Saturday, July 08, 2006

dirt off my shoulders


"Hey baby", the email read. I cringed. "Sorry, but I've had a few drinks. It's Jack's birthday party next week. What's it going to take to get you to fly in for it?

It's Jess's baby boy Jack's second birthday. He and Jack's mother aren't together - they never really were. His email wording had jolted me. I mean "baby"? What the F? My guard had gone back down around Jess since I was sure I had made it crystal clear that there was no future for us. I guess the drinks made the part of him that's still holding his breath reappear. As I've said before, it's hard not to take the bait. I'm a giant hormone lately and I genuinely love Jack, which is why it pisses me off that Jess is trying to use him to pull me in.

I'm not going to the birthday party because I can't afford another trip this summer and because flying out there would mean too much for someone who's looking for too much meaning. It's not about me, and I'll tell you how I know that. After 22 years of friendship, he still doesn't really know me. If prompted he would probably be able to compose a brief and general description of me. He could tell you the concrete stuff, like where I went to school, who my friends are, and what I look like, but any deeper and he'd be lost. He would even think he knows what's important to me - how I see the world, but I guarantee, it would be projection. At best a lucky guess. In contrast, like at Shoshana's bridal shower where I won the competition for knowing the bride best, beating out her own Mother and Sister, I know Jess inside and out.

In talking this situation through, I recounted the Shoshana shower story to my therapist who 'therapeutically' brings almost nothing of himself into the room. Even his decor is sparse - nothing but a Jackson Pollock print hanging above his non-descript black chair.

He laughed, "You probably know me better than my Mother and Sister too.

I guess there are two points to this: first, as far as I see it, for Jess, I'm just a convenient body with which to fill a void; and second, while I take on everything of theirs, I don't normally demand my friends know me back (and in all fairness, I probably don't always give them the materials).

***

I started to reply to Jess's email, over-explaining how coming in for the party wouldn't work for me, feeling guilty for not going along with his plans for us. Once again, it seems to come down to this script that I feel obliged to follow. But it was Friday afternoon and I decided to brush that dirt off my shoulders and let him sit with an unanswered drunken email for a few days. I have some warm weather enjoying, outdoor pool swimming, and some SPF 30 wearing to do.

***

"I got po chasin' me, babies mammas trynta get wit me, so I get them glocks rocks and dust the dirt of my shoulders the cops an them bolders"

Jay-Z

3 comments:

Lx said...

thank you for ending this w/Jay Z. I had basically nothing to say up until that quote. Which, by the way, introduced my gin to my keyboard via my nose--you know, imagining YOU talk like that and one hand on your hip and the other wagging an index finger at the world.

Lx said...

P.S. I grew up and went to school in the "hoods" of D.C. and have had my share of enounters with the boyzz-n-the-hood, but...WHAT THE FUCK IS JAY Z TALKING ABOUT??

Rachel said...

My pleasure - glad I have that affect on you. Jay Z's talking about what I'm talking about, more or less.

'Night my friend.