Maybe I’m just looking for excuses.
Rob from the shop downstairs came by last night with a bag of goodies and a six pack of Natty Ice (his term, not mine) his roommate had left in the fridge when he left for Colorado.
“The store’s getting rid of some stuff, just seeing if you wanted it,” Rob said, pointing to the bag, opening up a can. The shop downstairs picks over flea markets across Europe and sells everything at a 500 % mark-up. If I ever need vintage cuff links with a communist hammer and sickle, I know where to look.
I looked in the bag, pulled out a bright silver claw with a button on the back that opened and closed the three spokes. ”What’s this?”
“Peter Piper picked his pickles with that antique silver pickle picker circa 1888.”
I pulled out a large spoon.
“It’s a berry spoon, just for berries, carved by André Vicomte, a well known silversmith in the mid 1800′s in Nantes.”
And then another carved, rounded knife with a slight peak at the end.
“Tomato slicer,” he said.
“Ahh. I see.”
“Anything you need?”
“Oh yeah. Thanks,” I said. ”I’ve been looking for some of this stuff.”
Rob drank his beer and pulled out his solid gold cigarette holder engraved with the word, “Jubilee.” He says it used to belong to Cole Porter, a gift from his wife on opening night of the musical. He found it in a flea market in Fontainebleau under some old scores.
Rob says he likes to come over here after work because he has too many video games at his house. At first the company was nice and then it happened too often. I tried not opening the door once but it didn’t work because he can hear my footsteps from below when I come home. He knows I’m there. I think that’s why he started bringing bags of stuff up from down below.
“Listen,” he said. ”We gotta talk. I don’t know if this arrangement is working out for me.”
“Yes, of course. Our arrangement.” What?
And maybe it was this conversation that gave me the excuse. He talked for 30 minutes, the highlight being that he feels that we need to find more of an equilibrium in the friendship and I asked him what he meant. He said he didn’t know, that he had heard it once and it sounded right.
And maybe it is just that this is who I see more than anyone and maybe it is that my job gives me nothing to talk about except how tired I am and that’s what i say to Rob from downstairs, that I’m just so tired, and I don’t know if I can have this conversation now and maybe it’s because I’ve lost all ability to handle confrontation so I avoid it, even if it does me absolutely no good to do so.
And it has to be better than this and I tell myself that often and I see it often enough. Most times I am just looking for excuses to leave and then to leave and then to leave again. But there are times, walking on the sidewalk with the painted benches by local artists, my feet on the ground, soft grass, and the breeze, that everything seems to have a perfect equilibrium.