There’s actually a lot going on in this little piece. I didn’t even realize it myself until I re-read it just now, a few months after writing it. I thought it was mostly about love and aging; that is, how aging alters our experience of love, which is a theme on which I’ve focused a great deal in my recent work. And it is about that, of course, but what really strikes me now is that, in a very big way, it’s also about loss. The lost love. The lost chance. The loss of libido. The loss of youth.
I can only conclude that I must have been very sad when I wrote this piece. That some small part of me must still wonder, must still be dwelling on what might have been; not just in love, but in life itself. Perhaps it’s like that for all of us as we grow older. Perhaps we all reach a point at which we realize that certain paths are no longer open to us, or at least that they’re now packed with obstacles that simply didn’t exist in our youth.
I think that’s why I started writing again after such a lengthy hiatus. Because in my stories and novels I can explore any path I choose; even those which, for whatever reason, are no longer open to me. I can live the life that, in reality, I chose not to live; take the chances I didn’t take; recapture the opportunities I failed to grasp. And it comforts me sometimes to arrive at the end of that imaginary road-not-taken and conclude that I didn’t miss much after all. That I didn’t have to give up what I have in order to pursue some shadow of a dream that would never pan out in the real world, anyway; that the real charm of the fantasy lies in its very unreality.
* * *
"Last Date" is one of the stories to be featured in my forthcoming collection To All the Penises I've Ever Known: Romantic and Erotic Shorts by Lori Schafer. For more information, please visit the book's webpage or subscribe to my newsletter.