Gerard can’t remember meeting Big Love. But Big Love, a large Hagrid-like blond man with cheerfully blue eyes, is Gerard’s nemesis.
BIG LOVE LIKES SITTING.
Big Love’s evil power is sitting on things. Sometimes Big Love sits on people’s chests until they can’t take it. Big Love gets up, wanders around, and comes back to sit some more.
Sometimes Big Love sits on friendships, cutting off circulation until a limb dies. When Big Love stands up, the necrotized issue travels throughout the friendship, tiny little bits of resentment, anger, and jealousy. Death by a million little pieces of necrotized tissue.
BIG LOVE MAKES MISTAKES SOMETIMES.
Big Love has been known to sit on two people at once, fusing their chests, sometimes permanently. These pairs of people must then live together and share the maps they’ve made of their own souls to each other. Big Love tries not to do this too much.
BIG LOVE HAS A REPUTATION TO PROTECT.
Big Love’s other evil power is removing taste from food as soon as Big Love leaves the room.
GERARD HAS NO TROUBLE TRACKING DOWN BIG LOVE.
Gerard has a keen eye for the person in the group of friends who stares at his hands and feet while everybody’s having fun, the person who always laughs a few moments behind, or the person whose smile seems thin and difficult. Gerard has had no trouble seeing these signs ever since Gerard began wearing contacts.
BUT YOU NEED MORE THAN CONTACTS.
Gerard remembers kneeling on the lawn in front of a boy and a girl, a messy scene in the aftermath of Big Love and his sidekick Unrequited Love. Gerard kneels and looks at both in the eyes. To the girl, Gerard says in perfect French: “You must know—”
The boy and the girl, children of expatriates, interrupt and tell him they do not know French. So Gerard switches to accented English and addresses the girl again:
“You must know that everything heals with time. You must know that your soul’s foam will gradually reshape and form better molds for different, better people who will navigate them with better maps. You must know that the time machine we are given, the one that moves one second per second, is not shabby, not shabby at all.”
The girl looks at Gerard, smiles radiantly, brushes back a strand of her shoulder-length hair beneath her ear, and runs off to play in the wind and sand.
HOW GERARD WAS ABLE TO GET RID OF BIG LOVE.
Gerard snapped a twig off of the orange tree growing on the lawn. He threw it at Big Love. Big Love is finicky and hates oranges.
THE GIRL SMELLS OF SUNSHINE AND BUOYANCY.
Gerard turns to the boy.
“As for you, ….”
Gerard carefully inspects the boy.
“Ah, you were in love all along because of this.”
He reaches behind the boy’s elbow and flips a switch.
“All along, all you had to do was flip the switch. It was that simple, all along.”
Gerard pats the boy on the hand and stands up. He walks off the grass and onto the driveway. He jogs around the block and is gone.
WHEN GERARD STANDS UP, HIS PANTS SLIGHTLY RUSTLE.
The boy looks around. Nobody is watching. He looks at the switch behind his elbow. Carefully he flicks it back into its original position. He listens to the gears turning inside him.