Bella: Facebook is weird because...I can tell you I miss you an hour after leaving your side.

Perry: I am such a half-ass hugger. I apologize. I’m afraid if I did it the way I felt, you’d be in the ICU.

Bella: I disagree.

Perry:  You know, I’ve practiced rigorous, Che Guevara-like self-discipline in not telling you how much I’ve missed you in my life, palpably speaking, that is. Until now. It’s that uncanny calm exuberance…

Bella: Let’s not not miss each other.

Perry: You can, naturally, speak for yourself. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be sickeningly clingy and gross.

Bella:  I have also exercised rigorous self discipline of steel in not telling you how much I’ve missed you in my life, and slipped up a few times..

Perry:  I noticed when you slipped and I did not chide you.

Perry: So, I just retrieved one of your brilliant writings and added a recent photo of you in all your NY glory and triumph…and just scribbled this–

Seeing this photo
My heart fluttered
I’m so so so sick
Of missing your face

Bella: You must have felt me missing you from all the way over there. I have a whole new list of sick ofs to add to the list, not the least of which is being sick of not riding around with you with the windows rolled down listening to the Stones. What a funny encapsulation of us!

Perry:  Maybe you have a new phone number… I tried six times or so on Friday, and several times today, alas, not able to send my voice of appreciation to your ears… Wish I could see you … for about 100 hours.

Bella: I am on the train, so I’ll keep it brief, but I cannot believe 100 hours would be enough! I would like 1000.

Perry:   You think I am meshugah, or deluded, or imprecise, or trying to hit on you in a literary-ish way…But I know this: You are the Real Beatitude. Blurt that out to yr drinking beer buddies: “I am the REAL BEATITUDE!”

Bella: I only think you’re meshugah insomuch as you don’t seem to see the poet in yourself that calls other poets out to play. YOU are the poet who awakens poets! There! Now THAT is hitting on someone in a literary-ish way.

Bella:  While I desire to write you something 345456588799000 words long, I’m sending this from an e-reader on a bus to Atlantic City. The person sitting in front of me smells like a cigarette. I am the only woman under 40 on the bus. I’ve been pretty caught up in my own world and in the worlds of millions of strangers, but i’ve still found some time for sentiment & mind-wanderings, particularly combined. Let me be more blunt: I miss you.  And your paradoxical challenge and acceptance of everything that is, including me. So that’s what I’m thinking about on a bus to Atlantic City.

Perry: Sigh.

–from novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

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