Jen and her damn dinner parties, I thought as the drunken husband leaned closer to me, the smell of his boozed breath had me dangerously close to throwing up all over him. I looked at his wife hoping that she would put a stop to it so that I didn't have to - but she was pretending not to know him.
Across from us, James was looking at me as if I were the succulent grilled-to-perfection salmon steak served with crab-meat and shrimp in a brown-butter wine sauce, served on a bed of dirty rice that he had just devoured and wanted more.
Spit - I thought it was spit from the blabbering, drunken husband landed on my forehead. I excused myself and went to the restroom to wash my face. I could not bring myself to go back out there right away, so I sat on the toilet and read Jen's Glamour Magazine for a while. I should’ve stuck to my guns and not shown up to the party. Tonight, especially, it seemed the humans were draining my energy.
"The best thing is to be around people. Go fuck somebody," Jen said when I told her that I wasn't in the mood for a dinner party. The thought of socializing seemed a painful endeavor that was too big for me.
The last thing I wanted to do was to go fuck somebody. I've never understood fucking someone you may not necessarily like, to get over someone you do like. I know for sure that sometimes the best thing that one can do is to find a quiet place to sit and be alone.
Chaim Potok said, "I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own,"
Six couples showed up to the twice a year couples night out dinner party that Jen likes to host. I'm not sure why she keeps inviting me because I always show up alone. About a year ago, she blindsided me by inviting James, a co-worker to be my date.
"You're not what I expected," he'd said staring at me. "Jen said you show up alone to her couples parties. I thought you'd be
one of those women who can't get a date, but you certainly don't need me,"
"I don't," I assured him.
"So you're being difficult?"
"The plan was to get her to stop inviting me to these things." I said.
He threw back his head and laughed.
I found him just as annoying as some of the people at the party. That’s why I flashed Jen a mean look when he walked in that evening with a big bunch of white roses. I'd specifically ask her not to tell him that I would be there.
"You should at least fuck the guy," Jen said when I cornered her to curse her out.
"I will never fuck that man," I said.
"He likes you. He's rich, cultured, well-traveled – he dresses well, and smells so good you want to eat him. Do you know how many women are looking for a man like him?"
"I don't like him." I said. "He talks about himself too much and his best argument as to why I should date him is that he can buy me anything I want. I don't date men because they can buy me things. And I’m not attracted to him. I'm a passionate woman, Jen. I cannot date a man I have no desire to fuck," I said.
"One day you're going to get too old to fuck," she said.
"That’s why I need to be with a man whose company I enjoy. James is not that man. He seems perfect, but something is off about him."
"Did little Kitten tell you that?" She asked.
"Yes? And she is never wrong,"
“She likes Clark who keeps breaking your heart,”
I stared at her. “I'm trying to understand that," I said.
James was standing outside the washroom when I finally emerged.
"Wow. That guy is a talker. I don't blame you for hiding out in the bathroom." he said. “Do you want to go somewhere and have a drink and talk?"
I agreed - to get out of playing Charades.
I sat across from him in the coffee shop sipping espresso and listening to him talk about all the money he makes - his many conquests - being the perfect man - one who can buy his princess whatever she wants. "I would like you to be my princess, Kitten," he said smiling.
"I'm an alpha," I said. But he was too consumed in self-indulgence to hear me. I stared at him thinking that fucking him was out of the question. The man was clueless about women.
"I need to get home," I said after I’d had enough of listening to him.
It felt good to step out into the crisp night air. Snow was falling lightly and despite not liking the cold and hating to drive in it - I’ve always admired the absolute surrender and effortless grace of falling snow. The sense of peacefulness with which the snowflakes glide and dance to the end as if they know life’s secret is captivating.
I drove home, glad to be alone with my thoughts of Clark. It hit me that I was in mourning...
We hadn’t gotten deeply involved for me to be heartbroken, yet I felt as if my heart had suffered a terrible blow. I found myself walking the emotional terrain through heartbreak - refusing to change the sheets he'd last slept in so as not to lose the scent of him. Spent a considerable amount of time in my bathtub sipping wine and crooning about love and loss with Adele - my body immersed in scented, exotic oils that I blamed for the yeast infection with which I became afflicted.
But I was healing. I woke up one day realizing that his scent was long gone, and I was just sleeping on dirty sheets. I stopped crooning about love and loss with Adele. Thoughts of him no longer made me cry and missing him felt like a dull ache that with a little more time, I knew would find a safe place beneath my skin that I would draw upon now and again. One day, the door will close on us if it hasn't already.
Was it love? Hurt pride? I'm not sure. I had stood naked before him and exposed my heart - made it clear that I was not in agreement with our break-up for the reasons he gave me. But he felt he had to go, so I let go. Simply. What else was there to do? Linger in hope that we may have a chance third time around - not knowing if life will ever bring us together again. No. Life does not pause and wait.
I know that there is always a next moment and a next love as long as I don’t close my heart, become too cynical and give up. I know that the moment one door closes - another opens. The trick is being able to recognize when an open door presents itself and be brave enough to go on the adventure.
P.T. Barnum said, "The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."
I went home and lit a fire and curled up with Written in My Own Heart's Blood, the latest from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I felt at home in my aloneness. Not lonely - just a sense of quiet being that I hunkered into like a warm blanket on a cold day. I knew that it would not always be that way. As humans, we are driven by an innate desire to find love and mate. I will emerge again from my safe haven and go hunting - ready to give love all that I've got.
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.". ~Robert Frost~