There was still a bit of an awkward silence, thanks mostly to me. I'd suffered a sort of shock and my head was still processing what I'd seen and what it meant. Add to that the fact that I had to back out of most of the rest of our Saturday plans, and I was feeling a tad sorry for myself and sorry to them.
Penny spoke up first.
"Can you believe we haven't had any sort of vacation since September. And it was last, last November when we were out for more than 3 days."
"I wonder where that bra is," Rox said suddenly. "The one I went swimming in."
"Maybe you left it with the pile of wet clothes we left in the hotel," I offered, remembering that last trip in September. It was my birthday. We were in Orlando and on our first night there, we ended up in the pool in boxers and over-sized t-shirts.
"Nooo... I don't think so." Rox answered working her mouth around, and chewing on the side of her cheek the way she does when she's deep in thought.
"No, you brought it back because it was the only bra you packed! And it reeked of chlorine," Penny remembered with a smile. "You didn't go out with us that night."
"I wanted to go out last night," I turned around and said to Roxanne.
"Yeah! The one night that you are nowhere to be found, Lor actually wants to go out."
"We shouldn't go out without you though," I added. "When Pen and I go out without you, we are so lost. And when we're in the mall without you, we never know where we are."
Roxanne laughed. "Aww! I like being in charge."
Penny and I spoke up almost at the same time. "Wooah, woah. You're not in charge, alright? You just... wear the pants," I clarified.
"Okay, that's fine. I like wearing the pants," Roxanne conceded.
"And Penny wears the skort."
It always amazes me how the three of us fit like a puzzle - each with our roles and our strengths.
Roxanne, the pants wearer, the one with the plans, the one who encourages us to go out and try new things, the one with the wild stories and weird sound effects. Roxanne who never judges, and will unwaveringly support everything you decide to do. Roxanne who always knows what gets good reviews, with the singular sense of style, and enough eye shadow to make-up all of Africa.
Penny, the skort wearer. The one who will hate that I called her that. The one with the steel trap memory, and the quickest comebacks I've ever come across. Penny who will always answer the phone, the one who listens and checks in and worries and cares for us. Penny who shoots straight and figures out people and situations and analyzes us for us. Penny, who appreciates the value of sleep and chocolate, and has enough clothing to clothe all of Africa.
And me, who in many ways intruded into their 12 year friendship. Me, with the loud laugh and exaggerated hand gestures. Me who never remembers anything, not even if I've told a story before or not. Me, who listens and loves, even if my shock and horror is visible all over my face. Me with the weird music, and the terrible decision making skills, and enough nail polish to uh... polish all of Africa.
And me, the one who relays the messages.
Lor: Hey hey hey. We still going to get breakfast? BAGELS. ♥
Rox: Yep! I'm just getting off the turnpike.
Lor: Hey girl heeey. Rox is just getting off the turnpike. Put some pants on.
Pen: Pants on! Ready.
Lor: Penny is ready. You home yet?
Rox: HOME. Come over!
Lor: Rox is home. I'm on my way.
Lor: I'm going to get Penny!
That's generally how it goes. Whether we're picking a restaurant, a mall, or a watering hole, I'm the go-between. And as such, I've reserved the right to repeatedly and consistently use one phrase: Put your pants on.
Often applicable, as we're all not fans of pants. It means a lot for us. It means, we're all leaving our house, and that adventures lie ahead.
Saturday morning, Penny and I both slept in. We hadn't counted on hearing from Roxanne, as she was spending most of her weekend with RiSK. Her BBM woke me up though; she was on her way home and she was hungry. I rolled over in bed, and coordinated between Pen and Rox until we'd agreed to start the day with Einsteins.
I made the rounds, picking up the girls, made the short trip to Einsteins, we bought our bagels and juice, and grabbed a table outside in the gorgeous weather. In between bites, we recounted our Friday nights.
Roxanne told us about going to the NOFX concert with RiSK and The Grown-Up Chuckie Finster. Rox wants me to meet Chuckie, as he apparently has an amazing personality. I got a few, "I'm telling Chuckie all about you" messages through out the night. I'm mostly a fan of Rox nicknaming him The Grown-up Chuckie Finster.
Penny and I went to dinner. We giggled tons, but we couldn't quite remember about what. I told Penny about my lunch earlier that week with Antonio and she told me about what new games Anthology was playing. We both talked about grown-up things and how we wanted to be better at them. Then we went in search of nail polish.
Penny related to Roxanne the story of the mystery-text-messager. "What restaurant are you at?" the unknown number read, as Pen and I drove away from the restaurant toward the make-up store. She asked who it was and after much hemming and hawing he finally answered, "Magpie." Penny froze and laughed nervously when she saw it and flashed the phone so I could read it.
"No," I said my hand automatically drawing up to my mouth. "You've got to know another Magpie."
"No," Penny said. "I don't."
"No," I kept repeating. A text message from Magpie didn't make sense.
"Well, who was it," Roxanne asked as Penny told the story. It turned out to be her ex-co-worker's husband. (What followed were totes inappropriate invitations for drinks and such, but that's another story. Also, in case you hadn't figured it out, Magpie and mystery texter share the same real life name, not LttP nickname...)
"Thank God it wasn't Magpie," Rox said, and I silently agreed as I took another bite of my bagel.
Conversation turned back to Chuckie, as Rox started to retell some of the conversation they'd had about me. Halfway through one sentence, Rox stopped and lifted up an eyebrow, clearly checking out someone walking in front of her.
