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Archive for January, 2004

 
|| January 26, 2004 || 8:26 am || Comments (1) ||

My plans for world domination, part one

Look, everyone knows that a good despot can’t overthrow all the world superpowers simultaneously and assume absolute control on less than eight hours’ sleep.

So that’s why, when my children woke me at six-fifty ay emm with looks of defeat as Scout said, “Momma, we missed the bus,” I sighed heavily and reached for my robe.

“I had planned to sleep till eight,” I muttered to Maxim.

“There go my plans for world domination.”

 
|| January 25, 2004 || 10:22 am || Comments (6) ||

Official Call For Entries

Okay, if you are a longtime reader here at [Abuantg.], you will recall that I posted some of my more light-hearted, flippant lyrics just before Christmas.

Welp, darling Muffinasses, I’ve a reader contribution to share with you because of that post. Yes indeedy, our own theDane (upon whose site I just got through yelling at and berating someone for their idiocy, if you like to see that sort of thing; he did a neat play-by-play of it and EVerything! also, I hepped him with PhotoShop Tennis, which is an awesomely cool thing) jumped right on those lyrics and recorded his musical interpretation of them.

I can’t get over how much theDane sounds like theDuke when he sings, especially in that first verse there. It’s utterly amazing.

Okay, let’s wrap this up. If the rest of you yayhoos lovely folks want to take a stab at ‘My Heart’ (AHHHHAHahaha, I kill me!), I fully invite you to and ask that you send me the results. If I have, say, four or more submissions (including theDane’s), we’ll make a little contest out of it, whereupon the entire Kingdom of Superior will turn out to vote, and the winner by popular opinion and wholesale bribery of yours truly will be eligible for all SORTS of prizey goodness!

Ready, break!

 
|| January 23, 2004 || 10:33 pm || Comments (3) ||

Heads up, fellas.

One of the sites (hi, sweet J-Mo) on one of Davey’s servers was hit with a DDoS attack yesterday.

Read all about it, and then tell all your bloggy friends, especially ones that heart MT.

Call it mystical, call it divine, call it whatever you want, but I’ve seen The Shine.
(or, alternately titled “Tuned In Like A Motherfucker.”)

A few weeks ago I slapped up a particularly angsty post (You: “But which? You do so many of them.” Me: This one here. Smart-ayy. Just try and keep up, alright?” You: “Okay, we digress.” Me: “Oh HELL. Shaddap already. I’m tellin’ a tale, it’s late, and I MUST go to bed soon!” You: “Look, stop freaking out and just say what you came here to say. I’m showing a great deal of bravado in mouthing off to you, but I really quiver in fear, as I know you’ll rip my entrails out without much thought and feed them to the chickens in that farmtown where you live.” Me: “You dig okay, baby.”) that initially started out as a Christmas letter to a pal and ended up being so farging dark that I daren’t send it and cast a pall over his holiday season. (Ross! Newest letter is clocking in at four pages, and is still a work in progress! I know, I suck!)

So, lucky you and you and you, too!…I posted it here. In it I spoke of emotional investment and frustration and a feeling of impotence, but there was also an eensy kernel of hope-slash-lightness there:

“All this is such a contrast to how I felt just last night — upon exiting my car under the hazy glow of streetlights, I paused a moment to just breathe. I turned my face up to the rain, its tiny droplets cold and soothing on my cheekbones, my forehead, and felt like a still, small part of something immense and important. I closed my eyes there in the dark and felt love; for a brief moment all the ‘busy’ flew away from me and I knew peace.

“Oh, to live in the midst of that feeling all the time…”

Welp, I learned something about that today, but I’ll get back to that here in a minute.

At the end of that post, a reader that whose name you might recognize wrote something that hung with me, so I put a call out to ole Bakey (the ever-impressive and long-contained Bakelite Lung…that is the coolest nick ever) to contact me via e-mail. Here is the bit that Bakey wrote that snagged my attentions and moved me to make this request a bit after he did so:

“I only know you a little teensy bit but I think you are practicing a Calling.”

