“So, alright, I just talked to my dad and he’s broke off the engagement with the gold digger after 3 years, thank God, and now he’s dating a woman he met on the internet. The highlights: she’s from Malaysia, so she’s Asian, and, uh, she works for I, I, MIT something blah blah blah something out there, anyways, she’s got a good job so I guess the point is she’s not a gold digger and she’s probably smart and she’s Asian, so I, I guess I’m supposed to, uh, accept that my dad has no type whatsoever, because he’s all over the board. I highly doubt that she has big huge giant tits like, uh, whatever, but she doesn’t like her real name – I can’t even pronounce it – so she asked him to call her something else, and she’s decided she wants to be called Angel, which, sorry, makes me think of strippers more than anything because I know a lot of strippers that go by Angel, so, I thought that was funny and, um, I have no idea how old she is or anything, I just find this amusing. I am kind of glad to be rid of the gold digger but, um, but uh, she already did a lot of damage, so hopefully, hopefully this new girl will allow my dad to recover a little bit financially. So anyway. My life is just hysterical. Like all of the time, really. I know you have a lot to write about, but if you ever run out, if you ever run out, just call me.”
I’m listening to the phone with my left ear when it whispers in my right ear.
That wet worst-kept secret we normally do in a toilet? There’s a guy doing it off a balcony. Just out of range, thank every god of every religion. I tell my phone companion; he isn’t offended: “Of course, I’ve done it before. Stroll to the edge, check for pedestrians, unzip the pants, look at the moon and take a leak.”
“I’ve never done it.”
But I have pissed on a Staten Island street corner. It was 3am. No one was around. Urgent burn dissolving into dreamy relief.
“Are you enjoying yourself this evening?” I ask.
“Oh, hmmm, well…” his voice sounds like a feather boa, coquettish, ticklish.
The cold makes my muscles marble, then makes them throb. I wish I was indoors, drinking with him. Or just indoors. Or just drinking. Alcohol is a good criminal defense lawyer that represents us to ourselves as misunderstood, well-intentioned, promising. We are just fine, we have always been fine, we will always be fine. It’s a life sentence.
“I worry about you,” I say.
“Don’t worry, pray.”
“Hello, friend.” She says, and suddenly her soul reaches into mine, gropes around for the naked mole rat of insecurity, snatches it with swift tenderness, bathes it, dabs it with cologne, and wraps it in a fur coat before returning it.
This is a customary greeting, and yet I can’t recover from it any quicker now than from the first time I met her. So I look into her eyes, like those of a vintage Italian Barbie, only infinitely more beautiful and friendly. They’re always mid-wink – perhaps her eyelids are trying to shield me from the blinding light within. (Isn’t that an inedible sentiment.) Or maybe she just smiles a lot.
“Everyone was hoping you’d get here soon,” she says, squeezing my arm like she’s taking my blood pressure. We’re in front of her friends, many of whom I wouldn’t like if she didn’t like them. She is transfixed by them, as though they are beautiful phenomena. I find myself appreciating people through her. I turn to ask her a question but she is gone. I look around the room. There she is. By the front door, introducing herself to someone. They’re lucky, I think. We all are.