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WhyDid’s Words: Ghosting

By |January 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|

“Listen, I wouldn’t even text you right now if it wasn’t my best friend’s birthday.”

“What do you mean? Just come inside.”

“I would, but your doorman has a personal beef with me.”

Ten minutes later and I was inside the crowded restaurant turned bar post 10pm with a friend searching for our other friends amidst a bunch of loud and basically incoherent frat boys.

“We just need to say hello and wish her happy birthday– I promise we can leave right after.”

My friend smirked at me, looked at her watch, then cracked a grin, knowing I was just as miserable being there as she was.  “Come on,” she said, “let’s grab a drink to dull this social torture. Tequila?”

I looked back at her with an expression of sincere gratitude.

When we finally made our way to the bar, we were nudged, elbowed, and ignored until finally able to get the bartender’s attention long enough to order our drinks.  At that time, an onlooker suggested that my friend would be better off if she used her Australian accent to her advantage.  We were in an Australian bar, after all.  She smiled politely and I scanned the room looking for my friend so we could say our “hellos” and “goodbyes” in the time that it took to down a tequila and soda.

Just as the bartender plopped two overly ripe slices of lime into our drinks, I spotted the birthday girl in the far corner.  I took a large swig of my drink and grabbed my other friend’s hand and gave it a squeeze before navigating through the crowd like a Tetris piece.

We made our way with only a minor spill to my shirt and a few eye rolls when we said, “excuse me.”

Well worth the trouble when our friend embraced us simultaneously in a warm, enthusiastic hug.  “You made it!” she said.  We both smiled and nodded in hopes of disguising our excitement to make an immediate exit.

A few moments of ambiguous chatter which was mostly drowned out beneath the 70’s rock and raucous crowd and she informed us that she and her boyfriend were going to head upstairs for a cigarette.  She asked if we wanted to join, but after having dealt with a doorman from hell, we decided we would wait inside rather than face him again.

And then there he was.  The moment I’d looked up from my conversation I spotted him.  I could feel someone looking at me before I’d raised my eyes, but I didn’t imagine to meet his gaze with my own. He looked away as quickly as someone who was witnessing a crime they didn’t want to be involved in.  I darted my eyes back to my friend who was still chattering away about her exciting new business opportunity.  She hadn’t caught the moment, so I pretended I hadn’t either.  We migrated up the stairs from the wood paneled basement to a table with some other friends upstairs.  I tucked into the back corner of the booth and watched the door for the birthday girl’s reentrance.

She never came back and while I snatched fries from a friend’s plate and laughed as they told the story of how they’d met in the most unconventional way, there he was again.  I felt his gaze on me and this time he let it linger again before turning around and walking away.  Without even saying a word, I felt my friend’s hand on my arm.  “Was that him?”  I nodded and continued chewing my fries.  “Why— I mean– what was that?  Why did he…”

I shrugged.  I dabbed my french fry into a  metal cup of mayonnaise.

“Do you want to go?” she asked.

I nodded. “Let’s not be obvious though.”

We said our goodbyes discreetly before gathering our coats and scarves from the back of the booth.

“I have to stop by another friend’s birthday on the way home. You game?”

I said, “Of course.”

We took a quick walk a few blocks and headed down a dark stairwell where the crowd was much less wild and closer to winding down for the night.  She and I sat for a moment in the corner as she asked me what that was all about.  She may have been more surprised than I was.  We rejoined the crowd for a group photo as the party started to disperse.  Before I made my way out the door, I felt someone grab my arm.

“Hi, I like your hat.”

I laughed and said, “Thank you.”

Some small talk and an alert on my phone letting me know my car had arrived and I started to say goodnight.

“Should I take you phone number?”

I hesitated and said, “Ok.”

I’d only made it out the front door when I received a message.  “You should have stayed.”

I looked to my friend and she smiled and said, “Why not?” but I headed to my car instead.  As the car turned the corner heading down Bowery and back to Brooklyn, I said, “Wait! I’m sorry, do you mind going back? I forgot something. ”

The driver chuckled as if he knew exactly what I was about to do.  Truthfully, I wan’t even sure what I was about to do.  As he returned to the spot where he’d picked me up, I thanked him and headed back down the same dark stairs.

As I descended the last step, I was greeted by a big smile, “You made it!”

WhyDid’s Words: Role Play

By |November 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

We don’t really “know” anyone.  All we know is our perception, interpretation, and ideation of them.

How do I know?

I wake up to someone new every single day.

Myself.

Do you ever wonder who might be in your bed in the morning?  Not the person sleeping next to you.  Not the person in the next room.  Not even the animal diligently guarding your bedside.

You.

Who will you be today?  What will you do?

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretend to be.

Kurt Vonnegut

I met a woman once who played perfectly into a role she’d felt was given to her by other people’s perceptions.  At the party where we’d met, she was silly and flirtatious, cracking jokes and acting as the court jester in a slim fitting satin sheath dress just skimming her perfect figure.  She was utterly charming.