Just like that: ‘Calling’, with a cappilull cee. Thus lending it importance and more weight, you see.

Oddly enough, a gentleman that knows nothing about me had approached me not long before that and said, “God told me to tell you that are to be a voice for those that don’t really have one.” There were other things, more detailed things, but for now we’ll just leave it at that, as it was the meat of the matter. Threw me for a loop, because you see, I had been praying about purpose and potential and promise and a whole host of heavy-assed ‘p’ words not fervently, but consistently and from the still, deep place in my heart that I sometimes hide (quite to my own detriment) from even myself.

So quite suddenly and stunningly, we had a theme. A short-running one, but a theme nonetheless.

Now me, I’m prone to all sorts of means of self-destruction, not the least of which is my super-duper, patented Flee The Scene To Avoid A Psychotic Breaktm. Thus my compulsions to do all sorts of neat things like drive too fast and take drugs and travel extensively. You could say that I’ve grown up a lot in the last half-dozen years by virtue of the fact that I’ve lived in the same state (and even county!) for that length of time. I may have forced myself to do it for whatever reason, may have bitched and squirmed, but I have byGod done it. Oh yeah, there’s the also-painful dismissal of cocaine thing, too.

So my urge is to bolt emotionally, to detach myself from any such foolish notions, but instead I quite remarkably said (internally, of course), “Okay, Father. Let’s rock&roll.” and sat quietly –uncharacteristically patient– and waited. I’d never done that before, never just given over. But I’m getting ahead of myself, the words free-falling and going all wompus in my effort to tell all the details.

See, I’m one of those people marked from birth. Call me crazy if you will, drive the stake in the ground and start gathering up the kindling; I don’t care anymore. I’ve been running from the time I came out squalling from between my mother’s thighs. She tells me and everybody who’ll take note that I held my own head up, looked around angrily and screamed bloody murder and defiance. For a long time I mildly and amusedly dismissed this as Southern Momma Myth, but old Doctor Kirkman confirmed this for me unequivocally, and that man was a shit liar (just like me) and quit trying early on for lack of skill (just like me).

I’ve known since I was little that I’m different. Not really any more special than the next guy, but different. Set aside for a particular task that aims to help or guide a few (okay, a lot) of people. Marked. I’ve always, always known this, always felt God’s tug on my heart, His presence in my life, always been both comforted and –in a strange, smallish way– tortured by this. Not the mere notion of this, oh no, but the thing itself. All big, powerful things (and by that, I mean love) are like this. If you don’t know that fact by now, then you’re not fucking learning fast enough, kid.

So now I’m in this holding pattern, after having gone all these years saying, “Okay God, what is it you want me to do?” while He was saying, “You say yes to my Call, girl (AHHhahaha, callgirl), and I will show you. Boy, howdy, will I ever SHOW you!” This said not like a threat, but delivered with a warm and broad smile. HOWEVER, I have always been afraid to just give over: To just give over absolute control to anyone or anything is a BIG SCARY THING to a girl who came out of the womb with head up, eyes open and screaming hell no from minute go. But finally something in me clicked and I was all, “Hey, I incorporate fearlessness into my life as a rule. Why am I letting fear overtake me when I know that if I follow the plan, then I’m slated to win?” God don’t let you lose. That’s not the stuff He is made of. It’s a shame that more churches don’t teach that, don’t state it that cleanly. There’d be a lot fewer sad, horrified people in the world if the word was taught as it was given: With love and kind regard for us, the most prized of all God’s creatures.

(And you know what? I know all the naysayers are gonna come knocking and that’s okay, too. We are all scared and confused, no matter how much information we have, no matter what our belief system. It’s okay for you to believe as you do and it’s okay for me to believe as I do and we can still be buddies, we can still share a biscuit and a pull off the jug together without going all ‘Enemy Mine’ on one another. God loves me, He loves you; why would you want to shoot down someone offering love sans judgement? It’s not my place to judge, man. It’s my role to learn and to grow. If I’m impeding your growth (whatever it may be) by shaking a finger and hollering ‘NONONONO!’ then I’m just damning myself. I’ve had it done to me and patently don’t like it; I avoid doing it to others at all costs.)

