These are your parents.
You are not yet born, or you are very young, and they are gathered for a weekend far away from you, in a house by the water.
If you don’t yet exist, they are considering you—you’re an inevitability they are not quite ready to accept. And if you’re already alive—chubby, dressed in patterned leggings and Velcro sneakers and a headband with knit fruits adorning it—they are trying to forget about you. Just for the weekend.
They are gathered with the people who knew them before—when they were younger, some would say just plain young, and fancied themselves revolutionaries. They came together, all seven of them, just as they crested into adulthood, and they fell in love: not one on one but as a group, fell in love with the puzzle they made, with every perfect piece.
The men loved the men, and they showed it—by jogging together, by playing tennis in impractical shoes, by hugging tightly after too many drinks, maybe even saying it: “I love you, you know.”
The women loved the women, and they showed it too: by sharing sweaters, by inventing nicknames, checking in by phone every morning.
And the men loved the women, and the women loved the men, in different patterns and variations, some passionate and some accidental. And everyone could forgive, because sex is just sex but friendship is something greater. Everyone loved everyone just right, and that love could save, and for a moment it was bliss.
They had big ideas: About politics and philosophy. About capitalism and sex. About late-night TV and translations of French poetry and whether smoking was actually bad for you and whether you could drive after a vodka (yes, you could). About who their parents had been and who they would never become.
They knew they would never work just for a paycheck, your parents. They would never stay put when they wanted to leave. They would never stop listening to music while they cleaned the house or start worrying about what people in town thought. They wouldn’t just be. They’d be happy.
Ori was a painter whose work was always pensive and occasionally brilliant. He’d recently graduated from art school in Jerusalem. Remnants of his teenage depression and eternal sensitivity were still scribbled across his bedroom walls in black-sharpie poems about love and death. When Ori leaned over to kiss me, I moved away and read his letters.