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What a difference an hour makes. At five I give up the office, eschew happy hour, and flee. By six I have been home to change clothes and feed the cat, left and bought a book for tonight's class, eaten cheap delicious veggie tacos, and have coffee in hand and am walking with a friend to class in the sunshine. I feel so free and full of purpose. I am wondering how to make the rest of my life feel this way. The time is coming to make the leap to doing only what I love. I need a plan.
Perhaps I'm just an idiot. I thought he stopped writing because seeing me in the abundant flesh lessened the attraction and friendship was a ruse all along. Apparently not, because he's back in my inbox with intelligent words and indecent proposals that thrill me. But I know myself too well to give in. I'm constructing an elaborate fantasy of lifelong friendship. In other circumstances he would be perfect for me. If I had a time machine I could make this work, but I can't see any other way. I have desire, but I'm not that good at lying to myself.
At the coffee shop, I am surrounded by a virtual sea of laptops. Of the seven people in my immediate line of vision, I count five with their computers open. I am amused and inadequate at the same time. That call to tech support is long overdue; perhaps this is the way to go, to whip up my words or the next lines to the latest play whenever inspiration strikes—and the e-flirting possibilities! The temptation to take my work everywhere is great. But I won't give in to the cell phone phenom, dammit. I must draw the line somewhere.
Wave one of our intense correspondence ended in an e-mail where he poured out everything that he'd needed to tell me, because one of those things was that he's married and so he knew that it was unlikely that we'd talk like that again. Another of those things was a piece of music, Nashrat Ali Khan's Night Song, that he said was perfect for "creating or fucking." Somehow we've managed to start talking again, and I've finally picked up Night Song. I sit here now afraid to start the disc, not knowing what sensations or images it may conjure. Danger.
Another story from my inbox: I got a message about auditions for Nineholes, the festival that I've been waiting to hear from about my play. My heart falls. "Well, that sucks," I thought, "to send out an audition notice before the rejection notice." I open the message to see which playwrights to start hating and there's my own name. I did it. I'm going to be produced. I know that this means that I should be good with words, but I've been staring at this blank space for half an hour unable to go on. I'm happy enough to cry.
Put a little star next to yesterday on the calendar. In addition to my play being accepted for production, I also got an acting gig at Live Girls. This means that between now and August I have work, my playwriting class and assignments, rehearsals and shows for Live Girls, rewrites and occasional rehearsals for Nineholes, rehearsals plus random stuff for the show I'm directing in Mae West Fest, plus some improv gigs at the end of it all. And hey, wasn't I going to look for an apartment? And a social life?
Ah, now this is my kind of chaos!
So is it fate or merely my need to have something like fate in my life? Was it M that I dreamed as a child? Was it D I dreamed last summer? If I can convince myself that he was somehow sent to me I can justify giving in to everything that I want. I can show you the clues. I can map it out. But I can just as easily knock myself on the head and say "hey, dummy, it was a dream." I know what I believe, but I don't know if I should trust what I believe.
Even though my lunch date was cancelled AND I had a feeling that this was going to happen HOWEVER, it might be a good thing because meeting him is dangerous territory EVEN THOUGH we've made excruciating efforts to define our terms, STILL I spent too much time this morning trying to look and smell nice and debating whether I should shave my legs GIVEN that even if I do end up falling from my high moral ground it still wouldn't have happened today over lunch at Roxy's…
WHY is the time between now and 12:30 still moving so damn slowly?
I sent the play to the man who inspired it, the one who broke my heart. When I told him about it a few weeks ago, it made him nervous. He said he probably wouldn't see it, which hurt. Last night I got his response: stay in my head. It was one of our code phrases, indicating complete understanding and delight. To hear it now made me so happy I almost cried. We'll never be together again, but once loved, really loved, means always loved. I just realized how alone I've felt lately, and at the same time, it's ok.
Mr. Robinson sold small talk. It started out as a hobby, providing opening lines to less attractive college boys and empty chatter to less-graceful debutantes, but he soon realized that his gift for mindless conversation had more lucrative applications. A discreet ad in the personals section of the local newspaper was a great beginning, but the real money came when he took up golf and broke into the corporate market. His prices were high, but people rarely refused to pay. The world desperately needed his gift. His only problem was that everyone liked him, but no one much remembered him.
