When I go to Heaven Rosario Dawson and I will host many fine dinner parties. This is where I write about those dinner parties.
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With myself. And Rosario Dawson. And you. And angels.
I cannot wait to die.
Rosario Dawson Loves Me is the result of one horrible breakup and a small ocean of whiskey. Each issue is approximately 15,000 words long (complete with swell pictures of clouds and Rosario Dawson) and available for purchase, for the staggering price of $3.00, at Quimby's bookstore in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, or from me, wherever I might be.
My name is Justin Valmassoi. I write it.
My other really fantastic, totally not insipid and borderline retarded 'zine is HERE.
You look very pretty today.
I’m in the kitchen, listening to the Afghan Whigs’ ‘Brother Woodrow/Closing Prayer’ on repeat, reading a book about spices when Rosario Dawson comes home. I’m on a particularly riveting chapter about sumac. Through the nearest window I can see the vineyard and the winding river that Shia LaBeouf is always asking me to go “tubing” down, ever since he bought that floating cooler that holds 72 bottles of beer with a separate compartment for sandwiches. We have tentative plans to do that on Tuesday but we’re waiting to hear back from Salma Hayek and Zoe Saldana. I wiggle my fingers at the stereo and through a small ocean of applause Fats Gonder informs the crowd that it’s star time. Rosario loves James Brown’s Live At The Apollo and I often put it on just before she enters the house because I like watching her eyes light up and there’s the very real possibility she’ll do the mashed potato halfway across the room before kissing me, which is fun to watch. Today, however, it takes her longer than usual to make her way into the kitchen and she has a somewhat puzzled look of preoccupation on her beautiful face. She doesn’t seem to notice that ‘Lost Someone’ is beginning and she loves ‘Lost Someone.’
She fixes me with her gaze, skipping the kissing entirely, and inquires, “Honey, what did you do to the living room?”
“The main living room in the middle of our gigantic mansion that used to be tastefully decorated in varying shades of chocolate and ecru with an eye toward mid-century furniture, in which we regularly entertain a wide array of friends and guests, which now appears to be a fully-staffed Dunkin Donuts as evidenced by this medium coffee I’m holding.”
“Oh yeah. I made it a Dunkin Donuts yesterday. I forgot to tell you. America runs on Dunkin Donuts.”
“Justin, this is Heaven. It is almost the exact opposite of America. It’s a rampantly socialist utopia where human decency and love are the primary motivating factors in 90% of its inhabitants’ behavior and economic disparity and ignorance don’t exist.”
“Heaven runs on Dunkin Donuts.”
“Heaven does not run on Dunkin Donuts.”
“I run on Dunkin Donuts.”
“Oh my God I’m going to strangle you.”
“YOU CAN’T DO THAT,” God’s voice booms from everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, “IT IS AGAINST THE RULES.”
Rosario addresses the air, “Not you, God. Justin. I am going to strangle Justin.”
“OH, OKAY. HAVE FUN.”
“How is strangling me not against the rules?”
“Fix the living room.”
“But what about the staff? They’re really good. The coffee’s always fresh and they make the best Munchkins in West Heaven. It’s a really popular Dunkin Donuts. I was thinking about picking up a couple of shifts just to meet people.”
“What do you mean it’s ‘popular’?”
“Oh, you didn’t notice? Yeah, I guess you can’t see from the driveway but it’s also a drive through. I made a road through the middle of the house. Wait. What are you doing? Hey, don’t actually choke me. Agh! Ghhhk! Ahck.”
“Shhhh. It’s better this way.”
She’s the first thing I think about every day.
Before coffee, or breakfast, before I’ve finished knotting my individual atoms together into a finely sculpted paradigm of physical fitness, I create my eyes and I use them to stare at my wife.
When I see something beautiful, which is quite often because everything in Heaven is pretty beautiful, I want her to see it as well.
When I am confused I ask her opinion, even if she is in no way an expert on the subject, because I respect her intellect and trust her instincts and even if she’s wrong watching the process and hearing her speak is rewarding to me in a way that is difficult to express. I just love hearing her talk, I guess. The timbre of her voice, her words spilling, then halting as if she were tasting or savoring one, then resuming their torrent. She is probing and insightful, but not haughty. She never condescends, and takes no pride in proving others wrong.
When I hear a funny joke, usually from Mike or one of my many friends down in the comedy district, I cannot wait to tell her, knowing that our sense of humor is so aligned there is basically no chance she won’t laugh unless I completely blow the delivery, which doesn’t happen because I have excellent comedic timing.
To me, she is a perfect complement, tender where I am brusque, cajoling where I am too earnest, but similar enough in outlook and desires that we rarely if ever seriously disagree on anything of importance (though of course, like all married couples, we tend to bicker over the most mundane items, specifically curtains and why I am always rearranging the pantry, but even those inane quibbles usually devolve into a series of inside jokes or form the basis for brand new inside jokes, which after a time become a sort of second language, a language born of love and laughter, that to strangers is most likely utterly unamusing but to us is simply another means of consistently expressing the emotion that pervades and bolsters our shared existence, that emotion of course being love, which cannot be faked or forced but must evolve and grow from the tiniest of sparks to some all-consuming blaze before settling comfortably to embers, fed periodically with fresh timber and tickle fights, lazy nights in front of the TV and strategically hidden flowers, and it is wonderful).