(Please know, however, that if you come around here acting all chest-beaty and bullshitty to me, I won’t simply turn the other cheek fifteen times and go, “Oh (s)he’s just a vile sinner and cannot help it.” For shitsakes, you are an adult, and when someone greets you warmly, you don’t spit on their lapels and hop around waiting for a fight while not really, truly expecting one, if you know what I mean. Christians are supposed to forgive, yes, but how can you offer up forgiveness if none is asked of you? Even God Hisownself requires the askin’, and I’m certainly no better than him in style and grace. You know, for the record and all.)

Okay, so back around to the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to respond to BL’s e-mail of ’so, whatchoo need, girl?’ just then. Sort of an eedle throwback to the whole Flee The Scene To Avoid A Psychotic Breaktm thing. But it’s all been sort of coalescing, and this is my response, sort of, all of this, and the part that I’m telling now. There were sets of circumstances that brought me in contact with three people today, just in the normal course of my (achingly busy) day. One I’d never, ever met before but made an almost-compulsive gesture to (I’ll write more on this later). One I know in passing, sort of a quasi-acquaintence-through-bidness/potential Rilly Good Friend. One I know quite well, and we have a relationship of really deep love and respect (you know that friend, the one where you go all, “HEY! Look who’s coming up the walk, HOORAY!” when you see them). I interacted briefly with all these people in what seemed to be innocuous ways, dong my thang, grooving my groove, just being. You know. Just, well…being.

Phenomenally, each and every one of them called me up (in the exact order we had interacted, I might add) to say something along these lines:

“WOW. How great it was that we spoke today. What you had to say was like a sign.
“There are things that happen really unexpectedly, and there’s no way you can chalk them up to coincidence.
“I needed to see you today; somehow you addressed exactly what was going on with me. It was wonderful!”

One of them delivered it their message to me with excitement, one with exhausted relief and one through joyful tears.

One I would have called chance. Two I might have dubbed as coincidence. At three, however, I have to give props. It’s like I’m getting little progress reports, since I’m new at this Truly Listening thing. God is taking time out of having to deal with all the fucked-up, grody shit that’s going on to tell me that my patience and submission are indubitably rewarded and to remind me that I’m part of His plan in what may be life-changing ways even when I’m not really even paying attention.

I’m learning, I think I just may be beginning to evolve, I’m joyful and –as always– I’m so very blessed. That last one, make no mistake, I’ve never, ever lost sight of.

Be still,” is what CNL told me a few days ago, both over the phone and in the comments here. What I hesitated to tell her is that I have been being still, just simply waiting. Not straining an ear, not struggling to listen like an ADD kid in math class as I once foolishly did, but with a still heart and mind. It’s translated itself thusly: I’ve been living my life with much more energy (on even less sleep, remarkably), a peaceful, fluid inside replacing the jaggedy one I’ve carried for so long. Just by virtue of saying that one little phrase that I’ve been batting away for far too many years: “Okay, Father. Let’s rock&roll.”

Boy, the payoff thus far has been rich, and I’m only just getting started.

(thematic musics.)

 
|| January 21, 2004 || 9:09 am || Comments (12) ||

Tiny magicks are born of necessity.

So there I was yesterday, lined up at a lab table with all of the rest of the Anatomy II college cattle, furiously scribbling notes from the lecture being delivered. My hair (which now stretches down my back and likes about another four inches –a figure I’m impatiently thinking of scrapping– before I reach my personal goal…then I will hack it off and send it to Locks of Love), which is undeniably –though sometimes pleasantly– thick and heavy, was getting on my nerves something fierce. I fished around in the voluminous pockets of my ODgreen satchel and triumphantly brought forth a natural wood pencil. Then I quickly twisted my hair, wrapped it around the pencil a couple-three times and brought the pencil up, stabbing it through the hair next to my head to make a makeshift bun. This was something I didn’t think much about at the time. Satisfied and with hair up and out of the way, I was better able to pay attention to the very detailed information on blood that I was being given.

