So, I was cuddling with this woman after a hot and sweaty session of pilates. Working out is the most intimate activity I can think of that two people can share, and I cannot imagine doing so with someone without finishing it off with a mutual hold. We didn’t talk much as our sweat glands dialed down to a slow leak. Once in a while one of us would comment about our workout and then drift back to mind numbness. I was about to snag a doze when she gently poked me in the rib with her nose and said, “I feel so safe when you hold me in your arms.”
As you can probably imagine, I was flabbergasted. What the hell could that mean? Did she owe a loan shark some money? Was she wanted by the police? Were Martians after her? Maybe she got on PETA’s bad side when she molested that toad. Was it that she felt comfortable farting in front of me? What kind of safety could my scrawny, yet deceptively powerful arms provide?
The more I thought about that comment, the more dumbfounded I became. I finally surmised that she relied on my arms for safety against some unknown cadre of demons I could never comprehend. I know that’s quite a conclusion leap from loan sharks, police, Martians and molested toads, but I had a lot of thoughts going through my head at that time and memory has smeared them, kind of like peanut butter spread over a positive meniscus lens, so I could not possibly review them all here. I do remember, however, thinking about a good way to remove my pants without appearing presumptuous, but that’s a bit off the point. The implications presented by her comment were quite a burden to have laid on me. I could have lain there all day if she would have just kept her safety concerns to herself. (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “lain” before. Feels kinda weird, yet liberating.) I’ve spent most of my adult life protecting myself from the perilous content our world affords, and now I have to be responsible for her safety, too? That’s hardly fair. I just met her on a bus a few hours ago. For her to thrust this preposterous demand upon the faculties of my arms was domineering, and, frankly, a little rude.
I excused myself, and sat in the living room. Two minutes later (yeah, it only took her two minutes until she got suspicious and came looking for me – can you believe it?) she came out of the bedroom and asked me what I was doing. “Yeah, you’re gonna have to leave,” was my response. She questioned my reasoning, and I tried to explain to her the encumbrance she so flippantly launched at me, like a pink polka-dotted harpoon sent careening viciously at a finectomized puffer fish. It wasn’t until I declared that if I wanted my arms to act as safety nets, I would have gotten a job with the Flying Wallendas years ago. She was so confused at that point, she decided to leave. In hind sight I can understand why my last statement confused her so much – I don’t think the Flying Wallendas used safety nets.
As she walked out of my home and out of my life, she was attacked by a mischievous horde of marauding fruit bats. Now I realize she may have had a point about feeling safe in my arms. Not a single fruit bat has ever attacked anything I was holding in my arms. Although, since I had just met her, I have no clue how she would have known that. The subject never came up during our pilates.