Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Know Who You Are at Every Age

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Cindy Sherman

Not Sonya's story yet, but a little flashback to 1987. Some stories I forgot to tell...

I never thought I would forget her name. I never thought to write it down, because I never thought I would need to. I spent time with her almost everyday that summer of '87, and now she's only a fleeting memory; a collage of fragments: her black hair, her beautiful smile, her green eyes, and lovely skin. Try as I might, I can't put the pieces of her back together.
She worked at Ringo-Levio, and I met her there, because I went there twice a week. I sometimes bought things, but the things I really liked were too expensive. She would tell me when a sale was coming up, and put stuff aside for me. I eventually started going just so I could hang out with her. Sometimes we had lunch, but usually we stood outside and smoked.
She was also an au pair, and would bring the kids to the salon with her for a visit. She visited almost everyday.
The kids were gorgeous and perfect, and I would stare at them and imagine their futures: I got my acceptance for Cornell, today...I'm moving into Grandma's co-op on 52nd...
The kid's aura of wealth and security was palpable, and so was hers. I often fantasized we might share a life together, me as a struggling writer/fashion designer, and her working her way to a degree in art, and the modest apartment we would share in Paris, her parents paying our rent.
I wish I could be this person, I thought to myself, I wish I could trust myself enough to be in a relationship with her, knowing it wouldn't blow up into a mess of tears and accusations five years from now, when she caught me looking at yet another man's ass, exclaiming But honey, I love you for who you are, for the millionth time. Was that enough for her? Should she have more? Was that enough for me? I doubted it.

I still run those little scenarios in my head all the time with everyone I interact with throughout my day; introducing my parents to the ugly checker at the grocer, planning our second anniversary with the pretty blond pedestrian in front of me, or looking for condos with the shady looking guy fulfilling his community service.
Wouldn't that be funny if that really happened? I think to myself. My imagination has no sexual preference, it seems.

One day she was missing from Ringo-Levio, because she had to go to the hospital unexpectedly.
What happened? I said to a co worker.
She inhaled the back of her nose-ring.
Is she ok? I asked.
Um, I guess. He said, non-plussed, and mad he had to take over her shift.
The next day she told me the doctor couldn't take it out, it had to stay there forever. I thought of the little gold back, languishing in her tertiary bronchi like a pirate's lost treasure, never to be seen again.
She brought me soup when I was sick, and old copies of Face magazine, and even though she sensed my attraction to her, she also brought me Dale...

One gloomy hung-over morning, a young chap in a fedora was lurking about the sidewalk in front of Roma's, the greasy spoon across the street from my salon.
Oh my God, oh my God, I can hear it slamming! I was in a panic. Why? Why is this happening! I thought to myself. I saw it slam shut, I heard it slam shut. I was pacing around the salon, not knowing what to do, hoping he was seeing me freak out, and changing his mind about getting his haircut that morning. But no, he came in.
The girl from Ringo-Levio sent Dale to me, thinking we would hit it off. He walked in and took off his hat to reveal a bright shock of strawberry blond hair, and with a big smile he said Hi I'm Dale, you must be Brian!
I knew never in a million years would he go out with me. I knew the part of my life where I had intimate relationships was over for a while. I knew that because I heard the doors to my love life slamming shut, and a distant, echoey voice saying this is going to take sometime; I'm closing these doors, hopefully I'll be back and we'll see what we can do....
After I washed his hair, I said So, do you like the new Depeche Mode? Let's have a black celebration, ha ha. After he left, I cried.
I was right, too. I didn't have my next real relationship (if you can call it that- what a mess that was) until 1993. Looking back, I think it was my subconscious trying to tell me I needed a different approach when I came to relationships. I was extremely attracted to Dale, but too much of my last two relationships had been built around attraction, and they didn't really go anywhere; well they went somewhere, just not very far, and I really wanted to 'go the distance'. I guess this means be careful what you wish for...or at least be certain.


Sarah said...

Okay, so I'm no longer toying with the idea of getting my nose pierced.

Aaron said...

Whoever she is, she sounds like a lovely person!