…And what about the time we had dinner with Steward & Tracy at Vanessi’s. And you made a slick move to get us a table fast by pretending to have called earlier, before the evening crew got on, & made reservations. Fascinating, but made me nervous. Always made me nervous when you moved too fast; the experience being it usually ended up in some kind of disaster. And it was a nice Friday summer evening, even though I could feel you were uneasy being on “our” turf downtown, where pinstripes talk louder than muscles. I of course should have been alarmed hearing you’d taken a beer at the bar at the Holding Company (or was it Enzo’s?). Not until this writing moment does it occur to me it was probably not just one & most likely not the first one that day either. Anyhow, “Jazz Live at the Embarcadero” soothed my nerves; nice to see Terry & Steward and not too many bad things can happen when they’re around. Ha! “Come fly with me, oh, you space cadet of my dreams.”
In our booth at Vanessi’s we order our food. We order some wine. And I turn to you to complete the order with what you want to drink. Almost without vibration, no hesitation and in a matter-of-facty way; like I had only asked out of politeness, completely without recognition of my what must have been absolutely stunning amazement, plus maybe a slight chock, you said “Oh, I’ll just have wine too.” To my stuttering “But you don’t drink wine” you provided me with the quite obvious, unbelievable fact that tonight you indeed were. Indeed so.
Somewhere half way through the whatever “a la carbonara” you were vividly arguing your favorite piece (to my immediate knowledge your only piece) of politics. The one parade passage on how the U.S. should handle foreign immigration. Already before you connected your viewpoints on that, with the simple but to the Senate still undiscovered solution to unemployment, taxes & general linguistic welfare I was ready to slide down from my corner seat. Down under the table & pray that you’d keep talking long enough so I could crawl away. So great was my embarrassment that if all else failed I was ready to put the dangling mass of pasta over my head & hide like under a wig. At least that would most certainly have shifted the attention of our company, that now instead sat with open mouths & widened eyes with a curious look of disbelief that they were actually hearing this. A fork lifted halfway & never getting any closer to the end of the journey, slowly sinking back to the plate, a nice piece of veal now cold back to where it came from.
To the marketing manager of PacTel, a multiple times world traveler with working experience from a number of countries & a hard earned MBA, and to his wife with dual citizenship of Great Britain and Australia & to your own Resident Alien wife you’re fearlessly moving on with your exclusive thoughts on how immigration should be limited, how stupid people are that do not communicate in English & a lot of rednecked arguments that I due to extreme effort have blocked out of my available memory. By the time you had worked your single-handed (minded) argument up to El Grand Finale all other activity at our table had ceased and at the brilliant conclusion: “Nobody should be allowed in to the country before they’d not only learned English, but gotten rid of their accent” I dared to peek and literally saw my friends’ chins drop. You smiled and at that point you could just as well had eaten the whole meal with your knife only. The immediate uneasiness was interrupted by a waiter. Nothing to add, nothing to say. The Zabaglione dessert was a formality. I thought: never again.
…And do you remember the crayfish party in the garden? When I had 23 friends for an outdoors sit-down dinner. With long, decorated tables, colored lanterns in the trees, party hats, color coordinated tablecloths, plates, glasses in red & green, bibs… Specially ordered crayfish that I cooked (even found some crown dill) and arranged on those huge plates. Specially found cheese that almost tasted like the real Swedish stuff. All the songs printed up. The juggler I hired to perform before we ate. Some of my Swedish friends came from L. A. & Saratoga. Your “buddy” that brought crack (or whatever). And you got so drunk you spent half the time throwing up. If I hadn’t been so busy being a hostess & not so used to being hosting parties myself, I might have thrown up too. Of mere disgust of your conduct. Only my drive to have the party kept me from too much missing your participation & the lack of having somebody to help me. I thought: next time I’ll know I can’t count on you.
… And how I made sure both our names where on the lease for the apartment, so I could dismiss your outbursts on how you wanted things to be in “your house.” I. e. “get out of my house”.
… And how you hoovered over me while I was (trying) to finish a chicken dish. Ending up yelling at me how it “should” be done. Not recognizing the fact that I’ve kept household for more people during many years, compared to your frugal bachelor cooking & the fact that all your cooking experience derives from a few months as a kitchen aid in a small restaurant many years ago, from which you got fired. And that your lecturing, constantly, on how “we do it at the restaurant” hardly applies any which way you look at it. You’re no longer “we” with a restaurant. You’re not in a restaurant. You can’t follow recipes & who cares what anybody did way back when in a restaurant anyhow? Not me. Just leave me alone & I’ll fix the bird all right. It’s not exactly the first time. And I thought: never again. I’d rather starve. And I never did do it again as long as I was there.
… And how you ridiculed me every time I didn’t know a word of your slang. Tree-topper slang. Never heard of outside the group. How I never, never got a straight answer. Always, with an angry kind of irritated ridicule in the voice, the rhetoric question “You mean you don’t know what x means?” Usually followed by my confirmation: “Right, that’s’ why I asked what it means.” Usually followed by another round of the same: “Are you saying you have never heard the word x?” And as morning follows night: “Right, if I knew the word I wouldn’t ask. When I ask what it means it’s because I do not already know. Quite correct.” Then it depends, it could be a poor try of further ridiculing; a veak try to explain the word (using the word instead of synonyms, analogies etc; or a short but rude end of discussion type: look it up!, or, as usually it was not a look-upable word, “though shit/you’ll figure it out.”
