Some years back, I had my palm read by an old Indian woman who lived a dingy flight up in New York’s Chinatown. My intrepid friend and I saw the sign and decided that we had to check it out, if for no other reason than to say that we had our palms read by an old Indian woman who lived a dingy flight up in New York’s Chinatown.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
We also were in need of some guidance in the love arena, and we hoped that our palms would reveal something. So up the smelly stairs we went. We knocked on the door and were let in by a young girl who called out for her grandmother. Other children were eating in the kitchen, and a woman was standing over the stove. The whole place smelled like an earthy curry. Out came the friendly—yet decidedly mysterious—old woman, and she promptly ushered us into a little hallway, decorated ornately with draped lamps and Indian cushions.
“It is ten for fifteen minutes, OK?” and she took my hand.
Aside from her flatly stating one eerily specific, alarmingly accurate, thing about my life that she would have had no way of knowing or guessing (seriously—my friend and I are both skeptics, and our mouths dropped open when she said it), the only thing I really remember is a word she used, confusement. “Ah,” she’d say, “I see some confusement here. You need to make a decision.” “This confusement will resolve itself in time.”
My friend and I were both very taken with the term, and we’ve since used it to describe tricky romantic situations. Well, I have to say that I have confusement up the whazoo. I’m feeling better than I did about everything on Saturday, but that could just be because my hangover disappeared. Who’s to say?
So most of the day on Friday, I sat around and got madder and madder at McI for not calling me. I was absolutely convinced that he’d just split and that I would never hear from him again. However Zen I may have been on Thursday, I was anti-Zen on Friday. I cried as I got ready for my date with CraigslistGuy and then I got mad. Fuck it, I said to myself, I’m going out with this guy, and I’m going to have a good time. Someday this is all going to hurt a lot less, but let’s just focus on getting through tonight. I made myself presentable, and waltzed out the door.
En route to the T, I got a text message from McI. He’d had a terrible week, hoped I was doing well, and wanted to see if I’d get together with him on Sunday. Perhaps it was weakness on my part that I didn’t say no, but I didn’t. And I was happy. Of course, I was also on my way to meet a guy I didn’t want to meet for a date I didn’t want to have.
Too late to back out now, I thought as I headed to the bar. The guy was late, and I thought about leaving, but I didn’t. When he showed up, I realized that he was just what the doctor ordered—cute but not too cute, and while appealing, not someone I was going to fall for. Perfect for an evening out on the town.
He joined me at the bar, and we proceeded to talk and drink. And drink and talk. The conversation was easy, nothing too interesting, as we didn’t have much in common, but interesting enough. There was a certain attraction. The time came, and we headed over to the show.
Listening to the National is like that last sip between tipsy and drunk. The world is clear and hazy, full of hope and impending sadness. Matt Berninger’s baritone lulls you, tempts you, makes you think that something might be OK, even when you know it won’t be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always translate well in a live set. The band’s amazing, all of them incredibly talented, especially the drummer, but I’m in it for the voice. And I couldn’t really hear it.
Still, the show proved to be very good, and on a whim, I kissed Craigslist guy. It was nice. He asked me about the chances of it happening again, and I told him rather good. When the show was over, he got us backstage, and we met a couple of the band members. I didn’t say much, and we left soon afterwards for his place. In the cab, I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him, and he said that was fine. We’d just hang out.
“So,” he said, while we were drinking water in his kitchen, “why did you have an extra ticket? You obviously aren’t available.”
I grimaced. “I’m sorry. I’m really not. I was mad at someone, and so I posted the ticket instead of asking him.”
“You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”
“I suppose I am, but I really don’t think it’s going to happen. We haven’t made any promises or anything, so it’s not even like I’m cheating on him.”
“OK,” he said. And with that, we went to bed. We fooled around a bit, but in the middle of it, all I could think about was McI, and so I stopped. “I’m sorry,” I said.
“That’s OK. I know how you feel. I’ve done the same thing.”
When we woke up early the next morning, we were both still a bit tipsy, so we hung out for a bit to collect our wits. We talked about his ex, my situation, we laughed ruefully over our fates. He found me a bus, gave me a hug, and I left.
I laughed to myself on the bus. I must have been a fright. I didn’t have my brush with me, and I’m sure I didn’t smell all that nice. I’m getting a bit old for the bus ride of shame, I mused. Oh well. I’ll live.
As soon as I got home, I started to sob. I knew what I wanted. I knew that it was unlikely that I was going to get it. I felt confusement. I smiled. The confusement would resolve itself in time, I supposed.
More to come…