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JWR 2.41 - She Walks In Beauty Like the Night

 

ďNever mind the body.  Heís never looked at a womanís face so closely.  How he thinks he knows who she is from her face, what she eats and how she sleeps, from the lookaway smile and the uncombed hair, the hair over the right eye, how her face becomes everything she is that he canít put into words.Ē  Underworld, Don DeLillo

 

And she simply pulled the case from her purse as the center of the party right at the start.  She opened the case and pulled out the frames without lenses, poking a finger through an oval spy hole to prove she wasnít lying, there really were no lenses.  The lenses were to follow later.

 

Then she put them on to show us all.

 

She looked far more like her than I would have suspected, thought possible.  ďTheyíre nice,Ē I said with a peculiar tone and a more peculiar look.  One of those looks that was at the floor and the object of the stare resided in a peripheral, back near the edge where color is not visible, everything becomes black and white like film noir.  She was aware of the look and did a double, triple take.  The look threw her and she was unable to really concentrate on something, anything else.

 

Itís such a strange feeling, like that of a perpendicular dťjŗ vu.  Something visually catalytic occurs and it pulls something from the past or something from a great distance to the now and here.

 

It happens from time to time, never when you think it should and never when you may be ready for it.  Pulse races, blood pressure in the temples increases and pounds, skin becomes tacky and hot.

 

It happened about a year ago, as well.  I sat on the front steps outside a home late at night quietly talking with a friend about sad things.  Three girls came walking toward us on the sidewalk and turned toward the house.  They climbed up the hill since we were on the steps, in the way.  We both muttered our apologies at being in the way.

 

One of the girls was her.  Looked like her.  Superficially looked like her.  Was pretty, but not pretty enough.  A couple minutes later, we went back inside and the three were standing in the living room talking to the hosts.  I sat in a chair very quietly and looked at the girl, tried to make it inconspicuous, but staring is staring.  And what makes me think that just because I look at someone this means that none can see me at that moment in time?

 

I used to try to live my life like someone could and did see me at all times.  I think the idea was to act, for lack of a better word, cool at all times.  Then I grew up and out of it and ceased to care much of the time how I looked or appeared to act to anyone but myself.

 

Luckily the girl did not say a word for the brief minutes we existed in the same room at the same time.  When the vocals are stressed, it cracks and fissures the facade that is the reality of imagination.

 

There are no substitutes, like a restaurant run by an old lady who slaves in the kitchen and her hooligan grandsons handle the cash register and you had not better have anything less than polite to say when they ask you how the meal was.

 

How do you do dishes?  Personally, I fill one sink with soapy, warm water and wash a number of glasses or dishes at one time.  Then I rinse them off at the same time and stop to dry them before continuing.

 

Iíve never actually seen anyone fill one sink with soapy water and the next with clean water where they wash a glass and then dip it into the clear sink and then take it out and set it aside to drip dry or be dried.  This is like a restaurant or bar procedure.

 

The other type is the one where you wash one dish at a time and rinse it off right away under a stream of lightly, constantly running water.  More people do this, I think, but it mesmerizes me every time.

 

Sometimes when I wash my hands I feel as if I could let the water run over my hands forever, especially if the water is just slightly more then lukewarm and my hands themselves are chilly.  The feel of the water not so much falling as it encases my hands is hypnotic.

 

My favorite bathroom is at my friend Lynnís momís house.  Itís the one on the ground floor with this very calming blue and white tiled floor and light blue on the walls.  The toiletís blue, too.  Itís not so much like a bathroom as it is a sanctuary.  You step in there and the outside world of time and place no longer exists.  This is where I found the soap.  Itís a translucent bar or floral scented soap that was so pleasing, I continued to smell my hands the rest of the night.  I was given a bar as a gift, a gag gift, Iím sure, but I have it in me bedís headboard not to be used, inhaled only.  Apparently it has been discontinued.

 

Itís like that scene in Bringing Out the Dead where Nicholas Cage washes his hands with three different kinds of soap, each smelling like a different season.

 

Some things you just canít share and some places you just canít visit and some times you just canít go back to.

 

John

 

Copyright © 2002 John Lemut