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The man I love has many gifts. He is, without fail, kind to everyone he meets. He knows the make and model of every car on the road (in the US, anyway. He’s been adding new European models to his mental catalogue with great delight). He is steady and calm. I call him “my lighthouse” because of the way he can gently guide me home out of the swirling neurotic chaos of my self-defeating, what-if anxieties.

Guide me home in a strictly figurative sense, that is. As kind, knowledgable about Volkswagens, calm, and steady as he may be, the man has the sense of direction of a drunk toddler, and given a few random turns around the block, probably couldn’t guide me home, literally speaking, if our lives depended on it.

It’s not a question of forgetfulness but rather never having known or, more likely, noticed in the first place. I have a pretty solid intuitive sense of direction, but sometimes I try to see the world from his eyes, like hanging upside down from the couch and pretending to walk on the ceiling. What is it like to be completely convinced that the road is that way, the park behind us, and the bus stop we pass every day on our left, only to have your entire mental world suddenly rearranged like a snow globe? What is it like for the inner ear never to be quite sure where you are in space? It tickles my vertigo just considering it.