Saturday, November 19, 2005

Running with Scissors

After Ben came out of the closet (much to Kym's horror- it was distressing enough just to be dumped), he started addressing us all as "Girl," with an inflection that proclaimed it our superpower. He had his front teeth filed to a V and crimped his hair into tight rows of rusty curls. We sat on a bench at Horton Plaza waiting for Kym's show to start at the Lyceum, Ben gawking at sailors and me trying to figure out if he was improved any by the revelation that he was "more complex than the average man." Tonetta came back with tickets, started awarding points to Navy guys, too. Those two always had a bond; Kym never begrudged them that. For three years Ben walked six paces in front of me during competition, a most capable if unorthodox drum major (preferring a baton to a mace). It was evident that he was enjoying the flattering effect of his white nylon uniform pants. I had to be front and center because I had no peripheral vision (that was the story Mr. Lee concocted to spare Joe's sensibilities; I have excellent peripheral vision), and I never pondered the bounce in his step; I thought that was how the DM was supposed to walk. Then he started wearing muscle shirts where there was none and obsessing over Janet Jackson's choreography, but not the woman herself, and before we knew it Kym had a broken heart.

Thus, Kym was front and center when I got my own heart broken by a Greek clarinet player with a flair for chemistry and a shattered family back east. Misery loves company, and she had reportedly saved every single tear in one solitary, sturdy tissue. I bounced back with a pretty Puerto Rican trumpet player (Jesus was as bad at other things as he was at the trumpet, to let the record stand) and a second year of college in Los Angeles. Kym bounced back with the theater and an eating disorder and four more cats added to a dozen. She named them theater names, always: Mr. Mistoffolees, Hamlet, Nicodemus, Deuteronomy, Blanche (Kym's face crumpled so convincingly in A Streetcar Named Desire that I never quite recovered from it). Minutes before a Thursday matinee I was perched on her vanity counter backstage, artfully arranging gray greasepaint streaks in the corner of her vague eyes and on her brow (Arsenic and Old Lace) and powdering white her matronly, upswept hair, when she wondered out loud, "do you really think it had nothing to do with me?" She was (and may be to this day) fond of the Goldsmith quote: "On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting; 'Twas only that when he was off he was acting..." But she changed the he to she, and squinted into the mirror behind me, baring her alarming canines. I blended the paint with the corner of a sponge. "Of course it wasn't you, honey, but hang on to that insecurity. It does wonders for your Blanche."

4 Comments:

Blogger JOB said...

Interesting!! Only people who knew everyone would understand.

November 20, 2005 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger A said...

Well but, that was the point of writing about it. So that even total strangers can understand the mortification and subsequent lasting trauma of finding out that your ex now prefers the opposite sex. And I can stuff every last one of you into universally recognized stereotypes, don't you doubt that for a second! ;) Just... don't tell the gang I'm using them for blog post inspiration. I still owe Kymmie the part of a lifetime in my first famous play, you know. She'll hex me for wasting time blogging.

November 20, 2005 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger JOB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 21, 2005 at 1:09 AM  
Blogger JOB said...

I did not plan on telling anyone anything. I have not talked to Kim since I spoke with her on the bus over four years ago. I ran into Tonetta at the gas station about two years ago. As far as Ben, I have not seen him since the days of marching band and as you probably know it has been over eight years for me. I know that would be kind of weird if my ex had issues like that. Don't mind me I look at this from a different light maybe not paying attention to the details of the blog post.

November 21, 2005 at 1:12 AM  

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