A long time ago, C and I went out for drinks at a Northeast place (a bar that had been relocated from downtown, lock, stock and barrel, right down to the woodwork.) In this bar (an eery recreation of an even earlier era in my life) I saw a girl in a blue dress with fairy wings. It wasn't so much a dress as a shift; and blue like Wendy's gown in "Peter Pan." Her wings were cheap Tinkerbell costume wings, and she looked a lot like a young Selma Hayek. She was quite drunk, and it was not Halloween, so go figure. Another thing - I wasn't wearing my glasses. Probably because I was quite drunk, and had left them in the car. But I know C saw her too, because when I pointed her out, he shrugged and said "Not my type." Fair enough.
I read a lot of fairy stories as a child, and then, as a teenager. If ever you are led astray, take no food or drink in Faery Land, or you will never return to your own world. And if you think about it, this is quite true. You can skirt the margins of error for some time without falling in; but once you've eaten and taken a drink with someone, you're done for -- good or ill, lives are intertwined.
A. thinks I'm funny when I talk like this, peddler of fiction though he is. Thinks he's in it but not of it, I'll bet. But last I heard, he was working on a book, of a type he's known to sell -- and once he's done it, I'll be interested in seeing what happens. A. has always seemed to me like a guy who ought to write a memoir -- Confessions of a Book Man. He's told me some wild stories, and I'm quite sure I haven't heard the half of it. But A has tasted the food and drunk the wine, and he still manages to talk like a Republican. He must possess a kind of resistance not given to most men. Since he hasn't married a cross-dresser, or some girl who likes trapeze equipment, or a nymphomaniac with an identical twin. (Though he does live on the beach.) A. has seen the world instead, and over the years has come more and more to look like a spy of some sort. One of Smiley's people.
For good or ill, lives are intertwined. I just erased six lines of homage to all my closest companions, and all the crap we've been through together, all the dirt we have on one another. The communion of companionship -- the astounding number of people one can be in love with in a given lifetime. No, I haven't been drinking this evening. But I'm lonely -- it's that time of night, when everyone is asleep and I am still awake, still listening, still thinking, and wishing for someone to hang out with. It's not late enough to sleep. And I hate the telephone.
I need wings.
and a blue dress.
and some wine, and a wafer, and I'll be all set to go.