Thursday, January 15, 2004

Days when you just don't know what color your pants are...

Yesterday, as part of my getting ready for work ritual, I grabbed a pair of slacks from the closet and slipped them on. Actually, with the current ascent of my weight, it seems more like I wedged myself into them. I started to say, "Looks like today I'm wearing black today," but I only got as far as, "Looks like I'm wearing bla-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!"

It was Alacrity, soft and white and filled with the glory of SATAN! I'm guessing he decided to step in my path and sit there at that moment because he hates me and wants to see me dead and wants to feast upon my eyes while working his way to my soft, juicy brain-stem... but that's just a guess. The fact remains, though, that he stepped right out in front of me and I, being the kind and gentle soul that I am, side-stepped to avoid the little fucker and fell on my ass! (Actually, I fell on my bed and bounced down onto my ass.)

It wasn't the best way to start a day.

The day was wrapped up by having a drink with Steve. Steve and I hadn't seen each other since the Christmas play and had been saying, as we so often said to each other, "We should have a beer." Last weekend, Keith and I went to TGI Fridays, where he's the manager, and again, Steve had said, "We should have a beer." This time, I said, "Oh, yeah? Like when?" He said, "How about Wednesday." And there you have it.

I'd arrived early, my limp from the morning's gymnastics nearly gone, and sat down at a booth at a bar called the "Corner Office". I was tired, more tired than I had a reason to be. But it wasn't a physical exhaustion or even an emotional one. It was the exhaustion of knowing what you thought was going to be easy won't be so easy. It was the exhaustion that comes before the trial. It was that familiar, "Oh, shit. Not again." kinda feeling. In short, I felt like Wile E. Coyote... just catching sight of the boulder.

Karrie has been diagnosed with an abdominal cyst, which has two tumors. Cancer. Karrie and I had talked a lot about it. She had cancer at a very young age, had suffered a bout several years ago, and here were more tumors. Benign or Malignant, she won't know until after they're removed and they will be removed. I find me asking myself, "Do I want to date a cancer patient?" She's not a cancer patient, yet, but she will be. Eventually, she will be. I saw what Sean went through with Megan's leukemia. Do I want to do that? Shouldn't I run now while I have a chance? The tumors could be benign and it could be nothing. How long do I wait? What am I doing to myself?

But I won't cut and run. Turns out I like her. What's that mean? I don't know. I don't love her. I'm not thinking about marrying her. But she's a very nice lady and someone with whom I enjoy spending time. For that, I can at least wait for a complete diagnosis.

Steve came to the table, breaking me from my reverie. He was late but insisted that he was early and had been waiting for me outside. He'd waited through half of my beer. He ordered one and some nachos and we started talking. We only had about an hour, better catch up quick. We discussed homes, his hopes of buying one and my experiences with the same. We talked about girls, his fiancé, Karrie, and just girls we wanted to have sex with. Before long, the topic turned to theater and movies, acting, writing and directing. He told me about projects he has coming up and I waffled about whatever I'll be doing soon. At one point, as I told him about a comedy idea I had, he tactlessly mentioned how he felt my comedy skills were lacking. Well, that put the brakes on. I mean, I knew he didn't think I was funny. He'd directed two of my staged readings but I never felt he looked at me like a comedy GOD. Rather, I was, to him, just funny enough. No threat, as it were. Of course, he'd never said it.

What did we have to save us from that conversational sinkhole? My mind was racing - I should have ordered more booze. Surely, there must be something to say instead of looking at Steve with his "Did I say that," look on his face and he look at my "Yes, in fact, you did," look.

Desperate for anything, he mentioned Rosa. Why did he have to mention Rosa? I kind of made a decision after her last email to stop dwelling... and he wanted to know everything - everything that had happened in the past few months. So... I dwelled. I told him about the baby, the letter, the last email, and I said, as I've grown so good at saying, "I just gotta move on, you know? It's over. I know it's over." Inside me, a void. The place where my heart was. Aching. Bleeding. I don't want to move on. I want my Rosa.

Suddenly, it was after 9pm. The nachos were done and the beer was drank and Steve had to go home. We walked to our cars. We embraced. We drove our separate ways.

I didn't feel good at all. The whole way home, I felt feverish. I sat outside on a stairwell for a long time, smoking and watching the stars and thinking about Rosa. So many times, I had told her that I would love her forever. As painful as it may be, that's turning out to be not too far from the truth.

I got into bed, my skin hot with regret and didn't care about the covers or the morning or my life, and fell right to sleep.

I didn't want to wake up this morning, but when do I ever? I dropped the toothbrush as I was brushing my teeth. Bando licked the soy milk in my cereal bowl before I could stop him. (Did I toss the milk? Hell, no!) I showered but didn't have time to shave (when do I?), grabbed a bunch of clothes and was off to work.

Shortly after arriving, I heard a rumor about Beatrice. I'd stolen Beatrice's name for my second play, Atheists, long before I'd met her, stealing it from the corporate directory. When I met her, she was more beautiful that the character I'd written for the play. I asked her to have lunch with me and agreed. By the next day, however, she'd spoken with those who don't like me here and she claimed to be busy and then wouldn't even talk to me. It seemed, she believed the lies that were spread. That was two years ago. A lot has changed since then. Turns out, Beatrice is engaged to a lowlife looser... and I'm better looking than him! Serves her right.

Hopefully, things will turn out.

At lunch, I sat with my crackers and my autobiography of Neil Simon, chuckling and reading. A young girl, Yeni, walked into the break room and said "Hi." I, politely, returned her greeting. It wasn't just a greeting, though. She kept talking. "Are you reading? I hate reading. You have to sit there and make sense of it. But you're a writer so I guess you have to read to read what you write. I don't like writing because I don't want to have to read it so I don't write." And on and on. Oh, she's adorable with a great body but, for my money, I'll wish her a happy future with as few books as possible. So, we made small talk about our jobs when in walked Gaelle.

Gaelle, as you know, is my heart's desire (just after Rosa), who is engaged to be married. So, she's off limits. She started talking to me, too and I felt vaguely like Hugh Hefner. After a while, she said, "Nisha and I are going to lunch tomorrow. Why don't you come with us? We can talk and catch up." Catch up? Catch up on what? On your engagement? On your radiant smile? Oh, I'll probably go and jibber-jabber. A lot has changed at my job and, after being branded a sexual harasser though I didn't do anything, I can once again socialize with my fellow employees without them thinking I'm lusting after them... even when I may be, just like any other guy.

Soon, they left. I returned to my book. I propped up my feet, looked at the sky, looked at my shoes, looked at my pants... what color is that, I wondered. I kept looking. I had no idea. My pants were probably brown once but they'd been washed so many times they've shifted from brown to gray to... dirt. They were the color of dirt. I was wearing dirt pants... dirty pants.

Oh, I've got to throw these out, I thought.

Some things haven't changed.

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