Friday, January 09, 2004

There was a missed call on my cell phone the other day and I didn't recognize the number. In fact two calls. I figured I'll call  them back. And it was B's number, a number that once had been so familiar, a number that I'd nearly memorized but had since put out of my mind. I left her a message:

"Hi, it's Pat. You called me, so hey. Call me back."

My tone was measured, unsurprised. Cool but not unfriendly in the least. I wanted her to call back. Because. Because. I miss fucking her.

She never called back and I came to interpret her gesture as an appeal for me to stalk. I knew all along she craved that kind of attention from men, from the time she showed me the portrait in her study that had been painted by a jilted lover. It was a garish, life-size depiction of her with butterfly wings and a sort of Sherwood Forest tunic. Herself mythologized. And there were the pleading, desperate e-mails she forwarded to me from that idiot she went to New Orleans with but never fucked, saying look how funny, but really saying look how men debase themselves for me.

She collected stalkers and admitted as much, laughing, but of course she didn't think she did on purpose and maybe she was partly right. I never heard her so serious as when I asked her where she lived, when we were to meet up for one of our earliest dates. There was a pause on the phone.

"OK. I'll tell you. But I want you to absolutely promise me one thing. This is serious."

"Sure. What?"

"Promise me you'll never, ever, ever, ever show up at my place unannounced."

I promised. But again, I wonder if extracting this vow from men – for this was surely not the first time – was her signal to them to do just the opposite. If it was in fact the devious fusing of some emotional bomb and not a prudent plea for reason.

She wants me to call again. I can feel it.

Shaq is injured.