One dictionary describes infatuation as “the state of being completely carried away by unreasoned passion or love.” In Walt Loves the Bearcat, a Latino gardener claims infatuations have a deeper meaning. But then again, he also claims he’s wearing a magical red baseball cap, although no one can see it (unless they believe!)
Here’s what the Latino gardener tells Walt and Marcus, aka the Bearcat, about love and infatuations in Walt Loves the Bearcat. Roll clip!
“Do you know what infatuations are, young man?” asked the Latino gardener. “Try to remember your very first one.”
Walt and Marcus stood motionless.
“Now unless you met as teenagers, you probably weren’t each other’s first infatuations,” said the Latino gardener, “but no matter … go back in your minds and remember the very first time your heart burst with something you didn’t know existed until you felt it coming alive from deep within your soul …
“But your heart wasn’t big enough to hold this joyous burst, which gave you a joyous feeling. So the joyous feeling burst from your heart, and filled your entire body, head to toe.
“But that still wasn’t enough to contain the joyous feeling–this brand new life form that kept feeling you like helium filling a balloon, expanding until the feelings and the filling seeped out into the air around you …
“If you fed the feeling, gave it enough love and energy, that feeling ended up filling your whole world, and your whole world became that feeling. What filling was that again? Infatuation. What is infatuation? Pure. Unconditional. Love.
“He’s perfect. He can do no wrong. Every single thing he says and does is the single most perfect thing he can say or do at any given moment in time. His voice alone can bring tears to my eyes. The idea of him using his lips to form the sound of my name is enough to send my senses reeling toward the stars on a fantastic voyage from which I never want to descend. And stuff like that there. You feel me?”
“Yeah,” said Walt with a mild laugh. “I’ve had a couple of those in my lifetime.”
“Ditto for the me,” said Marcus.
“So why do we get infatuations?” asked the Latino gardener. “What’s the point of them, supposing you believe everything has a point?”
“So you can go around thinking someone is absolutely perfect for you,” said Walt, “before you rejoin the real world after knowing ’em a couple weeks.”
“Nah,” said the Latino gardener. “Infatuations are here so we know what the most perfect, perfect is like. You see, once the feeling becomes your world, everything in your world becomes the feeling. That means everything is perfect, every song, every task, every situation, everything anybody around you does.
“When you’re infatuated, the world makes perfect sense, down to the last detail. That, boys, is pure unconditional love. The receiver of this love can do no wrong, say no wrong, be no wrong. That person, in your eyes, is like—”
“God,” said Marcus, lost in his own headspace.
“The most perfect, perfect,” said the Latino gardener. “And that person stays like God until the infatuation leaves you. Then the receiver becomes a normal human being, capable of doing wrong, saying wrong and being wrong.”
“Because you get over the infatuation,” said Walt.
“Get over?” asked the Latino gardener, “or forget about the feeling, which makes the filling inside start to deflate, like a helium balloon you don’t keep feeling from time to time.”
“So what good are the infatuations?” asked Walt, followed by a mild laugh. “That outta be the name of an old-fashioned singing group.”
“Glad you asked,” said the Latino gardener. “In the game of life, when you ask questions, you always get answers. The Infatuations … you nailed it. They’re a musical group. They’re just about every single musical group that ever existed. They sing songs just for you, you and everybody else in the world, songs that remind us how it feels to be filled with pure unconditional love. Otherwise known as infatuation. You feel me?”
“This is crazy,” said Walt.
“No doubt,” said the Latin gardener.
The Bay Area Reporter says Walt Loves the Bearcat is “warm-spirited” and “resonates with soulful queries into the nature of love and life.” For more soulful queries, read Walt Loves the Bearcat, a story of love, cheerleading, football and some very potent infatuations.
A Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Best Romance, available in print and ebook.