After class, I gathered up my things, shrugged on my coat and was out the door when a sloppy-cute nineteen-or-thereabouts fella caught me in the hall.

That was awesome,” he said to me through a small grin.
“What? What was?”
His index finger drew little circles in the air, “The pencil-hair thing. I watched you do it, and how cool!” This, as you might imagine, amused me. I am fond of tiny magicks, as well; I tend to look at things in wonder that others take for granted.

He then went on to ask a couple questions about the tat on the back of my neck before we bid one another a good day and headed off in opposite directions. As I boogied to my next class (it was cold, so co-ollld yesterday), I got to thinkin’ on the small little tricks of the trade that being a female entails. You know, little things born of necessity and/or inconvenience and/or lack of necessary materials at hand.

One time, two girlfriends and I were strolling across Millington NAS, headed for something to eat at the snack bar. Normally we skirted around the (mostly Navy) barracks, but that day we were in a hurry, so we cut through the middle. About halfway through our half-mile walk, we came up on four guys kicking a hacky sack around in the middle of the wide sidewalk. Catt, my best friend, began to bounce around.

“Ooooh, I wanna play!”

The fellas, of course, acquiesced and asked Alex and me if we wanted to play, as well. I looked down at my outfit with pursed lips, for while I was wearing boots and a linen tank top, I was also wearing a mini skirt. I gestured with my hands to illustrate that my attire was inappropriate for such an undertaking.

“Can’t play in this, fellas.” One guy who looked all of fifteen and like he was just pulled from his mother’s teat perked up. “Hey! I have some shorts upstairs in my room, if you wanna wear those.”

“They clean?” I countered. I may be a risk-taker, but I do have certain standards of hygiene. He raised a hand Boy Scout-style and swore his oath to it.

“Okay,” said I, “bring ‘em here and I’ll change.”

“Um,” one of them answered, “females aren’t allowed on deck.” He was telling me that I couldn’t utilize the facilities in his barracks ’cause I were a girl, but I already knew this.

“I know,” says I, “I’ma change right here.”

“Right here?” one of them asked incredulously. He was the one whose heart I would unknowingly and quite haphazardly go on to break later on, but that’s another story for another time.

“Ayuh,” I replied, “right here.”

“No, really,” the boy I came to know as Brian sailed back. I assured him that it was indeed so. This caused a mild ripple of titillation (scandal most always does) throughout the male segment of our little newly-formed group and sent the Boy Scout flying away toward the innards of the barracks. My own companions were unmoved.

When he returned with a longish, baggy pair of Jams (remember those? The wildly-patterned board shorts of the late eighties?), he handed them to me expectantly, waiting with his compatriots for the show of seventeen-year old flesh that was sure to commence. I took them with no hesitation.

I neatly stepped into the shorts, pulled them up across my thighs, then reached down under the waistband of my skirt to yank the shorts the rest of the way up. When they were seated across my hips, I unzipped my skirt and removed it. The guys all groaned in ‘We’ve Been Haaaaad’ disappointment (save for Brian, who was Quite Amused at my resourcefulness) after a moment of slack-jawed silence. The latter was, I assume, in order to give their brains a moment to shift from the ‘lech’ back to the ‘think now’ mode.

