For some time now, I have been dancing the dodgy two-step with this guy — an older man who is by turns charming, irascible, and sometimes, just plain tired. Together, we skim the surface of things, unlikely conspirators in a plot to eke out a little happiness.
I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled upon this bit of a dalliance, this little preoccupation. There was that phone call in the middle of the night. He made me laugh and yell at him until about 2 in the morning. I couldn’t make up my mind then if I liked his gruff manner. But the next night he called again, and it was hours before the phones got turned off. We call or Skype each other most everyday now. Sometimes he just grunts at me over the phone, at a loss for words. I kind of like that.
Details began to emerge, photos were swapped, bits and pieces got shuffled around to make room for us. This little preoccupation, it passes the time. It consumes me just enough to make me feed the fire day by day, to tend to it just so to preserve the spark. It is what urban kids nowadays call a ‘skinny love.’ A love that’s not fleshed out enough to be substantial, not solid enough to be defined as a sure thing, or as anything.
I don’t mind it, I mean not too much. There is a connection here that I can appreciate, no matter how tenuous, no matter how brief. But, the both of us, we’re not bothered too much by it. There are no unreasonable demands on time, no shallow arguments, no intrusions into privacy, no intense moments of feeling as though your heart will explode. None of that nonsense.
No, it does not eat us up. It is, after all, just a skinny love.
I almost died today. Almost, but not quite. This job is an all day occupational hazard.
Our No. 2 boss, a stately old gentleman, came into the office at around 1500 hours as was his custom, to sign documents. We discussed the paperwork, he asked a few questions, signed all the papers with a flourish. Done with the day’s approvals, he stood up and walked out the door, to go back to his office, I thought.
Apparently not. What he actually did was walk down the hallway, double back quietly and then come back to stand by my door. He made sure I was busy at my desk. I must have been staring intently at the monitor, because I didn’t see him standing there.
All of a sudden, he dashes into the doorway, eyes wide, arms flailing, shouting what sounded like, “Wha-daaah!
I felt my heart stop for a full three seconds. He was red in the face from laughing so hard.
The blonde IT girl at the scanner table chastised him, “Hey, don’t scare the poor girl to death!”
“Sir, I had three mugs of coffee today, please don’t do that to me!” I manage to say as I will my heartbeat to return to normal.
“Just keeping you on your toes, young lady.” He grins at me and walks back, chuckling, to his office. For real this time, I made sure of that.
Here, there are times when even the most ordinary of days offers up a surprise. Case in point: I had a minor dalliance at the PX store today. I was standing in line along the candy aisle, waiting my turn at the cash register. A trooper walks in front of me, wanting to cut across the line so he could go to the next aisle. I step to one side, he does the same, I step back, and he steps back too. We do this two-step routine a couple of times, until finally, I stand still and motion for him to pass through.
He looks at me, smiles, and then says, “What? Oh, I thought we were dancing.”
In what constitutes a complete departure from our regular programming, here is a graphic that made me smile today.Anything that alters this somber mood is always welcome. Could it be that pop of yellow that’s so uplifting? No? Could be the premise that you can turn any situation into an advantage, if you do not dwell on the negative. Maybe so.
Mostly though, I think it is the promise of a drink that made my heart beat just a little bit faster.
Coming back from lunch today, I closed my door, dumped my hamper of laundry on the floor, and danced to the crashing song on my ipod. Danced with abandon—hair wild, body trashing, arms flailing about, head all a-spin.
Life is good.