Thursday, December 06, 2007

Laughing at the Frozen Rain

This house is an old house – drafty all the time. It’s November and my bedroom is cold. I have a heater in it and I straddle it for an extra blast of heat. It burns the insides of my legs sometimes. It’s getting colder here and so am I.

Danny drove to the island to see me last night. He is a sweet man – easy-going, honest, simple. I’ve known him since my teens. We dated briefly; for a week, I think. He broke up with me in front of the girl’s bathroom in high school. I cut school, went to the woods and smoked a joint and cried and then laughed. And then laughed some more.

We ran into each other not so long ago and he wanted to get together. He looks different now. He still has beautiful blue eyes. And two kids and a new divorce. He’s an electrician with a failing business. And he’s moving back in with his mother. All the makings of a match made in heaven.

I’ve heard it said that the older you get, the more your personality sets in stone - less pliable. The little pains of life fuse with the big pains and you didn’t take the time to dislodge them, cry or scream them out. So they compiled and calcified and they now occupy a dead space where kindness used to live. Oh how poetic.

I want to be flexible. I want to, I want to. But I’m not.

Danny slept in my bed last night and I wanted to kill him. He’s a big guy and he seemed to grow as the cold night progressed. His arms became virtual bear traps. And while he didn’t snore, he breathed louder than I thought humanly possible. Almost dragon-like. He also smelled like baby powder twice removed – like some weird, adulterated version of baby powder. I told him earlier that night, “Hey, you sure smell like baby powder – like a lot.” He said it was his deodorant. Deodorant indeed. This bothered me.

Toxic Baby Powder Bear Trap man literally had me in a chokehold at 5 this morning. His arms were too heavy to lift up. I thought I might suffocate…him.

And on top of feeling like a smashed pea, I felt a little confused. I’m supposed to like this warm “other person” sensation in my bed, right? It shouldn’t feel like a burden – I mean, literally, like an immense physical burden, right? I wanted to roll over and whisper softly into his ear “Hey, can you get the hell out of here?”

When Danny woke up this morning, I had been up for an hour sitting at my desk, bleary-eyed. Looking well-rested, he stretched and asked, “Do you know what you need?”

I toyed with several responses in my tired little head:

“A silencer?”

“For you to get the hell out of my bed and stop baby powdering your scent all over the joint!”

“To be never asked again, ‘Do you know what I need?’”

“To stop dating, cause y’all annoy my ass.”

I went with the simple but classicly acerbic, “Oh, pray tell.”

An electric blanket, he says.

“The blankets that you kicked off the bed usually keep me warm enough.”

He laughed and stretched and got out of bed and kissed my cheek.


Over breakfast, I asked him if I seemed like a bitch to which he replied, “Yeah, you’re a bitch a little.”

Well, then why do you want to date me, I asked.

“I don’t know. Um, I don’t know.”

I told him how I appreciated his well-thought out answer.

“See – that kind of thing. Makes you sound like a bitch a little.”

“Hmm…I always thought that was just biting sarcasm.”

I took a bite of my Scrapple (a very strange meat product that I’d rather not talk about.)

He suggested I lighten up a little and stop acting like I know everything.

“Me, me? I know less each day! I seem like a know-it-all?”

“Yeah, a little. Well, you do know a lot. So it makes me feel like a hick, like some Jersey blue-collar guy – which I am, I know. You know about wine and music and film, which I like to call movies. I drink beer and lay wire. So yeah, I kinda feel stupid around you.”

He looked down into his coffee and I suddenly felt like a piece of…Scrapple.

“I’m…sorry if I made you feel that way. I would never want to make someone feel that way.”

“It just seems I get on your nerves a lot.”

“Danny, everything gets on my nerves anymore and I don’t know why.”

“But maybe you just don’t like me the way I like you. Or you wouldn’t be so touchy.”

The truth of his statement hung silently over our heads.

I remembered caring more when I was younger – I cared about what I said and how I was perceived because I so wanted to be…wanted. But that concern has quietly unraveled over the years. It’s been replaced by a deep and contented sense of not caring. It feels good speaking my mind at all costs. Sure, you disenfranchise just about everyone but you breathe a big sigh of relief.

There’s this little Fury who lives inside of me now. Perhaps she’s always been there. Her rusty restraints have finally fallen off and she tears around my room, spitting fire and clawing my face. I can’t stop her. I don’t even want to try. I’m hoping she’ll exhaust herself and melt away and left will be a pliable, sweet person.

Until then, she and I will sleep happily together. She touches me. Her lips are icy and her tongue is like a hot poker. She is the best lover and hater I know. She doesn’t steal my cover - she is my cover. She pulls my hair hard and whispers nasty words in my ears. I am forced to relent. She and I watch reruns of Xena, the Warrior Princess together and plan our great escape. There will be tons of carnage and fire, we hope.

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