Some men adore the remove-bra-while-leaving-shirt-on trick, and I’ll agree that it is a nifty one. I was quite pleased with myself when I mastered it at age twelve….a little coming-of-age ritual, if you will. However, for me personally it will never top the on-the-spot performance of the Magic Disappearing Mini that a handful of sailors witnessed on a nice spring day in nineteen eighty-eight.

 
|| January 19, 2004 || 11:15 pm || Comments (12) ||

“Here am I making sure you get your share…”

I admit it! I watched VH1’s ‘Bands Reunited’ tonght. I tuned in on a whim, and much to my delight, the attempted reunion of eighties band Berlin was the series lead-off. I used to love this band with a passion (due in great part to Terri Nunn’s nummy voice) and grieved when ‘Take My Breath Away’ was tagged for the ‘Top Gun’ soundtrack. I knew for the most part that it would be the beginning of the end for them.

I adore their album ‘Love Life’. It has the proud distinction of being one of the first compact discs I ever owned (I bought it on cassette as well), thus making it one of the oldest in my collection from a purchase standpoint. It’s one of those albums that, when I pull it out, I listen to obsessively for a couple weeks because it’s just so damned good from start to finish (while I’m thinking about it, ditto for INXS’s ‘Kick’). Oddly enough, I unshelved it about two weeks ago and have been shimmying around the house to it since then.

It’s strange, the way their reunion touched me; maybe this marks me as a geezer, but I fully related to the trepidation of reuniting with someone that has been placed at a distance because of time and geography and (most importantly) emotion. You know in your heart and entrails that it could be magic or maudlin, but you’re not quite sure which: ‘Welcome to the cliff. Now please step off and see if you are dashed to smithereeeeens. Oh yeah, there’s a chance you could float, as well.’

sidenote: M’dearest Dave Diamond, You are the FIRE for kissing Nunn’s tits upon first seeing her again. Love, Your Pal Jett /sidenote

I’m glad these guys got together. It made my day, in a strange sort of way. In another curious bit of serendipity, I see that Romeo Void is the next episode (I look forward to this one, as well); on my way back from my parents’ after the holidays, I happened to pick up one of their albums for two bucks at a little shop on the edge of nowhere. It seems the yokels don’t appreciate punchy, engaging lyrics, YAY ME!

I’m liking the notion of this series, and fully plan on tuning in for the Flock of Seagulls (they played 5 Points Music Hall back in ‘96, which I garnered free tix to), Frankie Goes To Hollywood (another one I pulled out a couple weeks ago…it’s been eighties flashback month here in the World O’ Superior, I swear), The Alarm and (ooooh, torn on this one) maybe even Extreme episodes. Not that I watch much, anyway, but finally something tasty in the stagnant pool of teevee!

Nothin’s gonna top the Berlin show for me personally, however. Terri Nunn, you be looking goooood, girl. And John? Your self-conscious reticence was sweetly endearing. Thanks for the fresh moment, y’all, and for the musical memories.

“….who is prone to rambling, Irish-tinged monologues….”

I make an excellent drunkard. This is because –unlike chemicals of a powdered and/or encapsulated nature– alcohol doesn’t have the word ‘addiction’ toe-tagged onto it where I’m concerned.

I take issue with the word bartender. After all, a bartender doesn’t tend to a bar, he tends to people and keeps a bar. Let us eradicate ‘bartender’ from our storehouse of language and supplant it with the age-old and dignified ‘barkeep’. Barkeep: Keeper of the Bar, Tender of People. Yes, I quite like that.

My excited, two-fisted days are over. I don’t know when this subtle shift occurred, but no matter: I know this, and unlike some, the knowledge brings no measure of sadness; I am a pleasantly warm drunk now. I call friends and say things like, “A real gentleman is there to answer the phone when a lady calls, all trucked-up on Bacchanalia.” (okay, I don’t remember saying that, but my speech does tend to get flowery and grandiose when I’ve supped of the nectar, so I believe him when he tells me this.) To imbibe beyond reason these days is like a slow, soulful dance between lovers, sensual and deep, where onceuponatime it was a frenetic impassioned affair. I was often the one abstaining from the pint (or hell, straight from the bottle itself) because of that; the end of an evening found me many times rounding up girlfriends sporting various degrees of buzz in order to roll them out of the car and onto their front lawns. Despite what their parents had to say about that, I never once stated the obvious to their obnoxious faces: The fact was, every one of those girls made it home alive and well weekend after weekend; none of them ever was raped or impregnated or got blood alcohol poisoning on my watch. None of them ever ran off into the sunset with any Toms, Dicks or Navy Boys they might encounter. And they made curfew without fail, as well.

