When the voices of children are heard on the green
And whisp'rings are in the dale,
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind,
My face turns green and pale.
Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Your spring & your day, are wasted, in play,
And your winter and night in disguise.
--William Blake, Songs of Experience
Metaphor for a date I had last Friday night. A blind date, courtesy of Nerve.com. We'd been chatting back and forth since May. But he was moving to Brooklyn from the West Village (like I had done), and I was in the midst of end of semester and stacks of essays to grade. He left messages I ignored, and I left messages that he ignored.
But we finally got it together and met at Bar Tabac. I got there first and worried that I wouldn't recognize him, but as he loped up Smith Street, I did. We were both immediately relieved, "Ah, she/he isn't a monster or a Gorgon." We enjoyed a bottle of Muscadet and moules frites. We tried to get inside each other's head, beyond the social mask, beyond the disguises, but it wasn't happening.
At least not for me. I'm not about to come out of hiding on a first date. My mask is firmly in place; the witty, outspoken, confident woman, who can't be hurt anymore. Who doesn't ultimately care. When we are younger we bare our souls, never mind our bodies--- when we are older, when "the sun is come down" we are more cautious. He tried to get inside my head, but I deftly deflected personal questions. He called me on it. I wouldn't budge.
All is not lost however, the mussels were delicious, the sunset was gorgeous, and he drove me home in a vintage convertible.