy,” Josh said, taking a deep breath. “I don’t want you telling me she’s old enough to be my mother, or she’s out of my league, or that I have the rest of my life to find someone. I’ve heard all those already, and I haven’t even told my mom about Jeanne yet.” Josh pushed straight black hair out of his almond-shaped brown eyes.
“Ok,” I smiled. “No advice. I just want to know for the sake of this story.”
“Jeanne’s the one. That’s it. No matter what people argue, I know she’s the one I want to marry.”
“This isn’t just ‘I want to go out with Jeanne, then,” I noted. You’re serious about her. How can you be so certain?”
“At my age?” Josh raises his eyebrows.
I slump in my seat, abashed, because that was exactly what I was thinking.
“What does it mean when you’re certain of something? Does it mean you can read the future? Or that you’re deluding yourself? We never know until it shakes out. My age or my lack of experience doesn’t make that any different than for anyone else.” I definitely had the disadvantage in this debate.
“What if you’re not the one for Jeanne?”
“It’s entirely possible I’m not. But if I don’t end up with Jeanne and I find someone else, I will always remember that she’s not Jeanne.” He squinted and looked in the distance; I wondered if he tried to see that reality.
“Are you attracted to Jeanne?” I venture timidly.
“I am. And you’re surprised, because everything you’ve been told suggests that would never happen. We’re both writers, and we both have active imaginations. Do you really believe in a world where younger men are never attracted to older women? Wouldn’t that world be poorer for it not happening?”
“Yes, it would,” I admitted.