When the shoe was on the other foot, however, it took all four of my Companionship Quartet staying stone sober to keep up with me. I was one big ‘Hellooooooo.’ and friendly wave toward the whole world.

“Helloooooo.”

I’ve always liked a party, and I’ve always wanted everyone to be In On The Joke. I’ve always wanted a drink to be a celebration for those around me, rather than being the fallback or the coping mechanism for sorrow or their sole road to a backbone. If you’re one of those people, you simply shouldn’t drink. You’re doing more than the body harm that way; you’re marring the spirit.

Funny, the exchanges that occur when you have a drink in your hand. People somehow feel that you are more easily approached, even if by all appearances you are content. Take early this evening for example: I was sitting in my favorite Mexican eatery, munching on a fajita and intently, interestedly eating a book up with my eyes. A big, fat margarita was sitting in front of me (the waiter had served it in a swirly blue martini glass, effectively making it a martini-ita, I suppose) and I was leisurely sipping at it (my third, maybe?) as I lightly turned the pages of my book, brow furrowing and raising delightedly in turns. A big ole boy to my left got my attention. He had red hair and a little boy’s face.

“Did you know that your mouth makes a perfect bow when you smile wide?”

He said this to me presumably because I’d just read a particularly amusing tidbit in my book. He sat with a companion possessed of broad shoulders and good hands (it’s habit…my eyes always, always drop to the hands. I’m a Hand Girl) and loud green eyes. I’ve no idea how long they’d been observing me.

“I guess that’s fitting,” I said, looking sidelong at Redhair, “because words are my arrows.”

“You must make Cupid sad, moving in on his job like that.” I tipped my glass toward him and winked.

His friend added in a soft –as in mild– voice, “You sure are pretty when you drink.” This was delivered not at all in the creepy manner or with the grody subtext that one (you, precious reader) might think, but was disarmingly genuine…and maybe surprised him that he even said it. And I can see why he’d say such a thing. When I drink my Irish betrays me (florid patches bloom up in my cheeks and my manner of speech), as does my Italian (my shoulders go even straighter and the smiles are more free). When I have a couple in me, I’m less brash and more serene.

Only one person has ever brought about a less-than-stellar reaction when I’ve had the drink in me, and that’s the mysterious ‘He’ that I sometimes allude to here in wordy missives and staccato, disjointed phrases. He and I are so much alike in so many key ways, and that alikeness has cost us a time or two: In our dreadful, selfish and capricious youth we romped on one another pretty hard at times. Being so alike in terms of temperament and ego and pride made us privy to buttons that others had no inkling of, and we didn’t just press those buttons, we laid on them hard during those moments where insecurity and foolishness met to shake hands.

Ours was an affair best left to fervent secrecy, and this was a goofy notion at best. If we were within a hundred yards of one another, the air crackled and we were transparent in our detestable lovesickness. One night I was at my club of employ, pounding one back right after another. So much so that there were hurried conferences going on in corners between Alex and Becky and Catt and Jacquie:
“You tell her to stop.”
“No-oooo, you tell her to stop.”
“Look, she won’t hit you. She never brawls while wearing a skirt.”
(and they were right…there was simple logic behind this: My mother would simply die if I were ever locked in a scramble while decked out in nylons and heels)
Eventually someone was successful in peeling me away from the barkeep, Mike, who was well-practiced in The Bottomless Glass. Mikey was a farging PRO, I tell ya.

