For the sake of this post, let's pretend it's June. We're sitting there for a few minutes when the little man comes over. He vaguely introduces himself and it becomes clear that he's been watching Fraya from the other side of the bar for about a year which is some creepy shit, but he says it with such candor that it's almost endearing.
As usual, I try to include myself in the conversation but he only looks at me with jittery reluctance. No doubt Fraya and Schmee will disagree with that.
Do we learn how to behave based on how we are treated, or do people treat us a certain way because of our behavior? If I've learned anything by the way strangers respond to me it's that (a) I know things, (b) I am appallingly naive, (c) I am unworthy of attention, and (d) I am the most interesting person in the world.
Obviously this information is useless. I look over at the man. Why is he so nervous?
I don't think I'm intimidating (if anyone wants to contradict this, feel free to do so in the comments - something like, "Of course you're intimidating because you are luminous, bold, powerfully intelligent, hilarious, intense, and sexy as hell and everyone is in awe of you because you are actually real and not just a projection of the perfect being generated by our collective imagination and desires, like The Fifth Element, I mean you're totally the fifth element and 1989-era Bruce Willis wants to do you even though Fifth Element came out in 1997" will do very nicely) but usually I'm just not...maybe "impressed" is the word? Usually I'm not fucking impressed by your ability to breathe and exist. What I find impressive is the rhythm of your words, how and why you put a sentence together.
So this little middle-aged man approaches our table and chats with Fraya and Schmee, and then he asks Fraya to hold up her hand.
He flicks his lighter and explores the shadows of her hand before speaking.
have a lot of friends. Hundreds of friends. Everyone likes you. Everyone loves you and they believe in you. Because you're a great
person, no really, you're an awesome person and you're smart and you can do great things and you believe you can do great
things, but you don't. I don't know why. You're...you're kind of going through a hard time right now, a transitional time right now. But things are going to get better. Yeah. Things are going to get better soon, very soon."
We oooo and aaaahhhh appropriately over his foresight seeing as Fraya is unemployed and looking for a job (Editor's Note: She has one now. Hooray!). Then Schmee jumps in. "Please do me! Do me do me do me!"
He smiles. "Yeah of course. Are you right or left handed?"
"Okay, gimme your left hand." The lighter flicks. He pauses, considering, flicks it once more. Again he smiles. "You're a very complicated person."
"Uh oh," Schmee laughs.
"You are. But you're smart, and you're beautiful, and you have lots of groups of friends from all walks of life and you can fit in with any group of people, it doesn't matter what they're like or anything. People think you're amazing and you blow people's minds. Every day. And someday soon someone is going to blow your mind, and that's good. Because you deserve it. You really do."
"Yeah buddy!" Schmee laughs, and once again, we oooooo and aaahhh over everything. "How did you learn how to do this?"
He talks about it with honest modesty, how it's a gift or a party trick or something.
After he's finished it's my turn. "Will you read mine next?"
"Uhhh...sure. Yeah." Again, he seems nervous. Or is that me? I'm terrified he's going to tell me I'm ordinary, that I don't belong amongst the company of these two women, two of my best friends who are obviously giant shining stars among the dust. He's going to tell me I'll be alone forever because I only have friends out of pity since I'm so fucking abrasive, boring, everything about me is unremarkable and unworthy, I'm a beast, a pest, I'm a rhinoceros, a fruit fly, I'm a fearsome nuisance--
In this second before he takes my hand I know this is what he thinks. I absolutely do not trust this man, this wee little fiend, and I fucking hate him for what he's about to do to me because he's wrong and he's a shitty little liar and he's a shitty little man. My skin is daggers.
"Come on, Rassles. Blow my mind," Schmee giggles. I blink, breathe. Okay.
He studies my hand with his lighter and sighs. "You...you aren't as dramatic as you pretend to be. You feel things
differently. And you're always right. Your instincts are always right--"
"Oh, fuck, don't tell her that," Schmee groans and laughs.
"She knows that already," Fraya says, and rattles off her favorite quote of mine, something I said to her when we were 18: "And don't argue with me because I'm right, and people are always more content when they think they're right."
He nods before he continues. "And people should listen to you, but they don't. You don't even listen to you. And...I don't know if it's how you were raised, or if
something happened that made you this way, but a lot of you is hidden
behind walls. But you're very strong, and you're going to be fine. People
are not close to you. They think they are, but even your best friends
don't really know you."
"I would agree with that."
"Yeah. But you're...um...you're going to be fine. You're very
strong. You're going to be fine. Yeah. You're gonna be okay. You're
gonna be fine. You're strong and you're gonna be fine."
If this fucking jester of spider legs and suck says "you're gonna be fine" one more fucking time I am going to break him in half. I don't need him to remind me that I'm going to be fine, of course I'm going to be fine. I'm me. But I don't want to be fine. I want to be startled and impressed.
Okay, little man. I get it. Thanks for your help.
I must get off my ass and learn to let people surprise me.