Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Tom Ireland lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and edits books for the Museum of New Mexico and the Smithsonian Institution. His last book was Birds of Sorrow (Zephyr Press), and he’s working on an essay collection called Head Noise.
Then, while visiting friends in New York City, I sat next to the woman in question at dinner. We drank wine and ate sushi. She was so lovely, so warm, so rich in her attention to everyone and everything that I knew there would be consequences for me of one kind or another: soaring bliss or abysmal misery; probably both.
My first impulse was to correct her English: it might be better to say, “I have fallen in love with Lawrence.” We had been over the difference between the past perfect and the past imperfect tens of times, and she still didn’t get it. In the past perfect, the action was over and done with. But imperfect action had a continuing and vital connection to the present, which I knew was the case here: she had fallen in love with him and continued to be in love with him, at that very moment.