I open the door and instantly I know that the room is mine. It's a fixer-upper, sure. Needs a coat of paint. A throw rug. A comfortable chair. Bright warm colors. But the welcome mat on the doorstep has my name on it. The windows, the closets, are all mine to look out of and fill with odds and ends. Right now, it's pure potential. It's my job to create a universe in this room with whatever talent and sweat and blind goodwill that I can muster. I could close the door, sure, but I think this room needs me.
I love going to the movies alone. No deciding what to see or where to sit. No silent battle over who is going to be the guardian of the popcorn. And unless it's really crowded people leave you alone because your friendless state might be contagious. Having someone else there creates a certain artistic aesthetic emotional confusion. Did I really truly like Mulholland Drive, or do I just think that I did because of the boy holding my hand for three hours? Now the memory is social and renting it alone would just make me feel like something is missing.
For the record, here are the reasons that it was never going to be an affair:
Even if it's just a fling, I deserve to be more than extracurricular.
I won't sleep with someone who won't wake up with me in the morning.
Ultimately, all you were offering is sex and if that's all I want, its easy enough to find elsewhere.
I liked you and the offer of friendship was real. The flirtation was fun, but just a bonus.
It was time for me to become a real person to you, but it was never about what I wanted.
Sort of a cactus-y day. Feeling a little inadequate. A little foolish. Wondering if I should send an e-mail or let wrong enough alone. (Mercury still in retrograde? Anyone?) Wishing for a little more time. Wondering if I can bribe myself sufficiently to finally clean my apartment, get on the phone with tech support, balance my checkbook, etc. It's ok, though. I think I was due for a day like this. It makes the state of grace that I've been living in seem more real. Note: Even when you get what you want, the dishes still need to be done.
I don't want to conduct a life where I don't trust anyone. Unless I have reason to believe that you're unreliable, and maybe even if I do, I'll probably take you at your word. This doesn't mean that I'm a doormat or that I'm naïve; I follow all of the common sense safety rules. And I'm rarely surprised, though often disappointed, when people are dishonest. I proceed with trust because I don't want to know who I'll become if I live in an untrustworthy world. Sometimes this takes all of my strength and will, but I think it's worth it.
I'm only a casual skeptical believer in astrology, but I love Rob Brezney's Free Will Astrology column, because it is entertaining and often insightful in a way that doesn't matter if it came from the stars or not. So, apparently, this week is supposed to be like taking cough syrup: medicine-y, just a bit of sweetness to keep me from gagging, with the effects to be felt soon. I'm trying to embrace this analogy. Life's hot itchy details have gotten completely out of control and I know how much better I'll feel if I can just choke down my medicine.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to live in the moment."
"What are you doing here, in this moment?" he asked.
"I'm making little circles of water on the table with my glass," I said and I was. It was not the answer he wanted. I considered my options and cut him some slack. "I'm having fun. I'm getting to know you. Maybe I'm flirting."
He liked that better, but I left out "I am wondering if I find you attractive. I am thinking of a way out of this. I am questioning my motives. I am tasting your desperation."
Here's a secret. It wasn't a dream, but last night I sensed him again. Not anyone I know but that phantom man who will one day lie on the sofa with me spooning as we watch movies and occasionally pause to kiss me on the back of my neck or the top of my head. I was alone but I felt him there alone wherever he is now reaching from the future to hold me. It was more than longing, more than loneliness, more than pathetic wishful spinster thinking. It was a promise. I believe this against all reasonable logic.
She wears black like a suit of armor.
She wears red like a code of honor.
Heart on her sleeve like her heart was a medal.
She wears her body like an old prom dress.
He holds her number in his pocket.
He holds flowers behind his back.
He holds his arms out like she's really with him.
Holds his own against every darkness
She holds her head up and walks alone.
He wears hope like expensive cologne.
They wear and hold. They wait and pine
They dream and care and always try.
They miss each other one more time.
I am afraid to write about this. I don't know how to voice to it. I'm not sure that I should give voice to this. I know that it may be an illusion, but that's not why. I don't want to write about it because it may be real. All that I can do is live my life with grace for the next few days until I know. I really can't articulate it. Is it overdramatic to say that I feel like the world has changed? Yes? Maybe I should just start over and write about the warm Seattle rain.
I bought a new lipstick. The color is called Taboo and it's a rich pinky-brown, a change from the Bordeaux or Black Cherries that I usually wear. Never mind that I was actually shopping for something sweet and sexy to take His breath away; I know that it has nothing to do with what I wear. But until that moment there is nothing I can do about it, so I keep shopping as though something that I can buy between now and then will capture his heart.
It would help if I weren't painfully aware of how ridiculous this is.