I think a nifty picture of our seating arrangement might be useful at this point.
So, yes, from Rox's vantage point, she sees someone approaching from the parking lot.
Here's something I know I've said before but must now be reiterated: I am not stealth AT ALL. There isn't a bone in my body that can be discreet. So, as soon as I see Rox eyeing someone, I whip my head around and immediately know what she sees.
In case there was any doubt she says under her breath, "What the heck is she wearing?"
Because you guys weren't there, the answer to that question is high waisted skinny jeans with a wife beater, suspenders, and what we call uncircumcised sandals, which are the ones with the extra material that wraps around your ankle. Basically, she was trying really hard to be grungy or hipstery, but coming off as hot mess.
I feel a little bad about saying that. Or maybe I feel like I should feel bad, but you guys know I'm critical and harsh and can often be found judging people's babies. So whatever. We sometimes comment on stranger's hot mess-ed-ness. It happens.
Anyways, we had very obviously stopped talking to turn and look at this girl, who we'll call Caliente Mess. As she got nearer, I looked back at Rox but then did a quick glance as she walked behind Penny and into the salon next door to the bagel shop. She looked at me square in the eyes, and I met her gaze before she broke it and walked in to the building.
"That was Magpie's girlfriend," I announced immediately.
Now, I've never really seen her before. And I assume that she is indeed his girlfriend because of things I'd seen on his Facebook + things he'd written on his blog + Rox and Pen had seen them together at ABY a few months ago. I was convinced that was her.
One glance and my brain quickly went into overdrive to delve into archives. Pictures I'd seen of her, back when she was still with her babydaddy Heyzues. Her last name is the same as mine, he'd told me. All in a second, I went through all that, and perhaps I'd imagined it, but when we looked at each other, it seemed that she'd made the connection too.
"That's not her," Penny said. "She's got wild, curly hair."
"It's either short or in a bun," I said. "But that's her."
"She's wearing a wife beater and suspenders," Roxanne said, as if that explained everything. And, in a way, it kind of did.
We dropped the subject and I turned back toward Roxanne so I wasn't facing the street anymore. As I was looking at her, I caught something in the reflection from the glass behind her. Someone walking towards our table.
Before I focused on the face, I noticed the slumped shoulders and dragged amble that I immediately knew to belong to Magpie. Immediate. By the look of absolute horror that came across Rox and Penny's face, I knew it was true. Magpie was walking towards us, and before I'd had a second to register it all, he walked behind me, past our table into the bagel shop.
"Holy crap," I breathed out, unsure what to do, where to look, what I felt, and how I'd managed to go for so many months without ever seeing him, since we live minutes away, and he lives down the street from Penny.
One half a minute later, he walked out and right past us. I glanced at his reflection again, walking away from us. He lit a cigarette.
"He's smoking," Penny announced, knowing what that meant. He was smoking.
He climbed into a car I didn't recognized and drove away.
"He still looks like a douche, if that counts for anything," Penny said, probably as she watched my face fall.
"What was he wearing," Roxanne asked shaking her head.
"What was he ever wearing," I reminded them.
"I'm pretty sure his shirt had sharks on it. Little sharks," Roxanne concluded.
"Blue ones," Penny finished, as if that explained everything. And in a way, it kind of did.
We finished our bagels, walked back to my car and left the bagel shop behind. We rolled the windows down, letting in both the warm sun and cool air at once. It was a delicious mixture, even though silence had settled in the car as well. I turned onto Hollywood Boulevard and hated that this quick, chance encounter had changed my mood.
Had it? Yes, but not in the way that seemed immediately obvious. That was Magpie, alright, but it wasn't my Magpie. That wasn't the guy that I once had feelings for. That wasn't the guy who presented himself to me with charm and humor and sensitivity. I had no clue who that guy was, really. Ages have gone by since I'd spoken to him. He didn't effect my emotions in that way. Not anymore.
I hated that it was awkward, the way that I hate any awkward social situation. I hated that I froze up because I didn't know how to act. I hated that it was a surprise. I hated that it all happened so fast.
"I'm sorry," I said, breaking the silence in the car.
"Why are you apologizing," Roxanne asked in a soft voice.
"For... that," I said.
"No one in this car can judge," Penny said sweetly.
It's a part of life, I guess.
In all of this, I realized so much more how ineffective I am at communicating away from the written word. Well, maybe not completely tragically ineffective, but I just loving having this medium to sort it all out. I needed to write it out.
I'm sure my friends saw my face absolutely change, and I wanted to reassure them. I'm okay. Please trust me, I'm okay. But I just didn't know how to say it and make it convincing. I didn't know what I was even feeling yet.
My brain could bear to be a little faster. Sorting things things out a bit quicker would be amazing.
In other news, my favorite comment from last post "Really Heavy Stuff," comes from Holly at Love, H.
I hope you find what you're looking for, Lor. Ohhh doesn't that sound so mysterious and profound? Haha...but seriously.
Don't.give.up. Love, H.
I read that first thing in the morning as I rolled over and picked up my Blackberry to shut off the alarm.
I was looking for Koala Yummies. But also, I'm pretty sure I'm looking for other things too. I hope I find it all.
It'll be an interesting ride. It'll be an interesting next couple of weeks. I'm not sure I exactly know why, but I also wanted to sound mysterious and profound.
Regardless, Lorraine is in motion. Lorraine got a kick in the ass. Lorraine is referring to herself in the third person and will stop now.
All that's left to say is, put your pants on guys. Let's all go along for the ride.