I still imagine these things.
I imagine looking across a table at a lovely young companion on an early night in the affair and raising a glass to her as my lovely plot device. I'd tell her that, of course: that I was proud to have her as a plot device in the story I'm telling myself in my head. I'd raise a glass to her and tell her that. My hope of course is that she'd raise her own glass and offer me the same. Being her plot device, being offered that role, would be a thing I'd be proud of.
What would I tell her, there over drinks in a late-night bar? The truth, always--- that I did see her as a character in a story, as a device for moving the story along. I'd want her to feel the same, of course.
The exchange is simple enough, mind you. It's the classic exchange: youth and beauty for what I have to offer. My young companion offers up beauty and a sense of possibilities; she's a reason for me to still function as a lover. What I have to offer her is--- I hope ---the things I know, and the stories I can create for us in my head. A kind of passion, too, that I hope I can transmit--- a passion for knowledge and exploration. These are the things I can offer, and I can only hope that they mirror what she's looking for.
I want to tell her that she and I can be devices in one another's tales. I am the older admirer, the roué who can offer a lovely young girl a taste of darkness and a part in a story about seduction and exploration. That's what I have to offer. I create stories and worlds, I can offer up imagination. I can talk long into the night about new worlds and about ideas and possibilities. My hope is that my young companion will want a guide to step into the worlds I can create, that she'll enjoy the idea of flirting with a kind of notional darkness.
I do want to touch glasses and fingertips and drink to the stories we can create and the characters we'll inhabit. She'd be looking back at me with that look that bookish girls get, a kind of erotic intensity at the thought of new stories and new ideas. Oh, yes... She is offering me youth and flesh and her energy. She'll be stretched naked on my bed talking after midnight while I kiss her hipbones and collarbones. She'll be dressed for me, though of course I'll be no less dressed for her. She'll pull me into corners and doorways outside clubs and galleries. And she'll pull me as well out into the night, out of my reclusiveness and into some kind of life.
It's an exchange. We exist for one another's stories. We exist to move one another's stories along, to be characters that begin a plot arc, that will shape a chapter. Bookish, lovely, experimental girls are a great resource, and a great treasure. My hope is that I can be the plot device that she wants, that the worlds and stories I create will give her the sense of exploration and daring that she needs. She can look at me across a table and cross long, bare legs and offer up a cool smile and know what she'll be for me. That's something that's obvious from what I am. But part of being what I am is that I'll try to be the plot device she needs, to have her know that when we touched glasses and fingertips I was offering up a pledge that I'd try to be the character she's thinking of.
Which I hope is itself part of what my character would do.