Friday, December 11, 2009

Fine People

Departures
So I’m at this party. You know the type, you’ve been at this party before, it never changes, it’s in a loft after some launch. There’s a lot of really faggy mixed media students that all act deliberately disinterested in you, not to mention their women are really disinterested in you, and even your friends, I mean your good friends that insisted on bringing you have bigger fish to fry and they are talking, I mean talking away with some old friends who’ll barely look at you, gabbing like it’s going out of style and catching up and whatnot and you get stuck more or less staring down at your heelless oxfords wondering what to call the color they are. I mean they could be nut brown, pecan maybe, or something more like mahogany. I mean just brown they most simply are not. Long story short, there I am, settling on Canadian Club and Drum as the name of the color. It’s boring, is where this is going. I’m doing the thing where you stay just long enough that it doesn’t seem like your leaving cause you’re unwanted. And then there’s this girl. And she changes things.
She’s blond, hair like Return of the Jedi Luke if he had real good conditioner, but shimmering hair so blond it’s like photoshopped mango, fresh-dog-days-of-August Pineapple drizzled in glistening honey. She’s got these beautiful earrings too. I mean, I don’t like earrings, but these are like tears forming like the sex dripping off a weeping willow. And she’s wearing a turtleneck dress. I am a sucker for anything that hugs a lady properly, but you will hear me over and over again come up with the good old, simple, clinging wool turtleneck dress and it’s not for a lack of imagination—I am no one’s one trick pony—but the dress is simply a bona fide winner on the right woman, and unlike other winners, it does not ask too much out of it’s wearer to make her the mentioned ‘right’ woman. This girl would fit any type of dress it seems. The dress is surprisingly short, but not slutty or anything. It’s green, like some kind of graying olive brand of green, and usually I’m opposed to this, but today I feel good about it. I feel it’s vintage-y, not Hudson Bay-ish. It clings all the way to the bottom and then there’s over-washed black footless tights  and simple black and heelless leather lace-ups with no socks and the whole thing just does it for me. There’s this crazy press picture I’ve seen on the back of a book by some crazy hot crazy poetess where she crosses her legs so that one leg raps around the other and pops out the other side to hook around the leg comfortably. It’s like crossed crossed legs. This girl does that. The sight of her melts in my mouth like cotton candy, magically, like stock-motion animation rain. I’m sounding a little non-sensical, I realize this, but the point being she’s beautiful. She’s right next to me and she’s clearly seen me with the whole shoe episode and she laughs like she knows something as I look up, like she’s saying her and I are honky dory, ok already, like she earnestly wants us to figure out this whole shoe colour thing so that we may move on with our life together. She’s flirting I think. Like I said, you’ve been to this party and you know that even if you’re a more than pretty guy who tends to get his, this girl is usually not there waiting for you to talk to her—as in, this is a lucky coincidence, her being here. You point at your shoe and act embarrassed and you feel grateful. That is a fact.
“What colour’s my shoe?” I say. I suck on my bottle of cheap Super C Wallaroo Trail while she thinks it over coyly.
“I don’t know, Tobaccoed Tan, maybe?”
“Ooo. Alliterative.” She likes that. She laughs.
“Nice eh?” I laugh too. I say,
“What’s your name?”
“Marnie.” She says. I like that. “What’s your?”
“Miles.”
“Eesh.” I pass her the bottle and she takes it with a slight seated bow. I say,
“Oh I know.” She scoots a little closer to me as she hands it back.
“Who’d you come with?” I say. She points to one of the less awkward and least offensive artsy friendos sitting in some kind of breakfast nook across from us.
“My brother.” she says.
“What’s he do?" I say.
“Um, video installations?”
“Ah.”
“Ah?”
“Yes.” Oops. We pass the bottle back and forth. She doesn’t look too mad.
I ask her what she does. This is that party. This is what you ask.
“I paint.”
“What kind of painting?”
“I don’t know, whatever I’m suppose to be doing that week. Some days you’d come into my place and there’s shredds of newspaper and Teen Vogue clippings everywhere, some days I’m painting noses. I don’t particularly like it.”
“Why do you do it then?”
“Cause I’m studying it. My boyfriend thought I’d make a good painter.” Fuck. “Ex-boyfriend.” Darling. I say,
“Charming guy I’m sure.” There’s an obligatory pause.
“So what would you like to be?” I say.
“I don’t know.” She takes the bottle and my left hand around the neck and brings the whole thing up to her mouth with two hands. She drinks slowly. She smiles. “Not unhappy. Or, well,” I smile. “that sounds awful. Happy-er.” I say,
“That’d be nice.” Me too. She asks what I do.
“I try to do just that, the unhappy thing, or ablation thereof, I guess.” There’s a pause. I can barely believe I just used the word ‘ablation.’ “I write.”
“Oh, well, maybe you could teach me. How’s that going?”
“How to write?”
“Nono, the unhappy thing.” I take a swig.
‘Oh, no.” I say and pass her the bottle.
“How’s that going?” she says.
“The unhappy thing?”
“No, the writing?”
“Oh, no.” I say, and she laughs. She passes me the bottle and I give it a good hit. “I’ve been blogging.” I say. So has she. I say,
“I secretly, well, kind of secretly, love it.”
Her too. I ask what she blogs about. I pass her the bottle.
“I make postcard porn out of cute puppy pictures.” She keeps her grinning eyes on me as she lifts the bottle up to her lips and I imagine her doing it and I give her the nod, and the mock do-what-you-gotta-do shrug. She kind of guffaws and nearly has wine coming out of her nose. I say something clever, but kind. We both get our legs up and our heads back and relax. It’s good.

