It is a real nice night, as my father's mother would say on some porch with some tumbler in her arthritic fingers. I know this not because a window is open--it's too cold for that--but because I can just tell, the way that the night is smudging itself against my dirty windowpanes, and reflecting against its darkness all the several lamps in my livingroom. I've cleaned up after weeks of filthiness (mostly because this fucking erotic fiction project has sapped the life out of me; you'd think it was easy and you'd be thinking wrong!) and everything looks so much bigger and ampler and more glowing. I put some bookcases in the places where they belonged. And the walls they are as silver and the floors they are as pale gold. Where have I read that? Some book or genre of stories where they polished the floors to look like pale gold; probably some book full of ascetic heroines.
So I'm working, and in trouble vis a vis my deadline, and dead tired, and held up by the scruff of my neck with blackberry tea, but yes the night is beautiful and yes I have a little rabbit-head hanging from a knob on my dresser and hanging from the rabbit-head is a little silk sack of Cadbury mini-eggs, the most delicious candy in the entire world. Had I been little Edmund the White Witch would have offered them to me. This little sack means that Easter, at home with my maman & my daddy, was good & fruitful, and the weather was good, although I never left the house because I was up to my neck in quiches and berry tarts with lime-flavored custard in them. It is always very nice to see my family. Grandmaman (Dot, the maternal one) appeared as she does, wearing a rose-pink silk suit, carrying little French eggs filled with chocolate. She made polite conversation with one of my father's colleagues from the University & the colleague's mother, who was too gentle to understand that Dottie is kind of wicked. Eowyn's family did not deign to cross our threshold, but ate lamb & twice-baked potatoes in their house on a hill with other members of Daddy's family. I held secret hands on the back-stairs with that family friend I'm kind of in love with, and held my cheek quietly against his lovely shaved cheek, and didn't tell him my troubles but talked to him quietly about the Iliad, and gave him a little paper bag of croissants to carry home with him when he left. Perhaps it would be best if I moved back home and married him, but who knows if we would actually like each other if we saw each other more than three times a year.
The troublesome important thing now is to plan a baby shower for the IR, which really should be done somewhere pretty crazy where all her slutty artistic friends could get good and drunk, or maybe at some brunch place where they can pretend to be sophisticated. I'm actually leaning towards renting a little beach-house for a weekend and making everyone go there in May and go fishing and sit around rubbing the IR's tummy, which is starting to be huge. There's one place I found with a vernal pond & flowering trees everywhere, and possibly some otters. The IR does not know the sex of her baby. She is sure that it will be a girl, though, and insists that if it is a boy she will call him Vertumnus because some guy she met on the street suggested it. A girl of course will be Isadora, and her middle name will possibly be Milk.
First of all, if you want to know what I did on Sunday night, click here. I don't chew my cud twice.
Second of all, I had an eventful weekend, largely pleasant, occasionally harrowing. I was getting over a terrible cold that I got when I allowed a sick friend to cook me some tofu, and so mostly I lay around and mucillaged little religious scraps to the lid of a box, and sucked on the end of a pencil and looked pensive, and pretended that I did not promise the editor of a small publishing house specializing in erotic science fiction that I would write them a tiny novella in which Anais Nin, Bruce Campbell, and Sir Francis Drake would figure prominently. I also strummed indolently on this weird dulcimer that got left at my house the last time I had a big party.
On Saturday, after a lot of strumming and coughing and pencil-sucking, I went to a party hosted by some of Cromwell's literary friends, and Cromwell took a shower at my house first, which I thought was funny, but also nice, because I aim to be useful. At the party I hung around awkwardly and talked to a lot of scrawny interesting Harvard graduates & a couple of vapid girls and a very nice girl I knew pretty well from going to Bulgarian dance clubs with her and dancing with the same insane dervish as she did, who came very close to ripping my cardigan several times as he threw me against the floor and clawed me back up to my feet. I think she started dating him or something but now she wants to get into dating women. I don't know how one goes about dating women. I told her I would ask around amongst the lesbians I know but I only really knew about Iola and her stripper friends, with all their purple lipstick, and then some women I went to high school with.