Captivated and intrigued, I’d stayed up late into the night and early into the morning talking to her as we made our way through the last bottle of cabernet sauvignon on the roof of a Lower East Side walkup.  She was exhausted.  Not because it was late, but because she felt as if she had finished yet another performance.

“Why do you do it?” I asked.

She gazed down into her wine glass as a chunk of her silky auburn hair fell from her bun and across her face, “It’s what they want.”

I felt a pang of sadness.  I wasn’t sure if it was for her or for the fact that what she said held both so much truth and conversely, so little.

He asked what I did that day.  I lied.

“I went for a run and then went to the Botanical Garden.”

He should have known I was lying.  And it pleased me.  It pleased me that I was testing him, but more so that he’d failed and I’d gotten away with such a farce.

The truth was I stayed in bed that day.  When my internal clock went off– usually around 8:33AM, I looked to my still snoring dog who’d kept my feet warm in the cool air of late fall and to the blinds covering my window, still grey not yet illuminated by the sun.  I knew it must have been raining, or at very least cloudy.  What I did instead was roll over, sleep another hour and spend the rest of my day in bed eating chili, drinking wine, and crying as I watched Casablanca for the very first time.

And just as I’d hung up the phone and smiled smugly, feeling quite content, I realized the only person I had fooled was myself.

WhyDid’s Words: Haunted

By |November 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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She loved to play dress up. Her mother’s lace dresses dragging behind her as she ran barefoot through the backyard.  Climbing citrus trees and catching garden snakes with her older brothers wearing pink satin and polka dots.

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Lizards, hermit crabs, snails all became her pets and friends.  When her parents had tried to dress her in her older brothers’ jeans and sweaters, the little girl who looked much like a soft pink rose, made it clear that would just not do.  Mostly by throwing the clothing back at them and crossing her little doughy white arms across her tiny chest.  She was a woman, through and through– and she knew this well before she knew her times tables.

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When she’d been born, she was a surprise.  The doctor had assured her parents that they were due for a third little boy.  As she arrived at the hospital, her mother exclaimed, “Thank God!  Thank you! It’s a little girl.”

The little girl loved her big brothers and never let their rough play intimidate her.  She enthusiastically took it as a challenge, but there was no way she was going to do so any way but on her own terms.  So, she dug into her mother’s closet and armed herself the only way she knew how– in chiffon, silk, and sequins.

She made no sense to many.  Was she a boy in girls’ clothing or a girl who wanted to be a boy?  She never thought of this as a decision she had to make.

And she never had to choose.  A woman is exactly who she wants to be.

 

WhyDid’s Words: Alice in Dreams

By |September 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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She came to me in my dreams one night.  A tiny little thing with big blue eyes and long flaxen hair.  She looked like a real life Alice in Wonderland.

She plopped herself down haphazardly in the chair across from me.  We were in a cafeteria.  It reminded me of my highschool.  She looked me straight in the eyes and blinked a couple of times before saying anything.  She began to speak and then giggled.

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“You know none of this is real, right?”

“What isn’t?” I asked, confused.

“This!” she nearly shouted as she threw her little arms above her head.

I looked at her puzzled and she frowned in frustration.

“What don’t you understand?  All this stuff you worry about doesn’t really even matter.  It’s absolutely absurd!” she laughed, eyes wide.

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I continued to stare at her in half amusement, half disbelief.  She was turning around in her chair– left and right, looking at everyone around us as if sizing up each person in the room.  A man then walked by us, he looked like an authority figure (remember, this is just a dream).  The little blonde held her hand up to him in the gesture of a high five.  He smiled and met her hand with his own.  She turned back around to me.

“See?  It’s all absolutely ridiculous and the sooner your realize that, the happier you’ll be.”

It didn’t occur to me until after rubbing my sleepy eyes that morning that the little blonde was me.  Me before I had ever worried about all of the things I do today.  Me before I forgot that life is totally absurd.

 

WhyDid’s Words: Morning Glory

By |August 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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She rarely slept past 5am.  Sometimes it felt as if she’d lived an entire day before nine in the morning.  She wasn’t sure if it was the thin blinds she’d installed to block the early morning summer sun or the lucid dreams that left her feeling emotional long past opening her pretty blue eyes.  Maybe she was still living in a different time zone from a lifetime passed.  Maybe she just loved the solace of the dawn.  Maybe her golden hour happened hours before what others deemed it to be.

Whatever it was, it was the only time of day she truly felt completely alone.  Entirely disconnected from the outside world.  But that was her time.  It was her favorite time.  She knew most people would consider her odd.  By society’s standards she was odd, but that wasn’t something that bothered her.  She cherished that.

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No one ever knew why she was tired, but no one would ever know the magic of her morning hours.