ZALMAN: Meri, I have literally zero experience in romantic love, but, can I describe my current fantasy for a life partner?
ZALMAN: We meet and fall in love. In a few years we get married. A few years after we get divorced. No one gets hurt. We just decide we need to move on
MERIWETHER: How do you not at all get hurt in a divorce?
ZALMAN: STOP I'M NOT DONE.
MERIWETHER: Okay, sorry.
Meriwether returns to cutting out paper doll figurines for her Burn Book as Zalman types rapidly.
ZALMAN: I mean no one gets their heart broken. It's mildly painful, but we move on. We stay good friends, if not best friends. We go have our own lives. Our romances. We do separate things but stay friends. Then, around age 65, we realize that all along the other person was really the one we cared about the most, and we live happily ever after.
A poignant pause.
ZALMAN: Is that weird?
MERIWETHER: No, I like it. But then what happens when one of you dies first?
ZALMAN: Happens to most couples. Anyway, possible models: 1. Siegfried and Roy. 2. Cathy Barbarian and Luciano Berio.
MERIWETHER: Do you want to hear mine?
ZALMAN: Okay, go.
MERIWETHER: So I continue my life as it is, constantly being hit on by disgusting men, rejecting them all. Only having occasional and mild interest in peers and colleagues, all of whom end up being too insecure in their own personhood and masculinity to fully deserve me. As a result of the continued anger, frustration, sense of doom, etc. I feel toward almost all bachelors who come my way, coupled with my very real desire to have a child of my own and raise it and love it, I decide to become a single mother and either hit up one of my friends (YOU) for a sperm donation, or go to a sperm bank.
Zalman chuckles, swirling a glass of Scotch on one finger.
MERIWETHER: Several years later, I am a thriving single parent. Whatever I'm doing to make money is going well. Writing couldn't be better. My child is blossoming into a beautiful little person I love taking care of. And then SUDDENLY an older and distinguished gentleman comes into my life—details TBD. With his maturity of intellect and emotion he is able to grasp both my inherent positive traits and the struggle I have overcome as a single parent. We fall in love and get married. I am probably 40-45, he is no older than mid 50s. We live happily ever after. The end. Also, travel a lot. And hopefully he's rich.
ZALMAN: We have the best unconventional fantasies ever!