Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Invisible

She sweeps into the place abruptly and you can tell from the tightening of her oval jaw and the harsh flicking of her long black hair that she's fighting mad.

I savour my spoonful of ice-cream, butter pecan topped with hot fudge, rolling it around on my tongue and finally closing my eyes in sheer bliss as it slides down my throat. In front of me, Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, too consuming to set aside.

A card-carrying hedonist. That's me. Or do I mean a sybarite? OK whatever.

I smile politely anyhow and raise my hand in greeting. Also I drop the other hand surreptitiously to feel the soft folds of fat beneath my loose dress. Bones and angles make me nervous. God forbid I should starve into them, the skinny ones.

No dessert please, I'm on a diet.

Chocolate? Why that's positively sinful!

Don't be naughty, you know I can't have cake.

And don't even get me started on ice cream
.

She seats herself opposite and looks at my pleasure in disgust. Funnily enough this only serves to sharpen my enjoyment. Not on purpose, mind you. I'm not trying to piss her off. God seems to have left something out when She made me.

A thin skin, perhaps. Or maybe angst.

"Weren't we supposed to meet at Harley's? At like 7?"

I nod cheerfully. We were, of course. Only the last three times we were supposed to meet at Harley's at 7 she swanned in at 8. No hard feelings. I read my book in a corner and enyoyed my screaming orgasm on the beach. The drink of course. But today, I craved a butter pecan with hot fudge.

Beep. Missed call. Beep. SMS.

"Where the fuck are you?"

I don't hold with profanity. No need to get upset.

"Baskin's."

Which is why she sweeps in here, in her little black number (she has about 50 of them, all told, there are nuances she says, they all say the same thing, I say) eyes gleaming dangerously.

I keep spooning the wonderful mixture into my mouth and wonder if I feel like another one while she taps an impatient foot and forbears to mention that I'm like, so fat, and I shouldn't be eating all this junk and that I really, really should let her personal trainer look at me. She has before. And she would now, if she knew it would upset me. But the thought of stripping down all my comfortable flesh to be a clothes hanger - all sharp corners and bitter diatribes, like, on purpose, makes me giggle.

"Why don't you go on to Harley's first? I'll come join you," I drawl lazily.

"You know I can't. You know the moment I get there, they'll hit on me."

But she gets hit on even more when I'm there. The perfect foil for her magazine-arbitrated beauty. That's why I'm there I guess. An unlikely friendship, this. I bring a book to read so the lucky guy doesn't think he will have to include me in the conversation. I don't do the yawn-stifling thing very well.

And she leaves with whoever. Sometimes, she tells me about them. All these men. All versions of each other. I don't think she gets as much pleasure from them as I do from a single spoonful of butter pecan.

All those steamed vegetables. And half a grapefruit.

It must be hard.

I smile some more.

I want to be a writer. And my folds give me that magic cloak of invisibility. Nobody looks at me. No guy sidles over to chat me up. I get to listen in on conversations, see people being themselves, see all these stories playing out around me.

I come home and write them down.

Read them to myself and laugh.

And laugh.

And laugh.

It's all so ridiculous.

Too deliciously funny.

Even comforting, somehow.

La dolce vita.

I will never stop laughing.

16 comments:

Lakeside Ling said...

You are gorgeous. Love this post.

And now you have me craving ice creammmm....even if it's nearly zero outside!

part-time buddha said...

This is one of your best, Jenn. I love it. Once again, you and I are not that different.

But you read Jane Smiley. I would never deign to do such a thing. :)

Jenn said...

Ling: Thanks...yum!

PTB: Heh! I know. Don't forget Torrid Lovers, please, I don't want to be judged on Jane Smiley who is semi-literary but on the worst contemporary trash there is.

john calica said...

This is great stuff!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jenn said...

John: And Happy Valentine's to you too.

Vintage hunter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susanna said...

Aargh, Google/Blogger is so annoying sometimes.

Good writing. You are excellent at describing things. Very interesting, strange friendship indeed...

And I know what you mean about enjoying invisibility so you can listen in on people and write it down later :)

It was great to see you on my new blog finally! I wondered what happened to you. You can register for an account, if you want--it's quick--then you won't have to worry about leaving comments again.

Jackie said...

Hedonist or sybarite? I guess it would depend on what one was getting from the icecream! :-)
Jenn, this is a great story. And you are a great writer!

goldennib said...

So well written, Jenn. The writer's anonimity is the best. Some skinny people sure do seem angry: comes from denying oneself ALL the joys of life. I'm getting some ice cream. I love butter pecan. I'd like caramel sauce on mine though, with whipped cream.

And you could only be ignored because you want it: you are beautiful.

Jenn said...

Susanna: Register? OK. Will do. And thanks.

Jackie: One lives for joy the other for pleasure right? Thanks...:)

Nessa: Aw, you're sweet. OK I have to clear up a misapprehension here...Other than the folds of fat (oh, and writing aspirations) I have nothing in common with the persona here. She is more of who I would like to be - detached and amused and out of the whole game. I thought the fact that she was born without a thin skin or angst (you may know that I'm all about angst) and that she doesn't swear (I swear like a trooper and then some) would have given it away. :)

jackie+simon said...

your best story yet,remember mocha almond fudge??

goldennib said...

I thought maybe you gave up swearing.

Jenn said...

Jackie and Simon: Yum, I do. But for now, the craving is definitely butter pecan. I think I'll go to Megamall.

Nessa: Haha, I should, I know, but then something makes me angry (like a leaf falls in my path) and I'm off again.

dandelion said...

Brilliant stuff Jenn...I laughed too :) There a tub of Baskin's ice-cream in the fridge which I think I am going to enjoy now. Don't think its butter pecan but its still ice-cream.

Jenn said...

Enjoy!

Jackie said...

Jenn, well I guess both mean they live for joy and pleasure....but one means in a 'sensual' context! Thus my remark about what you're getting from your icecream! :-)