jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


I am sleeping with the phone near my head. I am not aware that it is there, until I am awoken by its angry, insistent buzzing. It is 2.39 in the morning, a time when phone calls are for danger, despair. I look at the originating number, and there is no name attached to it so I don’t answer, flop my head back down on my pillow with an irritated groan.

It’s not a wrong number. Whoever it is means to reach me, and the phone goes off again to signify a new voice mail has been left. Who has this urgency, this desperation? I run through a list of who I would want it to be, whose dark night of the soul I would be willing to listen to, who I would accept with compassion, whose confession I would welcome, who I could treat with grace and generosity.

I gird myself. I pick up the phone. I dial in to get the message. It’s not him.

(oh! Who is it? I am is from someone I went out with once, weeks ago, who houdini'ed themselves until this. My empathy evaporates.)


Blogger slickaphonic said...

Good grief, why would someone assume 2:39 am is the appropriate time to re-appear in someone's life? I recently had a similar situation in which a boy had dated about a year prior (one date) called me up, and begin to try to piece together who I was...I asked him, "Are you just bored and going through your cell phone trying to match people to names?"

"Uh, yeah, kind of."

"Yeah, I gotta go."

1:06 PM  
Blogger cherrydragonut said...

Wow. It's amazing how intimacy and privacy become entwined at a quarter to three in the morning. It's a bewitching hour for most working folk, and calls from anyone other than a significant other would feel out of bounds. I have a few people that I can call then because they are musicians or partiers and I know they are up, or they work/ed nights like my father or brother and appreciate the call and company or live in another timezone. But any calls coming to me at that hour are unexpected and presumeably life or death or love-stuff and sex. Maybe he had a weird dream and allowed it to give him permission to "houdini" himself in. I love the way you put that. You know dreams can be very bewitching. Dreams, drugs and voicemails can get people to do stuff that they ordinarily might think twice about.
I was reading an article about secrecy and privacy. It's got me thinking about avoidence and honesty, choosing vagueness over clarity and when this is healthy and when it isn't.
Today is my birthday.

2:01 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

Happy birthday cherry marcia!

Slick, why 2.39AM indeed? I don't know whether this was a drink-n-dial, a booty call attempt, or just really poorly thought through. You get points for getting it and confronting it on the fly with your lunkhead. I am not sure this call even warrants the dignity of a response...except that I am prolly going to run into him again, given the circuits we both travel.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Dr. S said...

you could always trip him, and then say, "That's for 2:39, you rat!"

but I realize that's not good form.

2:39 AM  

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