Hejira
staying in one place
June 9. 2000

Deborah told me on Wednesday to call her on Friday, to see if we could get together. Since she had flaked out on me three times previous (though not without good reason, I was still disappointed), I wasn't holding out hope. But a few pages into "The Great Gatsby" and an attempt to take a nap, she called me back, and we made plans. I was so excited.

The drive down to Lititz was beyond lovely. It was a beautiful, sunny day, not too hot or humid. I forgot how much I miss driving on lonely country roads (dodging the occasional buggy or tractor) with my window open, a/c and music blasting-in this case, Moby. Such a feeling of bliss and power and freedom, despite Bessie's slower than normal pickup going up hills (there were a lot of them).

I had decided, against my better judgement, to wear platform shoes, simply for the illusionary effect that they make me taller and thinner. I think I may have fucked up my knee and achilles tendon in my right leg, probably from repeated strain at work, because they've been aching constantly. I reasoned that I wouldn't be walking that much, so it would probably be okay. Duh.

I love Deborah's house so much. It's an old farmhouse with faded hardwood floors and all sorts of interesting pottery and art. It's a constant feast for the eyes. The dining room is in front, and in it are two large picture windows, and at night the one facing the street is constantly illuminated by the passing headlights of cars. The living room/kitchen is carpeted and has a solid looking sofa and armchair in it. The stairs to the second floor are an oddity, because they are very steep, almost a ladder.

I knocked once, and after a while, knocked again. She greeted me at the door, looking tired and her bleached blonde hair longer than I remembered it. "Sorry I didn't hear you the first time," she said, "I don't have my little alarm buddy to let me know you were here." When she said this her voice rose slightly in pitch, like she was trying to hold back tears. Her dog, Lakota, was put down last week, so she's been kind of a mess. She got Kotie right after her daughter had died, about 5 years ago, so it was especially hard for her because of that.

We couldn't find a movie in theatres we liked (I wanted to go see "Center Stage", cause I'm such a sucker for dance movies, but she wasn't too keen on that), so we rented "Girl, Interrupted" and "Dogma" instead. Looking for a video with Deborah is a rather dicey prospect, because she can't watch anything with any kind of dramatic emotional scenes, or anything that's too violent. So that limits things drastically. Mostly we stick to comedies.

After we picked up the movies, for dinner we went to a local place called Scooters, a sort of wannabe TGI Friday's but with a really nasty bar. Not surprisingly, it was packed. We were seated next to a banquet table with about 25 people, who had 7 or 8 young, rowdy, loud, unsupervised children, which rendered conversation almost impossible.

I guess that was a good thing, because, to my disappointment, Deborah didn't seem that interested in what I had to say. I can understand that because of the emotional turmoil she's been going through, but I hadn't seen her or talked to her at length for over six months. I had so much I wanted to tell her, and most of it went unsaid.

During dinner, my vision started to go all screwy and I felt dizzy. I knew these were the first symptoms of getting a migraine. I get them rarely, but the usual perscription is to take four advil and sleep it off in a quiet, dark room. We got our food wrapped up and left early, and then Deborah had to run an errand at a supermarket, so she let me stay in the car. I draped my coat over my head and must have dozed off, because next thing I knew, a half hour had passed, and she opened the door saying, "Are you okay, hon?"

I took some Motrin when we got back to her house, which helped for the dizziness and my leg. The rest of the night was nice, the dizziness passed after about an hour and we ate sorbet and watched "Girl, Interrupted" up in her bedroom, with me piled under many blankets because Deborah keeps her house at 60 degrees at all times.

I left with a promise to see her again this summer. Driving home, I thought a lot about her, and me, and how things were. Before I left for college, I felt like we were just getting to a point where we were getting comfortable and close to each other. And now I feel like I'm starting all over again from the beginning. It's been a bit of sticking point with me, because she's my mother's age, to not look on her as an authority figure but as an equal and a friend.

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