There was the late afternoon summer storm that is becoming the norm around here, and it only sort of destroyed the party I was at for our market, forcing us all inside the garage to eat chips and drink wine (and have the very not so enjoyable experience of drinking chip-flavored wine.) I feel a bit disassociated from it and the people since there was a whole troupe of young people who are down in our area and volunteering whilst part of a church group. They are labor and polite and everyone is charmed by them, and meanwhile I have been skipping the market. I’ve been dealing with my own garbage and I’ve been ripping myself apart. This is all unbeknownst to them. I am quiet because I am quiet and that is where I like to leave it.
So while I standing there in my awkward outfit, with my stringy hair and basically unmade-up face and trying to decide how tacky it would be to use my fingers to fish this tortilla chip out of my plastic wine cup, it should be diverting dramatic irony for you to imagine that at this walks the handsome doctor volunteer, soaked by the sudden downpour. Mr. Darcy, mutton chops and all. Well, a sort of bony, aquiline Mr. Darcy in a t-shirt for a brewery once he finally strips off his sodden jacket. He’s carrying a bag of tortilla chips.
Just as suddenly as he appears do my ovaries start to awaken and jolt in some kind of libidotrophic exodus straight through my belly. I realize and reckon how really terrible my face is. Since my friend who had the accident last year has moved away to Texas, I had sort of assumed that the best to hope for from the evening was barbeque ribs. And after the power went out this morning – oh, huzzah for random brownouts – I took my makeup bag to work thinking I’d find time to stop and shellac my face. That time never came. I took that opportunity to berate myself for letting myself get into this weird pattern of depression, this summer monsoon of the spirit, and tried to not stare at him too much.
He drank beer and smiled genially. Apparently, he’s a nice guy. I got blocked in at the table and as much as I tried to make an effort, there was no speaking to him even if I pulled out my best so fucking what if I look like shit devil-may-care attitude. Instead, he was talking to the daughter of a friend, a girl who I support and value because I see something of myself in that she’s been thrust into puberty at a very young age and it’s undermined her in some ways, and suddenly, I’m a jealous, fretful wreck. 2 minutes. Don’t know this guy’s name or story. I just know, because I see perhaps 1 every 10 days, that he’s alive. He’s about my age or within a decade and seems to be unmarried. I eat my ribs and side-eye him for talking with this teenager who flirts so naturally and sweetly and for not throwing himself at me and for turning up with me at my worst. I try to hear what he’s saying. I can’t. I can’t turn my head and stare at him without it becoming blatant and discomfiting for us both.
I fucking hate that response. Makes me feel cheap and useless all at once.
I double check he’s not wearing a wedding ring. What the hell do I want with this guy? Why do I think he should take my hand and we should find a closet? Who is he? Why is he here? Why do I find his movie references both juvenile but refreshing? Why am I trying to laugh at his jokes from across the room? Why can I not just ask, oh say, anyone…who the hell he is?
Instead, I retreat into the story, into the girl and the boy and their shadows, I’m commandeered by their emotions and so I let myself stop trying to seduce with this sack of potatoes I call a self. Aloof and distracted and waiting for someone off-screen, Dr. Mr. Darcy doesn’t chase after me into the rain.
But, the rain had stopped well before I left to go home, and driving out I saw three brown rabbits. Good symbols for me. One was settled in the middle of the road and was not fussed when I drove up to it, rolled down the windows and yelled in the night “You’d probably live a lot longer if you got out of the street.”