Friday, October 27, 2023

The Stories We Tell

Two people are at the same event.  Their experiences are different.  They write their tales, but they sound nothing alike.  What's going on? 

We know the world narratively.  "Throughout the ages," as so many student essays begin, cultures have developed narratives of how they came about, who they are.  Call them origin stories, call them myths. . . no matter.  Two people living in the same house with different narratives.  I did that.  Then it ended.  The stories we told sounded nothing alike.  Neither of us lied.  Much of the narrative is what we choose to leave out.  Two peoples living in the same land.  Different narratives.  Call it the Middle East.  Many people from different cultures living in the same land without a common myth.  Call it U.S.A.

That is what was niggling at my pea-sized brain as I was driving to meet Sky for breakfast.  We were going to that place I said was soooooo great.  It was going to be the last time I got to see her for awhile.  One never knows.  It could be a minute, it could be years.  It's been like that for a very long time.  

I was breaking my routine.  I showered before I went to meet her.  It occurred to me that I haven't showered in the morning for many years now, not since I was working.  It felt oddly good.  The gym could wait.  

We sat at an outside table.  Our waitress came over to take our order.  When our order arrived, it was all wrong.  Not all.  A lot.  I was miffed.  I had touted the place and now. . . . 

"Settle down, boo.  It's breakfast.  It's fine."

Three hours later, the place was serving lunch.  Sky looked at her watch.  She had to get on the road.  She had things to attend to.  We walked to the parking lot.  

Yea, yea, yea.  I'll spare you.  

I got a call.  The tenant thought she might have meningitis.  She was going to a walk-in clinic to get checked.  

Back home, I lay down for a nap.  There was a knock at the door.  It was Mr. Tree.  He had come to tell me his good news.  His Cuban fiancé had gotten permission to come to the U.S.  He wanted to tell me right away.  I congratulated him.  We would have to go to Cuba, he said.  He would arrange the chicas.  I would have a good time.  

The day was feeling strange.  I was walking in the void.  

I went to the gym at three.  The nice woman at the desk said, "You're late.  All your buddies are gone."

"Good," I laughed.  "This should go quickly."

It did.  It was time for mom.  

After the visit, I went to the grocery store.  I haven't been all week.  My cupboards were bare.  I have not wanted to cook for awhile now, but it was time to get back to healthy living.  I bought everything I needed to make dinner and more.  

When I got home, I decided to relax for a moment on the deck.  The cat had come.  A Campari and a cheroot.  I took everything to the glass table.  What was this?  There were two cards and a jar of Marcona almonds.  WTF?  Sky!  The almonds are one of our little pleasures.  I was stunned.  She had dropped them off on her way home.  I sat for a minute not touching them.  I sipped my drink and thought for a bit, just basking in the moment.  I wanted the feeling to linger.  Then I read the cards. . .  and wept.  She had quoted back to me something I had written to her a long time ago.  It is all part of the story we tell, our narrative.  

I decided to soak in the tub and get clean before dinner, but by the time I was done, it was late and I didn't want to cook.  I put away the "fixiins" and pulled out an Amy's frozen dinner, some Asian noodle thing.  I added garlic and canned chicken and sprinkled it with Teriyaki sauce.  

While I was preparing everything, Q called from NYC.  He had texted me photos of his dinner at a place famous for its hamburgers.  Au Cheval.  A burger and a bottle of wine.  

Now he was out on the street with his camera.  He was jazzed.  

"God this city is great.  Everywhere you look. . . .  You need to come up."

I'll try.  It sounds like fun, of course.  I'll need to rearrange some things.  Sky insists I NEED to go.  So does everyone.  

I ate my dinner.  I drank some scotch.  I watched t.v.  The tenant called to tell me the results of her walk-in visit.  It was the typical horror show, of course.  They told her what she didn't have.  

It was time for bed.  I picked up the cards that Sky had left.  I repressed an urge.  

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."  

Life goes on.

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