Anyway, eventually it was 3 AM & I was unready to go to bed, but Cromwell had left with some sweet girl with kind of a mullet or shag or something and a cute T-shirt, and my other friend, Tess, was leaving too. I would have left with her, except that she wasn't walking anywhere in the direction of my apartment, and it was late, and I lived too close to get a cab, but too far to feel comfortable walking it alone in a paisley-patterned party dress and fishnet stockings and a pair of black shoes with holes in the soles. Of course what ended up happening was that I found someone who lived near my apartment to walk home with & for some reason he decided it was necessary that he kiss me, and I disagreed, and we had a lively debate about it for two hours in front of a third-rate Italian ice restaurant. Much logic was used that was very questionable, and many terrible hypotheticals were brought forth, and also we played hopscotch. He was very nice and spoke with a kind of inoffensive lisp like Crispin Glover in Back to the Future. He knew a lot about Ikea and the different names of all of the furniture lines there, and he persisted in calling me "foxy." I asked him to explain what specifically about me was foxy, and he said I had "very regular features."
This, dear reader, is where this guy wins. Regular features don't sound very poetic, but they're at the core of classic beauty, and if I have them Stephen has no right to say I'm not objectively beautiful. It's like saying a triangle with a 90-degree angle in it isn't objectively a right triangle. Right? Right? I rewarded Andy with a delighted smile and a masculine handshake, and the next day I looked at myself in the mirror and grinned a nice symmetrical smile. It was a ridiculously sunny day, so I put on a red linen sundress and little red sandals and a pair of enormous sunglasses and brought my research (Delta of Venus and a new essay on Sir Francis D. by some eminent historian) to the park, and read of privateers and privates under a little pink-blossomed tree, and felt pretty happy and pretty productive and pretty pretty.
Of course you know what happened. After I had packed up my things, and freshened my lipstick, and put on a little pearled cardigan against the cooling breeze, and was walking airily past some wrought-iron gate and some stone cougar, a hand caught my wrist and I was spun around and my name was pronounced and it was Stephen, carrying a thick book and wearing a newsboy hat and absurdly wheeling a bicycle.
"I'm so happy to have run into you!" he said.
Behind my closed mouth, I licked my teeth clean of lipstick. "Yes, I'm sure you are," I said.
He said it was wonderful to see me and why wouldn't I return his phone calls? I laughed gaily and made some gesture with my hand in the air. He looked very, very, very handsome, which I resented enormously.
He said that it was really necessary that I come and have a cup of coffee with him. I said I would take a walk around the edge of the park, if he wanted, and that I didn't really drink coffee, so we did, and he insisted upon holding my hand, and I resisted, but it seemed very natural to walk around with him and I allowed him to fasten blossoms of all shapes and colors in my hair and in the buttons of my cardigan and to pass his hand possessively across my shoulderblades and to recite little cryptic verses. I allowed this because I was thinking about my regular features and how irreproachably, incontestably regular they were. I decided he must have finally realized I was beautiful, because he was staring at me kind of worshipfully and grinning with pleasure when I screwed up the regular corner of my regular little red mouth or when I fluttered my regular eyelids or wrinkled my regular nose. Therefore I permitted him to buy me a large milky tea in a cafe, and eventually I looked the other way when he was vaguely playing with my hands, which lay mostly flat on the table near his. It was very nice & sent little secret thrills up to my shoulders.
"So this guy I met last night says I have regular features," I announced.
"Well, you certainly do," said Stephen affectionately, reaching across the table to sort of pluck at my nose.
"You know, regular like in a Jane Austen novel, like pleasing and harmonious."
"Yes, I know what that means, I've read a couple of books," he said, and chuckled, and squeezed my hands.
"So you admit," I said triumphantly, "that I am not objectively unbeautiful."
"Oh, geez. Are you still thinking about that?" he said.
I said I was.
"Listen, I really thought that maybe now you could handle the fact that I adore you totally even though you're not beautiful," he said. "You need to stop thinking of love in terms of beauty, it's just unhealthy."
I spat into his coffee cup and walked out, leaving lots of little petals in my wake.
There is no accounting for taste.
I really can't accept the fact that enormously fat snowflakes are falling at triple speed outside of my window this afternoon. I demand a refund. Yes, I did rebuke my French-businesswoman friend Jennyfer for complaining about the prospect of snow last night, as she carefully placed a pair of buff-colored suede pumps with needle-sharp toes into her Herve Chapelier handbag & grimly tied a pair of duck boots to her dainty tootsies, all the while cursing elegantly in French; yes, I answered her grumbling by telling her that there was historical precedent for snow in April. But I wasn't in America when it last snowed in April, in 1996. I was in London, getting the English office of my phone sex enterprise off the ground, and walking amongst the daffodils wearing a little black jacket with leopard-print cuffs & a pair of jet-black cigarette pants. I only knew about the snow because the MB sent long letters about how it had ruined her Easter. So really I was not prepared for this.
