“One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun—“
At this, Al’s eyes light up. He joins her. Their voices rise and fall in perfect harmony, the words like a song both knew in a previous life. It’s dharma. Keyboards stop clicking. Secret service men stop slurping. Together, almost like a song, Al and his new love recite,
“Vapors rise as
Fevers settle on an acid sea
Passion seeks heroes and friends
The bell of the city
On the hill is rung
The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools.
Even the espresso machine has stopped.
Al begins, “I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”
She says, “You have. And in a previous one too, when I was a Druid priestess and you were a virile young brave.”
“What’s your name?”
It takes a while for them to continue because time stands still. Their eyes remain locked.
One of the Secret Service guys gets up for a refill.
They sit down and Al begins, “You know, Tipper just never could learn that poem. Nor any of the others I wrote. She just doesn’t understand me.”
I know. The relationship advisors say never talk about your ex on the first date. But this situation is different. The world already knows that Al and Tipper just “drifted apart.” The reporters at my city’s newspaper went out and interviewed some shrinks for their take on long-term marriages that end (because when Al and Tipper divorce it inspires a general anxiety.)
Earth Star does not need to say anything. She is intuitive. Her soulful blue eyes will tell Al everything.
When he says, “I sense that you understand me,” she will reply with her wise woman smile. From her emotional intelligence seminars she knows that the secret of communication is to listen (“When I listen, people talk,” as the title of the retreat at Eselen stated). (Plus, she knows what men like to talk about.)
Al will describe the stresses of his travel schedule, the controversy about his humungous house, the pressure from the media, the comedians still joking about the passionate kiss at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
He explains, “I know a lot of people think that we had the perfect marriage, especially after seeing that kiss. I was so inspired by the thought of being the leader of the world at that moment. It was our dream. But then. . . .”
He chokes up a bit.
Earth Star places her soft bracelet-ed hand over his to channel some of her chakra energy.
This gives Al courage to continue on.
“That was a moment when I thought we would grow, when the fires of passion would be reignited. But then, then that drawling Texas buffoon stole the election! (His fist hits the table.) I went into a slump. I turned my energies to Mother Earth. Then that cowboy unlawfully invaded Iraq. He never read a book. He couldn’t articulate a sentence, much less write poetry. . . .”
Earth Star says, “I voted for you. I marched in protest.”
(Nothing arouses the passions of certain baby boomers like saying you “marched.”)
The discussion turns to chads, carbon offsets, cowboy diplomacy, the Moral Majority, Ken Starr. Their voices rise and fall in passion.
It is so passionate that Al asks her to dinner.
Earth Star, who is psychic, is already getting up to leave with him.
The Secret Service men scramble to arrange the details.
The conversation continues over a bottle of biodynamic, vegan Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Al recites more poetry for her. She leans over, exposing a yin-yang tattoo, and gives him a kiss. He moves closer, asks if she has to be anywhere in the morning. They arrive at the Gore cottage as if flown in a horse-drawn carriage. He turns off the energy efficient spiral fluorescent light bulbs, and lights some oil lamps with the recycled oil from the Gulf Coast (which never would have happened had he been rightful president). He changes into a robe spun by silkworms cared for lovingly by PETA at the Gore compound (as are all creatures) and brings in two snifters of organic port, reciting the words in his deep timbre she so loves to hear: “One thin September soon / A floating continent disappears. . . .”
I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.