Transplanted Life
Friday, February 09, 2007
I'm not going to get all mopey about being alone on Valentine's Day
I say that every year, and every year I mean it, but damn if it doesn't get harder. What the hell is the deal with my relationships not lasting until winter? Aside from the great appeal of having another body in the bed to keep a girl warm, there's both New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day as big date days, and the possibility of giving and getting romantic gifts at Christmas. I don't remember it being like this as Martin; is this body subject to some weird seasonal cycle that only causes the pheromones to work in warm weather?

It's not just missing out on Valentine's day festivities, though. It would be fun to be brought out for a big romantic evening without being under the influence of Love Potion Number Nine, but Valentine's day is like a big relationship status amplifier. If you're happy and in love, you feel more happy. If your relationship is strained, you fel even more like you're going through the motions and a big phony. And if you're single, you feel even more single.

It doesn't help that I had one of my three birthdays last week - the Martin Hartle one, the one which tells me I'm the oldest. According to that, I've got thirty-three years of experience and memory in my head, even if the body's only got twenty-eight years or so of wear and tear and the total package has been a unit for three and a half. Not old, but my contemporaries are marrying themselves off and having kids, and I'm feeling too old to be so unsettled.

Plus, you know what else makes me feel old? People asking me for advice. I ran into Amy at the Brattle the other night - they were playing Shinobi: Heart Over Blade, and she was there with a group of other Japanese, Japanese-American, and proudly otaku students. They all seemed to enjoy the movie. I didn't stop by and say hi - even on my most vain days, I look about five years older than them - so when the movie ended, I made a call to Unique Pizza so I could pick something up on the way home. It didn't get done in the five minutes I spent walking there, so I was waiting when I saw Amy run into the place, all "I was afraid I was going to lose you."

Hey, I said, you can stop by the apartment at any time, you know that. What's up?

It turned out that even though Cindy had invited her along with the group, it was at the behest of Akira, who liked her and wanted to know whether she had any plans for the weekend. I told Amy that I wasn't her secretary, so she didn't need to come to me because of that.

"Ha, ha, ha. No, it's... You know, I used to be a guy. Wouldn't that be kind of weird?"

"Amy, weird is part of our lives. We can't escape it, and trust me, unless we chimeras start having relationships with others like us, it's going to be part of the package, no matter what. And since there aren't that many of us, that's not a big option."

"But what if I like him, and then get my memories back, and it suddenly seems really gross?"

"Hey, for all we know, you could have been gay in your last life and thrilled with a catch like Akira."

"That's unlikely."

"Maybe, but... Look, I've found that my tastes are different now, to say the least. You've met Maggie, you know Martin-me used to go out with her. But a good chunk of attraction is physical - chemical, biological, that stuff. You've got to trust your gut. Does your gut like Akira?"

"I... uh... I mean, at first, I was trying to fit in with 'my' old life, which didn't have a boyfriend, and now..."

"Well, this is your life now. One date probably won't hurt. Who knows, maybe you'll like it."

Good advice. Maybe I should take it.

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