We are almost there. Another day now. Thank God it’s coming soon – I am going to stroke out. I mean I’m cool, and everything will be fine, but wow, this is a little nerve wracking.
Last night I went out. I sat at a bar and stared at me in the mirror. Lot of me staring at me yesterday. The bar mirror me is even different than the regular mirror me and of course -- like I said above -- the video me. In fact, I’ve probably spent more time staring at the bar mirror me than any other me but I am still not sure why. Alcoholism?
I looked through the bar mirror me to others in the bar. Not many others were staring at themselves. But they were in their own little incisive mini dramas. Which is kind of like staring at themselves. Mostly the girls. It seems to me a girl on a night out can be one long calculated impression – the neurons must be firing constantly.
I caught the eyes of a girl with long dark hair as I stared at her through the mirror. Her date didn’t notice. She smiled at me, tossed her hair back, and kept looking. She kept a little half smile on as I watched her scan the room. She was liking my attention. She was cute.
Oops, her boyfriend stopped talking. She brought herself back to him, took on a concerned look, and he was reassured. He started talking again. She took his hand across the table and went back to him.
Wow, I thought. What a juggling of inputs, variables and outputs. But she wasn’t totally done with me yet. She took the straw out of her drink and sucked on it slowly. Wow, wow, wow.
Some people came in and took the seats next to me but I didn’t notice. I felt someone sit next to me and then something wet in my ear and jumped. I heard laughter.
“Not really with us, are you?” Maria, the owner of the tongue, said.
“Hey, how are you?” I said, and stood up and enveloped her in my arms. She held her pretty little face up and I kissed her, long and feelingly. What happens to her? And us?
“Hey WE are doing great,” a loud voice said. I broke it off and reached around Maria and shook Jim’s hand, “How are you Doctor?”
"I am doing just great Doctor, just great,” Jim said, looking around me for the bartender. “Another day another appendix. As long as the Board doesn't catch up with me. Hey let me have a Sapphire and Tonic, Marie will have a Chardonnay and ladies," Jim turned to two others that had come in with him, “What can I get you?”
“You know,” one of the two said, and the other said “you should!”
“Oh right,” Jim said, “cosmos, pink ones, I think” and the girls nodded their heads, at about the same time. They kind of looked like twins.
"Mark, this is Sharon and Karen." Jim said, introducing the other two. "They're going to be a social worker. Ha, get it? Sharing and Caring."
The girls hit him.
"So, what are we planning tonight? Three of you, two of us, I sense magic in the air." Jim said.
The girls giggled again.
"Well, I am afraid I'm with someone exclusively," Maria said.
"Lose him!" Jim commanded. "We have no room for extras."
Maria smiled and hit Jim.
"What about your friend, doesn't he talk?" Karen said teasingly.
"Oh, he talks,” Maria said, and put her arm through mine. “He talks…the language of love.”
“Ohhhh,” they said, together.
"Do you want to go somewhere?" she asked me. She knew tomorrow was a big day, but I had been a little vague as to why. I looked in her eyes. They were smiling into mine, her eyes bright and beautiful, her face, her expressions so known to me, through years and years and years. Wow times infinity. If this isn’t love what is? And if there are two of me will that be better for her? Or not?
I pulled myself back to her, to the here and now. "I can think of one place," I said honestly.
She smiled even more at me. "Really? Gee, I can't imagine where that would be."
"Now kids," Jim broke in, "this is a public place.”
“Ladies," he addressed the others, "These children are in the midst of the joy of love. I leave it to you. Shall we allow them the joy of being with each other in privacy, or shall we see if they can maintain a relationship under real world stress, which to my mind, would only strengthen it – as Nietzsche said of course what doesn’t destroy me makes me strong – and which goes to relationships too I think as in What doesn’t destroy them makes them strong. What should we do? What should we do? Sharon, your vote?"
The smaller of the two, or maybe not, they appeared identical, nodded solemnly. "Oh I think we have to stress them. Maria would do it for me, wouldn't you dear?" She smiled at Maria, a little maliciously. "Remember my engagement night, Maria?"
"No, viciousness now girls, no dirty laundry." Jim cried. "And you Karen?"
"Oh I agree absolutely,” the other one said, and I swear they were identical – or else sisters, or else friends who looked exactly alike (why do girls do that but not guys? Have friends who look almost exactly like them? A grouping instinct?) “I think it's our duty to stay and help them."
Jim said, "Another round Bartender, and any help you can provide in getting these two lonely kids together would be appreciated."
"So, Karen," Jim kept on, "Tell me about yourself. Your hopes, your fears, your aspirations. What do you do, who do you see, where do you go? Is there anyplace you'd rather be, anyone you'd rather see? My God," he said to the others, "I'm on a roll, spouting poetry. Don't stop me. Aren't I romantic?" he finished, leaning over and leering at them.
"And this man was my thesis advisor," Karen said, giggling.
"That's right my dear." Jim took her hand, "and now that we no longer have a professional relationship," he stressed "professional" and paused, "perhaps we can have another, more fulfilling sort of contact."
"Oh you can have that sort of contact and still have a professional relationship with her," Maria said laughing.
"Maria!" Sharon, Jim and Maria started talking at each other about Karen's virtues. I sat back and watched Maria argue. Her hair shone, her eyes were lit. She spoke with her body and her voice. She had a simple dress of some kind of shiny material. It rose to mid thigh as she sat. Her legs were crossed. They started from a pair of shiny high heels and were sheathed in dark stockings. I looked back up at my drink. Quickly. I didn't want to stare too long at the place where the legs disappeared under the skirt. Maybe one more quick look. I looked down again, quietly. Her skirt had moved up her leg a little.
"See anything you like?" she asked, catching me, and laughing at me again.
I was embarrassed. Usually I was much more subtle. Hard to control my lust now.
The rest of the evening passed wonderfully. At the end, I told Maria I couldn’t go home with her that night, or for the next few nights. She understood and kissed me long and hard. “Take care of yourself,” she said. Jim shook my hand, said, “see you tomorrow” and walked out, one arm around each of the girls.