Meanwhile, http://www.weather.com is waxing poetic about Old Man Winter waving his hands & drawing cabalistic symbols in the snow; also they are saying things like this:
Over the Southeast tomorrow, cloudbursts and scattered severe thunderstorms will erupt in a witch's' brew of trouble.
You're my witch's brew of trouble, baby.
The worst thing one could possibly do, I think, on April Fool's Day, is tell everyone exactly what is going on in a series of sentences containing precisely one negative concept. More than one negative concept would not be confusing at all, since double negatives, etc would certainly not come into play, and would never leave the reader wondering whether "Mrs Jackson peed on a green sweater in a hot room" really meant that Mrs Jackson did not pee at all, or that Mrs Jackson peed but on a red sweater in a cold room, or that it was Mr Jackson and not Mrs Jackson who peed, or perhaps that really it was Mr Noskcaj who did not pee on a red sweater in a cold outdoor area, or perhaps pee is meant to be an opposite of some kind, so really what they mean is that Mr Noskcaj did not drink under several red skirts (or brassieres?) in some frigid marshes. All of this is a picnic to understand, so we will not limit ourselves to honoring today's dubious holiday with one negative concept per sentence, by which I don't mean per clause.
But it does seem inappropriate to bring everyone up-to-date on the fantastical workings of my life on a day that celebrates farce: things, while not in the least tragic, have been nothing to laugh at these days. To begin with, there is all this peace business, which in its terrifying ridiculousness is nothing at all like some kind of grand guignol all gushing with blood, and there are these pundits in magazines asking frankly disingenuous questions (like this one from the New Yorker: "When did Bush decide that he had to fight Saddam?") that it certainly had NEVER occured to me to ask in January of 2002. January 2002 was when the Axis of Blessedness was dreamed up and slipped into our morning oatmeal like a little vitamin tablet or a soupcon of arsenic. Anyway, I didn't do any marching in the brilliant sun that followed the train of blizzards like a lamb after the proverbial lion, and the Misnomered Brunette did not impress me with her tales of being threatened in California by the brutal hooves of establishment horses, and I am entirely certain about how useful being threatened by horses is for bringing about world peace.
This is not getting tiresome at all, but anyway, I have been mostly morose & unoccupied by work projects & anthropological investigations, and have not been learning to move through the park in my neighborhood like a hamadryad, & have hated the taste of my own sweat on my lip after one afternoon of hamadryading & have been given good dinners by Cromwell & his father & brother complete with little bowls of olives and wine and movies with empurpled titles about ice-nymphs and the lovely company of two complementary additional friends from college w/ whom we walked along a real live misty evening river across from a metropolis, and have not also at Cromwell's house met his new (finally) girlfriend in all her blonde angles and 80s black prom dress and also thrown enormous rubber balls across the room as if it were a real live gymnasium. And I have not entertained my sainted mother for almost a week & allowed her to clean up after me and conduct me to her friends' townhouses where I have been fed fennel and cheese grits and been entertained by sweet & ludicrous six-year-old twin boys. Who did not set the biological clock gently chiming. Which means that I really shouldn't be over that business with Stephen, but I am, and I won't tell you why:
The bastard refuses to call me. He really did lose my telephone number, even though he told me that night (the night when we didn't have wild, pre-marital, post-marital, unmarital sexual relations) that he had not lost it, and I know this because I have not received a single telephone call from him. Not a series of calls, messages on my voicemail, et cetera et cetera, alternately pleading & funny & ironic & drily reasoning & tender & sexy & vulnerable. And when I don't hang up on him, he doesn't call back. And he does not insist that I'm overreacting to what he says, and he most certainly doesn't tell me that there is really something between us that is crystalline & yet dynamic & electric and that he can't help thinking about me when he does almost anything. And this hasn't changed at all: he has started calling a little bit more lately but only recently. And he did not somehow get Eunice to tell him my address and send a huge fucking bunch of peonies to my apartment. I know exactly what's going on.
I've never used the above method before to usher in my own personal opposite day, and it has never ended in disaster, so if you don't understand then neither do I.
Entirely related to my odd romantic anguish is my new interest in Bikini Kill, & even more related is my horrible shameful passion for that Heather Nova song from the earlyish nineties, which was not powerful when I was almost sleeping with pale skinny nervous athletic recruits in college.
the beginning of this one, for now.