So Ike ripped Houston a new one and here inland we got a run of sweet, cool weather. Sorry, Houston. Way to take one for the team. It'll get hot again, one more time. We all know this. Summer will give us one more run for its money, but it's days are numbered and it's like a different world now.
At the laundromat yesterday people were smiling and holding the doors for each other and a girl no higher than my waist with pink overalls and a long french braid watched me over the counter while I folded clothes and asked me if I was a teenager, and then how old I was and if I had any children and if I did have any children would they be boys or girls and what would their names be? I was loving her for her deep, old eyes and her shy, slow smile. When her mother came and took her hand and told her it was time to go we waved goodbye for a long time.
On Saturday C. and I had a fight, a big one. Over nothing, over whether it is OK for one of us to cross the road without the other while we are bicycling, and then we were out in the yard yelling at each other for all the neighbors to hear and then I got back on my bike and rode away. All day the edges of the hurricane system were blowing over us -- scraps of clouds going unnaturally fast, long banks of gray hanging in the sky like the bellies of pigs. We never got a drop of rain.
On Friday I fired Josh. He doesn't do the things he says he'll do any more. When he told me at the last minute that he couldn't make the job we'd scheduled I felt the second of total calm I feel before I get furious and then I fired him in three short sentences that ended with "fucking unacceptable" and hanging up the phone. I don't know that I've ever ended a conversation like that in my life, ever. Not with Josh, not even when we were sleeping together. Before C. I wasn't really one to fight with lovers. Fighting isn't worth it unless there's something serious at stake. Sleeping arrangements aren't that serious.
The project is serious. I've worked too hard to get tripped up by someone else's sloppiness, I don't care who it is. I don't know what the matter is with Josh. I don't know if he's doing coke again or if he just thinks he can't fired because we used to fuck. It doesn't really matter why. I'd drive myself crazy if I let myself care. I'll never understand him any better than I'll ever understand myself. I feel quite cold about it, and relieved to feel that way. Not everything can be my problem.
I fight with C. because I'm serious. Because I can't leave him, won't leave him. Because we love each other so much that we're stuck with each other and so we have to make it work. No picking up stakes and moving on and finding someone else who won't zoom through a yellow light ahead of me and leave me stuck. I fight about stupid things, because I'm still learning. And maybe because there's something in the air, some kind of hurricane mojo, the freakishness of waiting for something to hit you that never hits you, because the day before they were telling us to buy bottled water and hunker down and now it isn't even raining.
I rode my bike through the dark, headed nowhere, turning right and left at random. For a while I felt pleasantly disconnected and free, but then it caught up with me -- the anger and the boredom and the loneliness. And I thought, if I were a man I would go to a strip club now. And I thought, no wonder they are such depressing places to be.
I stopped at a bar in a neighborhood a long way from mine and I had a beer and then C. called my phone and I answered and he said, "I'm sorry. We'll figure it out. We'll make a list of rules for riding bikes. We're smart people and it can't be this hard."
I say I'm sorry, too and I'll be home soon and C. says to take my time. I try to take my time but I can't wait, so I slam my beer and coast home in a happy haze. C. meets me at the door and we lie in bed for a long time without talking. Over and over again I think I hear rain, but it's only wind. And when we wake up all the clouds are gone.