Thursday, February 11, 2010

Masquerade at Home

(Home for a few days.)

Up for air. Oxford was a whirlwind. I worked for two days straight, then Chris arrived, calming me. We stayed at my friend's place in the county, a B&B in the former location of a hunting lodge. I always feel comfortable in that place. My earliest memories of a meal there was at dusk. The walls, a creamy white wood tongue and groove, combined with the airy overhead mast created a dreamy place where I could dine and converse quietly with my companions.

I don't know how C.B. and I became friends, but it happened the same way you fall in love. Isn't that how good friendships begin after all. She was overseeing a rehearsal dinner for a wedding I was playing the part of bridesmaid. From the outside, she saw my dedication to this affair while the bride-to-be seemed to overlook it. I couldn't live up to the bride's expectations no matter how hard I tried, and by the end of the wedding weekend, we quit talking to each other. It's remained that way, more or less, ever since. As misunderstandings go, the bride and I were never able to make amends. I felt slighted, she didn't feel waited enough upon, and I let go. She did too in her own way. Yet out of this tragedy (because it is tragic to lose a friend) I discovered a new friendship.

C.B. lives in the restaurant she and her husband own. Well, they live above it anyway. Only this last visit did I realize how difficult this must be. People in your home most every day and at every hour. I think of myself cringing at times when I come home and there is a foreign car parked our driveway. I put my happy face on, and for a moment, entertain the guest, whoever they might be. I feign happiness despite getting in an accident or getting laid off when all I want to do is cry.

I wonder how we can live in places where masks are worn as often as the clothes on our backs. I think of my friend and what I can offer her. Recognition maybe or perhaps I can just tell her, "Yes, I know you. I"m glad you get me."

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