Friday, October 26, 2007

The similarities are sometimes frightening

So S's mom Paula is kind of a free spirit, very different from me, an artist who has a number of physical ailments which basically render her disabled, though she is a very strong and capable woman. She lacks some self confidence needed to succeed in the world as we know it, so she is still living with her mother (S's grandmother), though she is certainly able to run her own household. At some point in time long ago, she and S's dad thought they would get married, but it didn't work out. Then another man she might have married died in a car crash, which I think may have been a big turning point in completely throwing her life off an expected track.

She does, however, have a sort of on-and-off boyfriend who I'll refer to here as K. K is also a creative type, and he literally lives in his VW van and drives around to wherever he wants to live. Last summer, while S was in Alaska, K kind of disappeared and Paula had no idea where he went. She missed him, but wasn't too awfully concerned about him. This was very foreign to me. In my world, when two people have a romantic relationship, they're either together or not together. K and Paula are more like... together when they're together, and not when they're not. Or even sometimes not when they are.

Then, in the spring sometime, S and I were downtown and spotted an orange VW van, and S immediately called his mom. "I think K might be back..." he told her. At first, Paula wanted to avoid him, not get back into it. But ultimately, she wound up at the same bar where K was, and they got to talking again. So then K was back for the summer, and the orange van was parked behind the garage for the last six months or so.

Then, one day last week, I stopped by S's house after work, and the van was gone. I knew that K had gone, probably someplace warmer, probably someplace far away. Paula can be temperamental, voicing her opinion loudly and forcefully, much like me, and sometimes getting into trouble for it. K sometimes couldn't handle it, and would take off for the day, returning in the evening, never any apologies. I couldn't understand why someone would put up with this, but it seems to function, just not in a way I'm used to. When S and I argue, someone ends up caving, apologizing, forgiving, and then the other does the same, reconciling the situation and returning to harmony once again.

I walked into S's house, and S and I talked a bit, and I mentioned the van was gone. S thought nothing of it. Then a little later, Paula came upstairs, and I was reading the paper while S was doing something in the kitchen.

"I threw K out this morning," she said. "Oh yeah?" I asked, trying not to sound too interested. "Yeah, I was going to make breakfast, and he was listening to public radio, and he had the paper, and he was reading me stories, and I hate it when people read the paper out loud to me." "Me, too," I replied.

In all truthfulness, it's really damn annoying when people read the paper out loud, especially when it's news I couldn't possibly care less about. S also agreed that having the paper read aloud is bothersome. We hugged, and S said that's why we work so well together, because we both hate it equally. So maybe Paula and I aren't really that different, the difference is the men we've chosen to spend time with.

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