We sit around passing the bottle about for a while, and then pass hers around, another dirt-cheap Wallaroo Trail, the white one, and finally we run out of wine.
“We’re out.” she says. She insists I have the last swig.
“Wino.” she says.
She drags me into the kitchen, where she stuffs half a bottle of Jameson in her bag, with 4 cans of PBR. We say bye to our friends and they give us these awful knowing looks like they care. You can imagine the look. We finally get out and down the stairs and into the street and she gives a sigh of relief and we both give a slight chuckle. I’m looking around for a place to go, but really I’m just following her. She takes my hand and pulls me along, with one of those heart-lipped backward glances. She squeezes my hand and finally just hooks my pinky snuggly. I try to remember the last time I held hands with a girl I wasn’t going to fuck or eat out in five minutes and I know I do a good job of making myself sound like a sweet little guy, but I can’t honest to god remember. It’s nice. And I ask her where we’re going as I shuffle around in her purse for a PBR and she says,
“Her place?”
I find one and she gives me a little kooky nod like she wants me feed her some of  the brew. I do and some drivels on her chin. She gives the most charming mouthful of a laugh. I say,
‘ Yup.’ And she gives a smiling nod, sprays a little beer at me like a fountain.

We don’t talk about writing. We don’t talk about painting. We watch late-night episodes of Cheers in the background and sip on Jameson and Coke. It’s snowing outside. I ask,
“Do you wanna go to bed now?” and she says not yet, and I like that.
“Let’s Trivial Pursuit!” she says and I nearly jizz in my pants.

An hour and a half later she’s on two slices of pie, though I admit she kind of cheated herself out of a third, and I’m on two slices of pie and we decide to break to shotgun a beer—she’s got keys dangling dangerously in her hand—at her insistence. She shotguns better than those kids I knew from Mission, BC. I say,
“Goddamn shortcake!”
And she says “I like that.” though she’s lying She says,
“You want some bacon and eggs?”
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah, I’m sure I can make you some bacon and eggs!” and she trots off into the kitchen, turns the radio on and puts on an apron with a Maine Lobster yelling KISS THE COOK STUPID! That’s a lie, it says NO GARLIC BUTTER BUDDY! But still.
I follow her in there slowly, looking at the pictures on the wall, the art pieces, which aren’t half-bad, boyfriend or not. Books on the wide moldings at eye level. She’s got some good stuff, even that crazy poetess’ book with the legs. I should get my own copy of that. I smile dumbly, but that’s ok. I can see her cracking an egg and I can tell, just by the way she’s cracking an egg, that this is going to be hysterically terrible. I’m smirking and I know it. She sees me and she says,
“What?” She smiles, with her teeth, but like so naturally. I say,
“Nothing.” She turns back to her non-stick T-Fal, bobbing her head with some mock wifedom to some tacky Mozart tune that comes on. I come up behind her and stand right there, a few inches from her butt. I’ve got my hands in my back pockets. Her hair smells like Golden Delicious apples and thrift store tweed. She just keeps bobbing her head and humming and melting her butter. I slide my arms around her where the hour pours into the future and she just let’s her head fall back slowly, her lips on my ear. She purrs. I roll my finger softly around the edge of her belly button, like a ring. She purrs some more.
“Your butter’s burning.” I say.
“Oh no. Your butter!” she says, but does nothing.

When we kiss, it’s perfect for the first time, like being a passion fruit virgin all over again. It’s like, and all good kissers can relate, finding someone who means what you mean by kissing, for the first time such a long time that it is a first time. It’s great. Like nostalgia finally relieved and beaten. We fall asleep without fucking, arm in arm, that smell in both our noses—her smell.

We wait a whole five days and when we do fuck it’s what you want it to be, which it almost never is. She comes, I come. We talk after like we’ve never spoken to someone this mind-blowing, like we’ve never spoken to anyone period. I keep thinking I want to eat her pussy like she kisses and that thought, for some reason, rings with the capitol L. I see it in her eyes too. Everyone’s happy.

A couple of weeks later we’re definitely dating. Half my clothes already looks like it’s at her place. Half her clothes already most definitely are at my place. Even my cat likes her. I took her vinyl shopping one afternoon and we just buy weird shit and stay in and get drunk and drink ourselves in. We do it regularly. Life’s the bomb. The writing is starts again and its good. The writing is her.

After about three weeks of us and our life together, I take her to a party at your house. You’ve just broken up with Ella, and you’ve moved all the way across the street. Your new roommates, Ella’s new roommate’s old roommates, are throwing you a celibacy/welcome bash. You, my friend, are drunk. I introduce you and you put up more niceness than I’m accustomed to seeing from you when you’re drunk. She goes to the bathroom and you hand me a cigarette and I say,
“Hey, why the fuck not?” and I follow you out back to the porch. I’m light-hearted. I think, ‘finally.’
You smile at me and then you say,
“What the fuck?” And I am confused, but titillated all the same. I say,
“Come again?” And then you’re telling me I already fucked her, in sophomore year. You say she’s James Olson’s old girlfriend, the girl I fucked before he did, when he asked me if I minded laying off. The one I fucked to piss him off, actually, just for the hell of it. You then say some horrible things. And then you kind of just watch patiently as it washes over me like piss. And I understand and I say,
“Oh.”
And then I realize this is what people mean. This is what they’re talking about when they say the things they say. You ask me to get us a couple of beers from the fridge and on my way back out, I catch sight of her coming out of the bathroom, looking around for me. I hand you your beer and we clink bottles. I see she’s got me in her sights, and then she’s gliding gracefully through a crowd of our peers towards us. It occurs to me that she’s especially light on her feet, like a dancer. I make a mental note of it. I can see, peripherally, you are shaking your head. Then I say,
“Don’t tell her.” And I ignore the possible meaning of the look you give me.

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