October 25, 2015
I wanted her to like me.
I dreamed that a woman I know in real life didn't want to be my friend anymore. I couldn't figure out why. I kept asking her different reasons. "Is it because I don't ski? Because I have skied before. I'm sure I could pick up the sport again."
But that wasn't it.
"Is it because my souffle fell? It was the first souffle I ever baked. And I am not even sure I know how to spell 'souffle,' let alone bake a souffle. But I promise, I'll try harder next time."
That wasn't the reason either.
I flipped through the possibilities in an ever-increasing panic. Each time I landed on a potential reason, I felt a tidal wave of relief. "It's because I wore those synthetic-fiber pants to the party at your house, right? They weren't all natural. They weren't organic. But I bought them at the thrift store. They're vintage. They're retro. I thought the plaid was cool."
There she sat primly on my sofa, her husband at her side, breaking up with me. It was the strangest sensation. I've been broken up with before, but this was more crushing than several failed love affairs. I wanted to still be her friend. I wanted her to like me.
My eyes scanned the room. A picture on the wall was hanging crooked. I leaped to fix the wayward frame, crying out, "It's my art! My art is tipping. You want all of my pictures to be on level. I have one of those special tools. I can hold it so the bubble shows me the perfect angle."
Her contractor husband stood, aghast, and said, "It's called a spirit level."
(Honestly, quick aside here, I didn't know I knew that. I must have, since this is my dream. But I didn't know I had the name for that tool in my mind.)
The woman stood up, too—blonde, chilled, perfect in every way. And she said, "You write pornography," biting off the words, spitting them out on the floor so they lay there in a mess of useless seraphs and tangled fonts.
I sat on the floor as they slammed out. I traced my fingers over the words they left behind. And then I went to my closet and snagged a broom, whisked their words into a stainless dustpan and poured them into the trash. I sat down at my desk and my fingers found my keyboard. I closed my eyes and I wrote a story—and every word was a dirty word, and all the words were good.
P.S. Last year on this date, I wrote Power On.
P.P.S. Five years ago, on this date, I posted this.