We can talk for hours, Rosario Dawson and I, without once running out of steam or sliding into those weighted, awkward silences while someone struggles for a point of interest. She listens with genuine curiosity, and always finds a way to get to the meat of an idea, to make a feast of communication. She does not linger on the periphery, waiting to speak, but rather dives straight in and aims for the heart of a concept or opinion, and revels in an actual understanding or insight gleaned from an ocean of rhetoric. We are both passionate and prone to tangental thinking, but knowing this we have become adept at keeping one another focused, and no matter how emphatically we might rant about a particular subject we remain open to the possibility that there is simply a perspective we haven’t yet considered and we feel no loss of pride when presented with a fresh point of view that may run contrary to our own. We have literally spent entire days, through breakfast, lunch, dinner and sunset, just talking.
She smells like flowers. Did I mention that? Azaleas and peonies and lilacs and earlicheer, sometimes from exotic creams and powders of which all women seem to have a working knowledge, and other times simply because it’s Heaven. Her fingers are long and slender, and I will sometimes watch her stripping the leaves from a length of fresh rosemary, transfixed, until she snaps those fingers under my nose and says, “Close your mouth, retard,” in her honey and bourbon voice, and then I smile and poke her up over her ribs with my own kind of short and stubby little fingers and resume alumetting potatoes or seasoning a particularly large and tender cut of beef in our extremely large and fully stocked kitchen (once I have finished kissing her).
I may never know what it is she sees in me. Plenty of people can cook, and we live in Heaven so anyone who wants to look, body-wise, like Ryan Reynolds circa that horrible Wolverine movie* can do so. We have dissimilar music taste and passions. I do many annoying things like making up songs about what I am doing and singing them**, sometimes to inanimate objects such as a piece of chicken, like “Chicken. You are soooooo healthy. You do nice things foooooooooor my body. I’m gonna put you in my faaaaaaace. Savor all your chicken taaaaaaaste.” etc, and staying up until the sun thing rises watching interactive Rihanna videos and always forgetting where I put my keys so I just turn into a bird or a cloud and fly to work. I’m not as dashingly handsome as some of our friends and acquaintances, nor do I possess an Adrien Brody kind of Euro-appeal. I’m not as quick witted as some of my comedian friends, and it takes me very long time to finish the New York Times Sunday crossword, which is like, the main crossword in Heaven. Still, for some reason there is no one else she would rather lie abed with discussing philosophy or fashion, exotic recipes or another kitchen remodel. She married me, and I am baffled but ecstatic about it.
We hate being apart. There is an almost physical discomfort in her absence, and she has said the same about mine. I cannot or will not make a decision without at least subconsciously wondering if or how it will affect her. She matters more to me than food or shelter or safety, and while I cannot always do or say or accomplish the things that would make her happiest she respects and appreciates my constant attempts. She says I make her feel prettier than she has ever felt, even when she was in Death Proofor on the cover of some glossy Latino magazine. She also has no problem with my rather frequent desire just to stare at her from across the room and say “I love you” a bunch of times, and in fact does the same thing upon occasion.
It’s hard, I have found, to explain these things to others. Some people don’t love like we do. Some people are timid, and see the depths and waves and glowing trench dwellers of affection’s ocean as fearsome and foreign, potentially deadly. When Rosario and I look it is always with wonder and a longing to immerse ourselves, to surrender to the currents and eddies and occasional undertow, to explore what is uncharted, to descend together into whatever might await without fear. Love is impractical, is how we look at it. A sustained fantasy that we share. To apply logic, to pick it apart, would be irreverent and disastrous. Love defies logic. They are forever in opposition, one cold and smooth and unyielding, the other like flames or a swarm of bees, unpredictable and wild and fascinating.
To me there are no other women. They dim in comparison, and she in turn glows brighter with each passing day (not literally, of course, because that would be weird and probably hurt my eyes even though I have a pretty solid collection of classic Ray Bans in my “summer closet”). I still admire beauty, and many of our friends are very attractive, but I would never stray. Like a very complicated tumbler to which my wife is the key, our love seems tailor-made to function only with one another. There are millions of keys, billions. Only hers has the particular combination of peaks and valleys, small ridges and grooves. I couldn’t open my heart to anyone else.
Most of the time it is deadly boring, if anything. A happy marriage lacks the flair and dramatic tension that make so many great tales riveting. Dinner, cuddling, silly jokes and pudding cups. That’s our life. We rarely go out to the discotheques and hash bars, and my favorite memories of Rosario involve things like her continual amusement at mispronounced words and the time we both turned into trees and spent a week on the hilltop just photosynthesizing and rustling our leaves. Not exactly the meat of the Great Celestial Novel, you know?
Still, to me it is wonderful. It’s better than wonderful because we choose to keep it that way, tending the embers of our love, keeping the fantasy alive and enriched. It’s work, sometimes. It takes patience and dedication and small sacrifices, but nothing can compare to seeing yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you, and loving them back, and knowing that each and every moment you share is a gift, or a treasure, or a song.
Kind of like my chicken song, but better.
*which doesn’t exist here, having been replaced with a much more accurate/amazing seven hour film entitled Weapon X, which covered all the necessary bases and eventually featured the actual X-Men, who live somewhere in North Heaven by my good friend Indiana Jones, not a bunch of hack actors.
**which seems like it would get really old really fast if you weren’t me, but instead she’ll kind of snap her fingers and do a little sashay sometimes even summoning a microphone from the ether to do some ’60s girl group backup harmonies, so I guess she likes it.
All black and white copies of Rosario Dawson Loves Me #3 have been mailed to the appropriate donators, with the exception of those that are also being shipped with color copies because, quite frankly, I haven’t the money to print them. I get that this weekend, which, coincidentally, is when they will ship out. That is also when the third issue will hit the stands at Quimby’s, for those of you lucky enough to live here in Chicago, IL and really enjoy vignettes meant as a salve against past heartbreak disguised as posthumous celebrity fan-fiction.
All three of you.
Thanks for your patience and support. I appreciate it.
Also, you look very pretty today.