sometimes i wake in the middle of the night and sit by the window and look at the almost empty streets below and think of the girls. some nights i think of all of them, consider them individually, like counting sheep, and yes, it helps me finally return to sleep. other nights i get stuck on one or the other, or a few of them, and those nights i always sleep poorly. i know i am bad for them, or, at least, unfair with them, and so my conscience has its way with me until i get up and play some loud music on the computer or turn on the television or find a podcast on the laptop. voices, i have to have voices then to shut up my own.
the girl i had coffee with last week, i was so glad to see her, and listen to her life. it has been turning very nicely and i was happy to hear of these changes. the mood was good and i was feeling bold so i told her the secret and she was kind about it and didn't dwell. then we talked about books and making a book from a story that would then become a chapter, a final chapter at that, and then she wrote it down for me, like a diagram or like the instructions you find in a box with some toys you buy. this is how to do that her note said, and it occurred to me i wasn't making myself clear, that i wasn't talking about a toy and i didn't need he writing it out like that but kept writing and i decided i liked watching her write it out, so after not too long i said give it here and we both smiled and i put the note in my pocket and it felt a little like getting a phone number from a girl back in the day, so far back in the day, but it felt pleasant like that although in actuality it was more like a string tied around my finger so i wouldn't get lost. later, when i found myself at home and remembered the paper in my pocket, i opened my note and read: in media res — a device for starting in the action. i cried a little first. then i was angry, but i didn't know at who or what. she was only being kind.
salon girl called me yesterday and she was either faking it or she didn't know who she was calling. yes, hello, so you were in to salon on May one and i wanted to say again thank you and do you need me to set another appointment for you to come back I can do that for you right now if you would like and if you would not that is okay too and I am happy you tried the salon. it was a lousy sales call and i didn't book an appointment. listening to her bad sales talk i kept waiting for her to stop and laugh, to tell me it was just a joke her and the other girls thought up in between appointments. but nobody laughed and i think it was a very unfunny joke.
the first girl i told the secret to left in a hurry. it was only the latest in a series of disappointing tales i've told her, so i don't blame her getting out fast. she's had her own losses lately plus no one wants to hear another's bad secret, no matter how much they pry. but i was afraid i would tell no one if not her and i thought she was sturdy enough to handle it. i thought maybe it would explain some bad behavior of mine and if not make things right, at least make them sensible. now i wait and wonder if she'll ever look at me again. some people hate secrets and you'll never understand that that until you tell them one.
i sent her an email and gave her good advice. it was thoughtful and measured and from a gentleman's perspective and in exchange she wrote me back hateful comments. and some of it in caps too with very poor grammar. i thought to forget her entirely or chalk it up to some people can't help but shoot the messenger, but instead i wrote her back a correction of her email with better insults added and without the childish caps. i thought i should block her address but instead decided i can do this ad infinitum. at least as long as she will play.
this other girl and i were talking and i told her by way of explanation about my reclusive tendencies that i am not made of water like you other people but rather am made of air. when i take a walk i come back feeling changed. or maybe it is more like exchanged: some of me given away, some of the world in its place. i read once, Deepak Chopra i think, that a person exchanges roughly 90% of his molecules with the world in any given year. one can become a brand new person every 13 1/2 months. but because i am air and not water i become a new person every time i so much as take a walk. i leave part of me behind and i don't get to choose which part, i just return different. so forgive me if some days i will not risk it and only stare out the window, or draw the curtains. we are all so unlike. how can anyone begrudge me that.