emma b. says

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Terms of Endearment

I had a subheading for this post, something along the lines of being discreet about removing a troublesome bit of lobster from one's teeth, and something about keeping your claws in, but before I could reach the laptop, and after I had flossed, I had to sit on the edge of the bathtub and shed some fat, yearling tears of disillusionment, and then I had to open a bottle of wine.

And I logged in and wrote an anemic paragraph and put on some music and now I am going to light a cigarette and stare at the screen for a good ten minutes before I write this sentence.

I came home and unsheathed the skirt, unzipped the boots, peeled off the fishnets, shrugged off the sweater, unhooked the bra, shimmied out of the panties, stepped into pajama bottoms, pulled on an antiquated tee shirt, slid into slippers, turned on the heat, turned down the sheets.

If I am being deliberately vague it's because I am astonished that I should be crushed by a single word. They called one another Babe. That is all. They called each other Babe.

I had dinner with my ex-husband and his girlfriend.

I realize that there is a paucity of terms of endearment in language, you've got your honeys, and your darlings, and other terms that you wouldn't give voice to anywhere but swathed in sheets. I simply hadn't anticipated being floored mid-forkful of righteous tea smoked cornish game hen, I didn't expect to become irrationally proprietary of a word when my molars were working furiously and it was suddenly difficult to swallow.

Then again, I have a peculiar policy with terms of endearment, I retire them like jerseys when the relationship has ended. I think it must have something to do with being a Taurus, and my bullish loyalty, but there will never again be a babe, or a cherie, or a chouchou, or a sunshine, because I could never say them without a quick feint to the original signifier, perhaps I am being misguided (wouldn't be the first time) maybe there is honor in the allusion to all the babes I've loved before. Maybe I'm getting tangled in semantics, maybe I'm just tangled up.

He is happy, I can tell. Truthfully, though I didn't look too hard, I could not fault her. It would not be easy to have dinner with an ex-wife who is on her own turf and closely flanked by her dearest friends. She demonstrated remarkable chutzpah without cluelessness, she is sharp and charming, for being all of twenty-five, I doubt I would have displayed the same acumen. She is also, of course, quite lovely... and this is where the demons start their dance macabre, and they are dancing on the table and upsetting glasses and flaunting misshapen pudenda for my derangement, and they are reminding me that I have a whisker on my chin, and they are pointing at my belly and laughing, and I am doing my utmost to ignore them and contribute to the chim-chiming flow of conversation, even though I am shrinking and my chin is jutting and though no one can see it I have become the honored crone at table. All that is missing is my pointy black hat.

That and the broom stick, the one that will whisk me to the embalming warmth of my bath tub. Up, up, up and away, into the static silence of the looming thunderheads, into the thick womby clouds of the impending storm.

D. I know that you will be reading, I am sorry, it was harder then I thought it would be. I would never begrudge you any happiness, if I came home and cried tonight, it is only for the want of a term of endearment, and a remnant of regret. Goddamn Valentine's Day tomorrow, I have a date with my dirty laundry.


  • Cass-
    I realize that it must've been difficult and I appreciate your bravery to no end. You and I work hard at being friends and sometimes our history overwhelms us and gets in the way of that. We share so much of our lives and I would hate to lose that. I want happiness for you and I long for you to excell as I know that you can. Please forgive me if I was less than gracious at dinner or if I was callous with your feelings; I certainly didn't mean to. I cherish our friendship and hold it in high regard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:10 PM PST  

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