She was 24 years old, in seemingly good health, until one day she just collapsed, right there at the make-up counter at work. Her last days spent in and out of consciousness, everyone gathering at her side with their whys and worried eyes, trying to understand how something like this could happen. Were you dizzy? Yes. Weak? Yes. Sweating? Headache? Nervous? Difficulty sleeping? Did you see spots before your eyes? Yes. Why, why, why didn't you tell anyone? Smiling with radiant eyes, they were her last words, "I thought I was in love."
There. My cynical side. For the record.
I'm saying this now, here, in a semi-public forum, just in case I'm too cowardly to say it in person. I've never felt such a deep instant connection with another human being. Everything that you want, I want too and the idea that we might find it together makes me dizzy, thrilled, giddy, intoxicated. And if we don't, it means so much to me to know that you are out there, that you exist, even if you're not there for me. There is something so basic and raw about loneliness and sharing that, even briefly, touches and changes me. Thanks.
I'm good at all kinds of being alone. I can go on vacation alone. I can go to movies alone, eat dinner at a restaurant alone, even have sex alone if I have to. But for some reason, I simply cannot go to a bar alone. Even 10 minutes spent waiting for a friend is torture. I feel awful, foolish, a spotlight of judgment shining on me. I don't know what to do with my hands or where to focus my eyes. Sometimes I feel like I'll never be a fully self actualized independent woman if I can't conquer this.
My most naked fear: I want love so badly, I'm afraid that I will accept an attraction with a streak of kindness as love and talk myself into forging a life with something that calms and nurtures and understands but never thrills or challenges or grows. I want to be smitten with my best friend, and he with me, for the rest of our lives. I want a soulmate. I don't claim to know what exactly that means but I know it's a lot and I'm terrified that my fear will sell it short.
After you read this, destroy it.
Suddenly for no reason at all, I wish that I had something to cry about. I keep building up expectations, as always, and then the strangest thing happens: I either actually get what I want, or I don't but know instantly that it doesn't matter. I'm too used to the crash that comes with this euphoria that I almost can't handle it. Not that I don't have lows. I'm just not taking them, well, so personally. Perhaps a slogging depression is around the corner, but I can't shake the feeling that maybe I'm just getting to used to being happy.
Merely inching forward, that's me. Conquer a pile. Create a new one, only just a little bit smaller. Constant new messes and mistakes. In a way, it's liberating. No need for perfect, just keep shifting the contents and it becomes an opportunity for growth. I'm going through one of those waves of feeling just a little too much. I wish I could borrow that energy and use it to keep up with the laundry and the dishes and going to the gym. Small things to make my life easier. It appears that I'm not so interested in easy right now.
I am so tired I feel like my eyes are going to pop right out of my head. Then my head itself will actually fall off and roll under the desk, squishing the eyes like grapes and mixing them up with random dust particles and crumbs of the scone I treated myself to for breakfast. Having no head, I will fall over onto my keyboard, my neck crunching against the intersection of the t, y, 5, and 6 keys so that if anyone were to actually come check on me this is what they would see on the screen: ty4565ty5ty5ty65t5t65yty5t656yt56ty56yt56yt
Ok. I admit it. I'm trying to do too much right now. But the only thing I'd give up is work and that's not possible unless I want to become—ta da da!—Homeless Girl With a Cell Phone! Hungrier than a wannabe Broadway dancer! More pathetic than the zeitgeist! Able to post 100 words a day to this website using strangers' laptops at the coffeeshop when they go to the bathroom! She's the newest trendiest Superantihero operating from a cardboard box in the park. Come back next week when HGWACP faces her archenemy and sometime love interest, The Man.
I caught myself walking with dead eyes this morning. The brain panicked, trying to wake the rest up, but the eyes stayed tired, dull. And then there were these three strangers who approached me: two for directions, one who saw me perform and treated me like a star and so somehow with dead eyes I am approachable. This doesn't make sense to me. I know it was all coincidence, an intersection of me and others in time and space, but don't people notice these things? Ok, I know that they don't notice these things, but I still don't understand it.
When these three witchy women get together, things happen. First of all, we laugh. We laugh a lot, the kind of laughter that hurts your belly and leaves you choking because you can't get enough air. Second, we unburden. Usually we find that the struggle one is having, so is another. Third, and this was a new one, when those two things come together with enough energy, we conjure manifestations of the subject of conversation. The circle welcomes others, but one must be brave enough not to get caught in the mojo. We try to be kind, but sometimes fail.
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