28 May 2009

Once more into the fray

So I stopped by today. She was chatting with her mailman--Steve, because she uses people's names.

Since she greeted me by name, Steve said, "Hi, Claire."

When he left to resume his route, Carrie said, "Say, 'Bye, Steve,'" so her toddler and I both called out, "Bye, Steve," after him. She laughed.

As she took things inside from the porch to close up, we had a conversation that for once was not just a series of sporadic snippets. This made it significantly easier for me to think and talk. In the flow of it, she casually mentioned her husband. I was relieved because it meant I no longer had to mull over the possibility of dating someone with kids. [Also, the tight jeans can go back in the closet. If not for Chala, I wouldn't even own a pair. Must confess Paper, Denim, Cloth is pretty comfy as long as you keep your pockets empty.]

Turns out we've both lived in CA before, having various opinions on its coastal towns and cities. When I said I prefer LA to SF, she looked stunned and said, "I don't know if we can be friends now."

I drew out an "Aw" to show that I hoped she wasn't serious. Then we compared notes on other CA towns.

She needed to finish closing so she could pick up her older daughter, but she said, "Will you come back tomorrow? I just got some cool new stuff in."

I looked at her for a moment and then said, "I'll try."

I meant it.

This outcome may seem anticlimactic, but I was proud of myself for following it through. For a time, I was able to tap into the self-possessed version of Claire I aspire to, not by pretending to be someone else but by letting that which usually makes me uncomfortable just be without judgment. If I can manage to hang onto that, there might be some great things ahead.

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