Every Little Thing She Does

Posted on Monday 1 September 2008

In my case, to quote Sting, it hardly feels like magic.

I wonder how it is that of the few people I have befriended down here, I have met the huge majority of them–not in ethereal, incongruous and magical close encounters–but instead, hanging out at my beach bar. Yes, even the boy figures in that mix. Because through him, in spite of him, I have become oddly close to those I might otherwise never have known–but for him. God, what kind of twisted acknowledgement is that about why we cross paths with others, no matter how painful the immediate contact and the ultimate outcome. If a greater good results from pain, does that make it worthwhile? Okay? Profoundly necessary?

Maybe it is magic.

Consider, for example, today’s beach bar breakfast. To go or not to go? The boy, I had heard at the last minute, was supposed to show up with his new girlfriend. Hence, the dilemma I faced, the decision I had to make. No one, absolutely no one, was around to help me figure out which was the best action to take. So, I simply made the decision on my own.

Just go.

Because the GM had asked me days ago to bring fresh orange juice. Because it was the last breakfast for the foreseeable future. Because, damn it, I was personally invited and asked to bring the juice, and pushing past the boy and his new supposed girlfriend was another necessary hurdle I had to successfully overcome.

So, I went.

Because, as it turned out, the boy didn’t bring the new girlfriend. Instead he surprised me from behind, poking my sides in that obnoxious tickling motion that is nothing more than an annoyingly passive gesture that reeks of “Ha! Gottcha!”

Chit chat followed. I tried to conjure up something that resembled an intense feeling as he droned on and on about his work, his travel–him. I couldn’t. When the chit chat ended, and soon thereafter the breakfast, I replayed every word, readying myself to feel the familiar kick-in-the-stomach angst, the surge of sadness, the mournful moroseness.

Still, I couldn’t. Believe me, I gave it my all. Once I was home, I played every sad iTunes song on my computer. I gazed into my pup’s peaceful eyes and stroked her chin. I wandered to the beach and back in a roaring wind just to feel the sting of the sand on my bare arms and legs.

As I got ready for work, I tried to sob in the shower. As I drove to work, I played “Sad Lisa” by Cat Stevens on the only CD that forever lives in Bunny the Rabbit’s CD player.

Nothing worked. Instead, I only felt…a little like giggling.

Given, the giggle I allowed myself was a giggle in a shaking-my-head-at-myself giggling kind of way. But a giggle is a giggle. I then smiled for quite a while, still shaking my head.

Tonight, as I do every Sunday, I took myself to my beach bar after my late night at work. As I do every Sunday, I allowed myself only one glass of wine (okay, maybe a glass and a half since the Sunday bartender always tops it off). And as has become a part of this Sunday ritual, the friend of the boy who is now a very dear friend of mine, was there to welcome me first, to ask me how work went. Only tonight, as opposed to any other night we have practiced this ritual, he was many, many sheets and comforters and God knows what else to the wind.

Still, he made me laugh. He reminded me in his drunk talk that I am as dear a pal to him as he is to me. He reminded me that he knows me more than most do, that he gets me–as little as I am willing to admit that he knows me all that well at all. As drunk as he was.

Still, he made me laugh even more as he recited chapter title ideas for my book because, he said, “You are writing a book, aren’t you?” They were actually good ideas. I hope I remember them.

He then reminded me of something I had said to him early on after we had met, when I had been ditched by the boy only days before, and this boy’s pal wouldn’t allow me to sit alone at the beach bar.

“Which should be the title of your book, if you ask me, and I think you did ask me, right?” he laughed. As drunk as he was.

“No, no,” I laughed. “That phrase is way too negative.” And I shared some other working titles with him.

“Yeah, but that one line, that time you said it–it says it all. It pretty much sums up life here in South Florida.”

“Nah,” I told him. “My book title needs to be more positive, hopeful, magical.”

“What? You mean, ‘I Don’t Think I Like This So Much Anymore’ isn’t a great book title?”

“Actually, it probably is a great one,” I smiled at him, steading him with my hand on his arm so he was almost balanced on the barstool next to mine. “It’s just not, well, all there is to it all now. You know?”

He looked at me for a moment. And another. Maybe he would remember this conversation. Maybe he wouldn’t. As drunk as he was.

“Oh, I think that phrase can be applied to just about everything for any one of us,” he finally said.

“Maybe,” I smiled, my hand still on his arm. “But so much else is at stake. On the edge. Getting ready to happen.”

I fished a handful of ones out of my purse and placed them on the bar. It was time for me to head home.

“I’ll walk you to your car,” my pal slurred. But I already knew that it would be I who was walking him down the street to his apartment parking lot.

“I still think that’s the name of your book,” he said as we made our way slowly down the steps from the beach bar.

“It’s a chapter, for sure,” I said, linking my arm through his as we swayed in step to his halting gait along the sidewalk. “It’s just not all it is for me anymore.”

Because through every little thing I do and think that ends in a smile and not in tears, through every person I finally welcome into my home for a mediocre home-cooked dinner that results in a wonderful evening despite my cooking, through every drunk but honest give-and-take I have with an honest and decent friend at my beach bar, the tiniest bit of magic suddenly emerges, sparkling and dancing in my midst, hovering just for a moment so that I can almost touch it, before it dissipates just as suddenly into the ocean air.

One of these days, I will really believe that it really is the little things I do, the little steps I take during the hardest of times, the little moments I spend with a drunk but very real friend that makes the magic. When I wake up on that day, it will be nothing short of magical.

7 Comments for 'Every Little Thing She Does'

  1.  
    September 1, 2008 | 10:22 am
     

    That’s one fine middle-of-the-night piece of writing, RG …. It’s a perfect description of one of those moments we’re occasionally lucky enough to have — when it feels like all is right with the world …

  2.  
    September 1, 2008 | 10:39 am
     

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  3.  
    September 1, 2008 | 6:28 pm
     

    I so need to visit.

  4.  
    Restaurant Gal
    September 1, 2008 | 11:09 pm
     

    Mary–Thank you! And indeed, sometimes, even if only for a moment, all is good.

    Kim–:)

    Namaste–Yes, you really do. Just wait ’till after hurricane season! Actually, if Hanna and Ike become a problem, I may be visiting you, sooner rather than later.

  5.  
    Joe
    September 2, 2008 | 10:34 am
     

    I’m glad to see you are in a good place!

  6.  
    September 2, 2008 | 3:43 pm
     

    We need a break. A night to tear ass in town. When ya coming down again? ๐Ÿ™‚

  7.  
    September 3, 2008 | 1:32 pm
     

    WONderful!
    Thank you.

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