Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Something in the Air

Emma likes Nick.

So says my son Simon, age 10, who sees the two together on the playground every recess. When the group plays Star Wars, Nick is General Grievous, and Emma is General Grievous's wife, a character not previously included in George Lucas's world.


Hmmm.

Simon's right. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Funny how people attract each other. Maybe you're more yourself, or too much of yourself, with a certain someone; all sorts of dynamics jump around depending on who's in the room.

I had a meeting at my kids' school the other day regarding our diabetes management plan. A rompin', stompin' shout-out, it was; the other party brought out the fighter in me, and I pushed back on certain policies as politely, firmly, and loudly as I could. When the meeting finished, the ref called a tie and we bumped gloves amicably, yet there was a sense that Match No. 2 was right around the corner.

I walked out of the conference room and discussed the same topic with another person. Within minutes, we were consoling each other and wiping away tears. Same topic. Different person. Wildly different dynamics.

In the parking lot on my way out, I caught up with the mother of a girl in Simon's class. We exchanged stories about how well our kids get along: Simon's always sneaking up on Susie, tapping her on the shoulder and running away, giggling; Susie's always coming home talking about how funny Simon is, how he makes her laugh.

Susie's the kind of girl you want your boy to be attracted to, even at these early stages of noting nothing but the butterflies. Susie's sharp as a tack, sings like an angel, has a spark in her eye and a wry smile.

I'm not the picture of femininity, and I often wonder how spending Saturdays watching mom compete at the bench press will affect my boys' view of women. I approve of Susie, but I also know that the wind blows as it will, and there may be a bouncy cheerleader in our future.

Life comes down to these connections, doesn't it? In Eat Pray Love, I recall reading a story about author Elizabeth Gilbert's friend, a journalist. She'd meet with people in war-torn countries struggling to find food, housing, and safety, and all they wanted to talk about was the one who got away, a love lost in the war.

General Grievous, it turns out, was born Qymaen jai Sheelal; early on in his fighting days he became attracted to a woman with a lengthier, equally unpronounceable name, Kaleesh Ronderu lij Kummar. He'd tap her on the shoulder with his sword, which dripped with Huk blood, then run away, and she'd giggle. The Huks had enough and killed the girl, sending Sheelal into a deep state of grief. He gave himself a new, more fitting name, and has been bitter ever since.

Someone like Emma could really bring out the Sheelal in him, I bet.

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