Pimp My Lent/Day 16
From cool chick Austin Gray…
“There was a time when I didn’t like him. He was like one of those kids in school that no one wants to sit next to because of his issues.”
There was a time when I didn’t like him. He’s shorter than me, and noisy. He breathes noisy, through his mouth, and he chews gum all the time. He sighs so hard, it’s like he’s the blow-off valve for all the emotions of all the world. He will lie when he’s into telling a story, throwing in fictional details to amp something up and make it more interesting. And when cornered, he will out-and-out deny doing something that I know damn well he did.
For the longest time, he just plain fucking annoyed me. Everything about him seemed fake. Like everything he did was about letting people know “Hey look at me, I’m emotional! I’m peculiar!” After spending time with him, I started seeing that he is emotional and peculiar. Just like some people are mean, some people are nice, some people are smart, some people are stupid, some people like Kent swing between shyness and a desperate need for the love and attention of everybody in the room. In other words, what I thought was fake only seemed fake, because for Kent, fake is true. Until you get him calmed down and quiet, and then you get him. It’s not easy, but that’s my job. To calm down Kent.
Yesterday, we were sitting in the glider on the front porch of the house in the country that I built for us, and by that I mean that me and a crew built it from the foundation up. I can draw it, hammer it out, put in the plumbing, but I don’t understand electricity so I leave it alone. The sun was setting, and everything was just so. The light was fading, turning the Rose blanche to pink, petals glowing, like a bunch of pretty little girls blushing. It was just us, him and me in our skin, wrapped up in a quilt. I’d farmed the kids out to friends so that we could spend the day making up for the fact he’d been on location for a month in L.A. I don’t go to L.A. I don’t go anywhere where the ground might split open or drop a building on my head.
There was a breeze blowing, and just enough chill to warrant the quilt and to keep the mosquitoes from being able to land. We hadn’t said anything for a half-hour maybe. We get that way nowadays, it’s nice. We had our legs wrapped around each other, enjoying the sunset, the breeze, the fragrance of the roses, the bird song and the frog song, barely moving the glider back and forth, barely breathing it seemed.
Not two hours earlier, Kent had come in spoiling for a fight. From the minute I picked him up at the Will Rogers Airport, all the way to home, he was pinched up tight as an old maid’s knees. He wanted an argument and I wouldn’t give him one, so he finally exhaled and shut the hell up about my driving and the humidity and why weren’t the kids here didn’t I realize he’d missed them too. There’s times that I’ll give him just as good as I get, but I wasn’t in the mood so I let him run on until he was run out. He can blow off steam, fine, but he will not be hateful to me. I don’t tolerate that shit. I let him pop off when he needs to, and I don’t take it personally, which he appreciates. Funny enough though, that used to make him lose his shit. When we first started with each other, he called me cold and uncaring. Now he says he marvels at my “quiet center.”
It occurs to me right then, sitting on the glider, my arm around his shoulders, my fingers trailing through his hair and tracing the curve of his ear, that he is my center. I’m just calm around him.
Then it occurs to me how what we are is a donkey and a thoroughbred. Horse trainers will sometimes put a donkey in with a thoroughbred, as a companion. This just crosses my mind. Kent kisses my smile, and asks me what I’m thinking, so I tell him.
It just so happens that at this second he is feeling insecure, so we’re off.Are you calling me an ass? He says, leaning back and looking up at me. His expression informs me that no matter what I say, he’ll still think what he thinks, so I don’t say anything. Kent makes the jump to his next conclusion, and assumes that I am comparing myself to a farm animal. How could I think that he thinks that of me? He’s hurt – after everything we’ve been through together, do I really think that he thinks that I’m less-than him? Then he’s on to outrage: Do you think I’m a snob? I let him spin and spin. My mind wanders over to the punch-list for the guest bathroom and whether I want to replace the light switch plates. Finally it’s all out and he’s done.
I’m really hurt you’d think of me that way. When he says this, I know that he’s heading towards quiet. I wonder at how he can do it, get so wound up and then unravel himself again and never completely come apart. I know that the very next time we’re with friends, at dinner, or a party, or whatever, he will tell the story about how I compared us to a donkey and a thoroughbred and how he overreacted to the point of comedy, and then we’ll be done with it. Like the performing of his emotions is how he finishes with them.
We have no business at all being together, we know it. We’re good for now.