Thursday, June 12, 2008

That Was Then, This Is Now

Sort of. With the little tricks of the trade, the special effects of Iphoto, the clean hair, the glasses that disguise the circles under the eyes, the crows feet, we pick ourselves apart. A little make up. A little photoshop magic and I might not be so bad. Notice I didn't say look?

The first thing that happened this morning was the usual ritual of coffee to take outside with Cyrus. I smoke, and sip at a little metal cafe table, back to the wall off glass that is the greenhouse part of the cottage. I face South, morning sun well up. Cryus does what Cyrus does then runs like a happy bear up the steps to stand before the door waiting for the next exciting part of our morning together. Breakfast for Cyrus. A bit of news for me and then a bath. It's too cold this morning for a shower. This is the first June of my life in Salt Lake I remember being cold on my birthday. So a hot bath. And the ritual of moisturizer, deodorant, brush teeth, dry hair, it's all so dull. I take Cyrus for a walk. We walk the alleys so I don't have to be pleasant.

Another home-made latte, another smoke, and the phone rings, twice before I pick it up. I answer, it's Tom, first love, last love, calling to wish me a happy birthday. No small effort since he's calling from Costa Rica, and the first time the phone rang, I said hello, and there was silence, so I hung up. He asked me if men follow me around because I smell so good. I said, "I see no men on a day to day basis, so no, no men follow me around." But when last men did, I tried to scare then off. I was quite successful. Men have called me things like, "edgy," which is, I guess, a nicer way of saying, "she's such a bitch." If worst came to worst, I could always say, "I'm just not into guys." But now, these days I'm pretty much a ghost of a woman. I walk among you on shopping day and you don't even know I'm there.

Nick, the history professor, brings me flowers, lilies. My favorite cut flower. They last and smell good. He brings me presents and a card in a leopard print bag. The man has class. In the bag are two books and the card. And one of the books is the Complete Stories of Dorothy Parker. Thanks Stella, since you told me my writing reminds you of Dorothy Parker, I needed to know who I'm channeling. It's a gaping hole in my education. I have read all of Colette, but not our own Dorothy Parker. And another book I'm sure to love, since we share the same taste in literature. And the card is perfection. I will try to get Melea to scan it for me. How is it possible I have a male friend this sweet and generous. He's taking me to lunch and has offered to take me to a nice, expensive new Italian restaurant, but I want to eat cheap Mexican food in a place where we will be the only ones speaking English. There will be a TV in the background with a Mexican soap opera playing and music from the jukebox will compete for dominance. We sit across the small room from four guys, probably in their mid twenties speaking Spanish loudly. Unless I gaze out the window, I could be in almost any Mexican town. It's as if we're on vacation for a moment--which is all I could take of vacationing anymore--too much work.

He pays while I stand outside smoking. Then we walk across the parking lot to the Spoons and Spices. I buy a couple of small items, he browses the fancy cookware. We talk about our own ancient history. Last time we went to a movie he asked me about my second husband. The one I never talk about. I said I'd try to write about him, but haven't got very far with that story. It is one of the darkest periods of my history as an adult woman, and I'd rather not think about it. But I am in favor of full disclosure. If only to edify myself. What made me do it? Why did I marry him? And now that unfinished story is like a wound that won't heal. So I guess I'll have to work on that.

Thanks to all who came to comment, and those of you who sent me email. There are two men in my blogging life who I have a little thing for. Randal, you know who you are. I know you're spoken for, and too young for me anyway, but still..... And you, Mr. Unconventional? Yes you are. A most extraordinarily talented and generous man. Just those qualities make you unconventional, but come August we'll see what kind of Conventioneer you are.

It's been a lovely birthday, and now I have to take Cyrus for a walk.