Saturday, July 21, 2007
One Enchanted Evening
The weirdest date I ever had included the man who would eventually break into my house and rape me and a mutual friend of ours who had such a disturbingly strong attachment to the my rapist (whom I will refer to by his initial K as that is his real initial) that he invited himself on our New Year's Eve date. K and I were going to see Fatal Attraction (my friend Hank used to say when something was very obvious, self-service humor, make up your own joke -- this situation applies) and then I was going to serve spaghetti in my parents' house as a "romantic" night as they were going to be out of town. Now I understand that anything involving me cooking does not constitute anything remotely romantic unless one considers nursing someone through food poisoning romantic. But at the time, I had high hopes and had procured a can of Ragu, my mother had cooked some hamburger meat, and all I had to do was boil spaghetti. Our mutual friend found out about the plan and begged to be in the waiter in this dinner scenario that was becoming less "One Enchanted Evening" and more "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" I cringed at the thought, tried to talk everyone out of it, but K thought it was inspired (We can include everyone!), and I wanted to cry at the thought of yet another date devolving into talk that included way too many Monty Python references.
I saw Fatal Attraction with both of them at the tiny theater where I'd seen seen almost every movie, the one where I'd go as a child after I'd collected exactly one hundred pennies and handed them over in a ziploc bag, dumping them on the counter, ashamed that the clerk would have to count them, but happy to be getting my ticket and going inside to see such classics as My Secret Admirer and Zapped! The dark provided comfort then, shade from the terrible Texas heat, a respite from the constant droning worry in my head. That night was no different. I loved the movie and admired the Glenn Close character, her wild lifestyle, her scary single woman apartment in New York, the creepy all white wardrobe. While I understood the point of the movie was to make her look pathetic and act as a warning against infidelity (even then I understood the film's purpose was to convey that all those dull, conventional choices were actually the right ones, ie, a metaphor for the growing AIDS epidemic), it didn't work on me. I thought about the excitement of the characters' lives, the way they careened into disaster with excellent outfits. I thought about going home and having K's closest friend serve us our spaghetti dressed in a fake tuxedo dickie collar he had obtained for the occasion. About how my parents would come home and ask if the spaghetti had been a hit. I'd lie, of course, say that everything went great. And what I didn't know is that it had, that everything was fine then in ways that it wouldn't be later. But like in Fatal Attraction, it's when everything is quiet, even boring, that trouble is brewing in ways that you don't understand but will be made to, in the worst possible ways, ways you can't even imagine in your grimmest dreams.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"My traveling companions are ghosts and empty sockets/ I'm looking at ghosts and empties/ But I have reason to believe that/ we will all be received/ I'm going to Graceland." Paul Simon
Drinking movie suggestion: Office Space
Benedictions and Maledictions