So I was out with my friend Alex. Have I ever mentioned my friend Alex? Nice guy. I met him at Sole Luna restaurant where I pretended to be deaf and he pretended to be single but we eventually sorted it out after two weeks of him thinking I was the best lip reader ever. Despite all that, we’ve drifted into a friendship where he brings me wine (he’s in the business) and books, and I bring him …….. joy? I dunno.
That’s Alex. He’s 42 and looks quite appropriately, 42. I on the other hand, due to my puppy-like manners and large collection of headbands, often fool the casual observer into thinking I’m younger than my 29 years.
So there we were, walking into a bar in Del Mar, and a couple of guys also entering the bar hold the door open for us. Pleasantries are exchanged and we take a seat a table next to them at the bar.
Later, something perks my ears and I look up from my Japanese whiskey. I hear one of the guys say “for every year age difference you gotta figure at least another thirty grand a year he must be making, and he’s got twenty years on her so ….” As I look up at the speaker, he looks mortified.
They cleared out shortly after, and when we tried to pay our bill we were informed that our “friends” had taken care of the whole thing. Alex was confused so I filled him in on what they’d noticed me overhear.
“I hope they didn’t offend you,” he said.
“GAWD no. They thought I was twenty-two. You?”
“No, they thought I was out with a twenty-two year old. And they thought that I was rich. And that despite all that, they thought that I needed to be cheered up with a free dinner.”
Coworker I – *finishing a story* “…. she was referring to my bald spot.”
Valancy Jane – *blank look*
Coworker I – *points* “See?”
Valancy Jane – “Dude. You’re a full foot taller than me. That bald spot could have been your secret forever.”
I’d planned to surprise my grandmother with a visit on Valentines Day. She always liked Valentines Day, always sent me cards as a kid, and gave me the crazy idea that Valentines Day was about lovin’ up on everybody you loved.
My plans of course changed when she had a heart attack and had to be hospitalized. I called a few of my dear friends, Chip and Angelica, and we celebrated in a way that I think will make her proud, laughing over drinks and recounting the various loves we’ve had.
In fact, we had so much fun that they stayed over. And the next morning we couldn’t bear to leave each other just yet, so Valentines Day bled into next-morning-breakfast, then a drive up the coast in Chip’s new Mercedes.
It may not have been a mad love affair, but it was most certainly love.
My therapist had remarked that it sounded as if there were suddenly a lot of babies and pregnancy in my social circle. She sounded concerned.
I told her I felt encouraged by my interactions with pregnant friends. That I DID think of Sadie, but that that thought wasn’t dominating my reactions, that I could feel the appropriate joy for my friends.
I haven’t forgotten, didn’t want to of course, but my emotional state seemed stable.
She smiled and told me not to lose that encouragement if the anniversary hit me hard. “After all, your body remembers. And it’s going to have to process that.”
I didn’t fully appreciate what she meant until I found myself suddenly sobbing, still feeling that year old sense of ….. bewilderment at how empty my arms felt, no matter how tight I clutched them around myself.
To commemorate Aurora’s birthday, she and took a train trip up the coast to LA. We splurged on business class tickets, and definitely ate our money’s worth in free coffee and pastry.
We did lots of shopping in the various ethnic neighborhoods that surround the train station, Little Tokyo and the Mexican old town area, Olvera Street. But for me the highlight was being joined by my little sister ZezZee, my childhood friend Jessica, and the legendary Miss Kendra, for dinner in Chinatown.
And as we left, I paused for a moment to drink it in, how much I love my life. And how big a role the wonderful friendships I have with women, with these amazing women, have in that happiness.
VP of Sales – *picks up donut* *sighs* “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.”
Valancy Jane – “Give it to me. It looks better on me.”
Conehead – “I’m admiring a cressent roll right now.”
Valancy Jane – “You like it? *swivels hips* It’s new.”
Bethany – “The front runner is now Ella.”
Valancy Jane – “Hm?”
Bethany – “For my sister’s baby. They’re leaning towards the name Ella.”
Jesse – “Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.”
Valancy Jane – “You’d better call them back and warn them, that he’s going to do that, everytime they say Ella.”
Jesse – “Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.”
I bought a birthday card for Aurora. “For My Wife.” I also happened to be buying condoms. First the cashier looked excited ….. then confused.
Once I got outside I remembered I was wearing mouse ears.
The next morning I bought rope, and it was the same cashier, who said, “I guess last night didn’t go as well as you’d hoped?”