So I extended my vocabulary without your help. I survived pretty well without your help with the linguistics. Having four languages in my baggage I guess I couldn’t understand why you couldn’t explain your pig-latin to me. But the ridicule was out of place and uncalled for. And it was boring having you stall with the same 2you mean you don’t understand” jargon time & time again. Particularly embarrassing is it to remember that this superiority attitude is displayed by somebody born in this country & with English as first language & still not capable to help me – a foreigner. And there were “ain’ts” and “it don’t matter.” And as Marina said. “I wouldn’t think that your communication problem would be that you don’t know any of the words he might use.” Little did she know. Most names you called me when angry, for instance, were words I didn’t even know existed. So I guess in some way you did extend my vocabulary. Only not the way I would have liked.
… “And He loved the world so much He gave his only son to die, so that we can live forever.” Well, who wants to live forever without love. So the divine love of our Father is not “enough”! Sure it’s enough! Enough, but not a replacement of an earthly family.
After 40’n’some relationships you were the first one I thought of getting old together with. Somehow that seemed to solve my problems. It was to last my lifetime. And as I’ve always been convinced that will not be a very long life, somehow my worries seemed to be over.
That was before I realized how much worry there can be put into even a short life.
I dreamed of our children. I feel that you fooled me into imagining those wonderful children that would never be.
Did you ever realize my suffering from my one-on-one talk with Father Felize; when he condemned me to eternally burn in hell & at the same time talking about children. How I would raise them. What came to my mind, but luckily never made it to my “outbound sound system” was your scattered stories of a humiliating upbringing with nuns & a superficial mother. I couldn’t quite take all that for truth at first. But slowly I realized that you have no right to call me by your hated mother’s name. I have never, to this day (even though I have to admit there are some hard feelings) done anything to, on purpose, hurt you. DAMNED YOU BE, FOR NOT BEING A TRUE HUSBAND!
Fooled me into almost being the little taken cared of wife. Ha! You were N E V E R there to take care of me. So alone you don’t even have a clue. The role of the big provider & caretaker & head of household you never did live up to very well. I don’t think I put you in those roles, but you loved to play them, mastering the attitude for minutes at a time, stipulated there was no pressure involved. Whenever the “moment of truth” emerged you’d disappear into a hopeful obliviance. And before too long I learnt how to forget your pathetic scenes only a short time after you played them to me.
I do not believe in the indulgences, but I still maintain my promise to bring up any child to be a good Christian. If somebody else in good faith care to teach them about relics & indulgencies, they may do so after the age the children would be grown up enough to understand arguments for & against an idea. But I cannot truthfully teach them some things in which I find no support in the Bible. Swedish stubborn sulking, as well as Norwegian & Danish is a natural extension of the original Lutheranism. Stubbornness! As a form of art.
I will not bend. Not bother to threaten me; I will not let threats budge me. I’m prepared to meet you at any level, so just “come on” & see, if you can move me an inch!
… Running through the Park. As close as before. Only ½ a block farther away. The smell is the same; still bringing nice associations of late warm summer to me. With warm, dried up grass and pineneedles. Smelled safety to me. Now smells also falsety. All your broken promises. As I run I recollect the two (now, could I have been so slow as to have done it three times, before giving up?) times we ran together. Disaster; what else can I say. I used to run 3 – 4 miles every, every other day. I got to know my park as well as you yours. Inviting you to a run, only a 20 minutes one, for the fun of it. For the company. Without realizing you could never do me company! You had to run a step ahead of me, the whole time. Not, not, not, being able to pace yourself. To another person. Not to me. And proved to me that running was not something we could do together.
One thing after another. I thought we could share. Bitter laugh.
You always claimed that one thing you liked in me was that I’m athletic. What a joke! Maybe not. Maybe you did really like that fact, but it sure had nothing to do with your lifestyle. You could never chase down the N-Judah three stops in high heels. I did. Frequently. You couldn’t chase a rotten fly out of the apartment even.
When I ran the Bay-to-Breakers you couldn’t even meet me at the end! You had promised to drive me down to the starting point, but because of something I said (or whatever) the day before the race you took a revenge and told me right before leaving in the morning you wouldn’t drive me. Another promise not kept. More fun to go biking with your stoned friend Kelly & watch the race. And way before I arrived to the final line you had returned to the couch.
I hate you for that.
… And our wedding day and night. You sure kept your promise not to smoke that day. “A face full of cocaine” was a good substitute. Alienate yourself as you said in front of priest & people that you were uniting with somebody. When we got to the bridal suite at The Ramada Renaissance you embarrassed me by behaving just like those jerks that have never set foot in such a place. You probably never had. I felt like I was on a big mistake date with a tourist. And I knew at that moment we would not be travelling together.