Jul 7, 2013

"Do you know what I'm saying? she asked again, and over her shoulder, a view of all the world, from Feiffer Pt., 120 degrees of horizon, and now with the evening coming in, ocean and the marine layer became indistinguishable. As she appeared in her way.

"Do you know what I'm saying," she asked still again, always looking to her right and up.  Is that the indication of a liar? I couldn't remember.  Or else she was like a renaissance figure, those longing eyes and her arm outstretched, to a swan perhaps.

In fact, a clothing designer, at 43.

Still, I kept asking questions, and to those who say, 'you ask way too many', I respond, 'but don't you see that everyone wants to be asked, everyone wants to be on Fresh Air?' And not asked, 'what do you do', but 'who are you?'  Young people don't ask those questions of each other these days.  So she herself implied.

"I'm telling him the story of my life," she said to someone standing close by, a championship skateboarder it turned out. And she meant it.

She asked if I'd seen the Charlie Rose interview in June with John Galliano, the bad boy designer from the House of Dior who made anti-semitic remarks in 2011 and not just once — someone else who has never read the history of Poland during WWII, and not of the ghetto in 1939, but of the rest of the city in July and August, 1944. I hadn't seen the interview but since then I skimmed it. Galliano seemed beaten, undone, a man capable of only modest reflection.  And what was the point? He admits he's an addict and in recovery for the rest of his life, and he's trying to make amends however he can.  And so what. Charlie Rose's curiosity this time seemed an unworthy bet.

My father is an alcoholic, she went on.  Along with one of her brothers.  She went on at some length to say she could understand perfectly well that Galliano, the addict, could say such things and yes they were horrible, but to ban a man of so much talent for the rest of his life? That seemed unduly cruel.

I didn't agree but said nothing, and then like a loyal brushfire the conversation jumped back to her father, and how she remembered so well every nuance of his affliction, she knew just when he was drunk and coming by the sound of his feet on the stairs, the pattern of his step down the hall, the way he turned the doorknob, the very first sound of his voice, and all the bits in between...

Later, when asked, she said really didn't want to have children, and now it was too late anyway, although she spends time volunteering at an organization that helps the children of addicts.

1 comment:

Anjuli said...

Sadly the story of so many...matter of fact in the telling...I hear about all the bits in between too many times!

Please Invent something which has the ability to intravenously feed my brain with your amazing ability to mold words into masterpieces!