Thursday, March 23, 2006

on how the race is won

He opened the door for me and I walked in. My chair was facing the wrong direction, sitting out of place, as if the last person had left in a hurry. I stopped short, looking at the chair and then back at him.

“What, were you trying to get my chair closer to yours?” I flirted. He looked back unwavering. No response. He’s good at that.

We talked about his pants, whether they were olive or brown. We agreed that we wouldn’t be able to pin that one down. One of those things you have to be ok with and move on.

We talked about the summer when I was eight - the summer I precociously fell in love with every senior staff member at camp. As I recounted the story, I laughed about it, maybe even feeling a little proud of how I was ahead of the game. He listened quietly.

"It was the summer after my father left and-" I stopped mid-sentance. He nodded, eyebrows raised.

Maybe there was more to it - more behind the ease with which I fell in love. Suddenly I wasn't sure, of then and everything that came after. I rambled, half sentances.

"Is it that obvious? Is it? How pathetic. How the fuck did I miss that?", I demanded.

He said it was understandable that my feelings were confusing. He reminded me that for a child, the messages my father gave out were generally confusing, things my father himself couldn’t keep straight.

“Yeah, he laid a lot on me.” As I said it I almost choked laughing, realizing how it sounded, realizing my mistake.

“I didn’t mean it like that!”

I laughed and laughed. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t.

Almost imperceptibly he settled deeper into his chair.

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