I am in my new apartment, my new home, sitting in my low slung, slouchy chair next to my coffee table, drinking peppermint tea, having just finished off the leftover half-chicken and roasted vegetables SK brought over last night. I’m stuffed. My Sunday New York Times is beside me on the coffee table and beside it is a two-inch thick Social Security file and a yellow highlighter. I need to be reading the middle chunk of that file, the part that contains the medical records, and highlighting the golden nuggets so I can later come back and, as succintly as possible, summarize those records. I should’ve been working on this project all week, but I haven’t looked at it since I left bird-lady’s last Saturday night. And I don’t want to look at it now. I want to listen to KMHD Jazz and read the Times and I want to keep unpacking, organizing, arranging, clearing, cleaning, settling, nesting. I want to lay on my bed in the next room and just stare out across my little apartment, absorbing it all, letting it all sink in.
My space. This is my space. I can stay here as long as I want. I can get comfortable. I can relax. I was telling SK this morning that sinking in here, finally relaxing, makes me feel like having a breakdown. I would call it a healing crisis -- what I call it when the body waits for a safe time to freak out. It happens to us all in school -- we struggle through a hard semester and grueling exams and then, the first day of winter break, the first day after the last exam, we’re struck by some horrible flu or walking pneumonia or stomach virus. We’ve held on and held on as we trudged through the hard stuff, then suddenly we let down our burden and burst into tears. It’s like crying when someone says something nice. It’s like that.
I had a knock at my door just a bit ago and you’ll never guess who it was. It was one of the movers. The stocky one with the bad trucker hat and the good trucker moustache. Oh the tragically hip Portland kids. He was standing there with his motobecane bicycle hoisted on his shoulder. He thought I might like to see *his* motobecane bicycle, since he had seen *my* motobecane bicycle. He has seriously misjudged my interest in bicycles. He also wondered if I would like to take a bicycle ride with him.
Oh my god, how novel boys are! Doesn’t my lesbian-ness just pour off me in waves? Maybe not now that my hair has grown back out. But really, he moved me! And not in an emotional/sexual way. In a U-Haul way. He’s seen all my books, the stickers on my car, he heard me bitching about CB as he was carrying my junk out of her house. What does he want? What is he thinking? I was flattered and perplexed and annoyed. I do not like to be dropped in on and I’m sure my body language made that quite clear as I stood in the door just staring at him, brow furrowed. But what I did, rather than tell him flatly to go away, was I invited him in for just a moment to see how I’d arranged things. And I gave him my phone number.
I felt like a piano teacher or an aunt or something. I said, “Here is my number. Next time you think you want to go on a bicycle ride, call me first.” My tone, I hope, did not convey the excitement of a young woman hoping to be wooed by a bicycling Portland hipster. There was no exclamation point at the end of the statement. My tone, I hope, conveyed that a boundary was being set, not that an invitation was being made. My tone, I hope, said “Do not drop in on me again,” while still leaving the boy a small window of opportunity. I don’t want to make him go away. I want to see what he wants. I’ll make him go away when and if he becomes troublesome or annoying. For now, I’ll study his behavior, if there is any after this encounter. How odd.