We were gathered along one wall, conversing with some friends, when I caught sight of Him chatting up a ‘well-known’ regular. He looked pointedly at me, a hard look, and this brought about some mild indignation, because only I am allowed to shoot that look and get away with it. He made a large show of enjoying himself, while I patently did not make a large show of clenching the glass settled in my fist ever tighter. I was so drunk that I did not notice him navigating her deftly across the room little by little until they were some five feet from us in the crowd, Enjoying Themselves Like Hell. I had only just noticed when my friends began to stiffen a bit both from nervousness and proxy indignation.

About the time sweet, daft Jacquie punctured the tension with a question, “What’s her name again?” (“Robin,” Alex answered her impatiently and flatly while sharply jabbing her ribs) I registered the facts that, Yes, Here He IS, and Yes, He’s Trying To Mash My Buttons. My inhibitions significantly lowered, my usual prideful control out the window, I threw my perfectly good drink at him, and when a smattering of liquid only wet his arm rather than the sternum it was intended for, I was so incensed that I let fly my glass.

Most drawnks don’t make good pitchers, but I was no slouch, and fury is a fine, fine targeting system in someone who saves her blows for when they count. Had he not been so quick, I’d have nailed him square in the windpipe, but that infuriating fucker ducked clean down and came back up, laughing and with eyebrows raised. (I’m sorry, so sorry you-know-who that I hit you with that glass…I don’t recall if I ever apologizing to you for that, but I hope you ultimately chalked it up to a Fine, Fun Wild Navy Memory)

“HOKAY,” my very best friend and resident savior, Catt, announced, “it’s time we said ‘adieu‘.” Catt was ‘arty’ and was always peppering her sentences with mismatched foreign phrasings, all out of syntax and all out of sense. It was one of my favorite corny things about her, although on anyone else it would have rubbed me all, all wrong. So suddenly I was at the crest of a wave of people pushing toward the front door to retrieve the IDs held in check, but mostly to help me retrieve my dignity, which seemed to be far afield. Ah, friendship.

In the L-shaped parking lot sudden fury seized me again and I hurled my lighter blindly into one of its darkest corners. Owing to my drunken, emotional state, I immediately began blubbering and babbling some nonsense and my friends were very, very patient with me, setting out to find my lost lighter while I stood swaying in the breeze, waiting to fall over or be hit by a car. Either was a very real possibility.

This is how He found me –swaying and squint-eyed– as He took long strides toward me. One minute He was not there, and the next I turned and He was, and not for the first time I was speechless in His presence, Him looking down at me with those outstanding green eyes.

“Hey there,” he said, tucking the right corner of his mouth In That Way. Smarmy, imperious fucker.

“You sonofabitch,” I replied, and my palm cracked vicious against the left side of his face. At this, he offered me a hard little smile, whereupon I looked at him with a rich mixture of hurt and fury. Then he folded me into his arms and spoke sweetness into the top of my head.

(Years later he would ask me if I remembered that evening. Of course, was my reply. He told me that he knew I was going to hit him; he could see it coming. Why did you let me, then? was what I asked, and his response was that he knew that he’d deserved it, so he just steeled himself for it. “It hurt like fucking hell,” he told me, “Girl, you hit me hard. You hit me hard, but my head didn’t move one inch.” So apparently he took it like a man in all arenas that night. And apparently I’m the only person who’s ever struck his face and gotten away scot-free, according to him.)

I ran into Robin in the bathroom the following night on a break in my set. I didn’t coolly regard her or seethingly disregard her; there was a surprising lack of reaction there. But on some level I guess I just knew, even before she quite amazingly and maturely opened her mouth to speak it.

“I’ve never seen a man love a woman as much as He loves you.” She said it with a sort of quiet resolve and just a tinge of sadness, and all I could do was look at her, my lipstick-holding hand suspended there in midair, as she turned and walked out. I went out to the bar area to speak with Mike.

“See that girl over there?” I thumbed in Robin’s direction and he nodded.

“Cover her tab tonight. I’ll settle up with you before we close.”

(hit it.)