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21 | 2010 | The Perimeter of the Fire

07.23.10 12:21 p.m.

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fear.  

-Glenn Clark


Casting Understudies

Dancing is a gateway drug

My friend was inebriated, despite her claim to only be on her second drink of the night. (Her name will not be provided, since this is only about her as a catalyst and she doesn't deserve embarrassment for something I am certain she doesn't recall the next day and which was harmless outside my overanalysis.) In the midst of her drunkenness, she said something that transcended flirtation and became an overt come-on, albeit one that acknowledged Melanie's existence, awesomeness, and permanence (due deference was given). It was idle and generalized, in that I likely received the treatment that would be given to any other male friend in her proximity with whom she felt both safe and slightly electric in the midst of Cabaloosa. No one sensible expects asexuality in a dance club and I usually have good (if hyperactive) defenses. But even being hit on by someone I respect - someone whom I am certain meant little by it - there existed in me uneasiness upon reflection.

I told Melanie about this because it felt duplicitous not to tell her (and, of course, it made for a story to share). I know that, in the past, I was overly liberal in relating to my ex what people had said about or against her, generally the legitimate concerns loved ones, which I passive-aggressively told her in lieu of addressing deficits in our relationship.

Melanie responded that it was sweet and cute that the drunken friend suggested she be Melanie's understudy, should the need occur. This is not the reaction I would have had in her shoes. I would be irritated, though I know my friend and am aware that she was not acting on presumption but affection and Irish courage. In Melanie's shoes, I would have subconsciously lowered by voice an octave and tried to suss out any detail that would aggravate or obviate the sin. Even when a near alcohol poisoned stranger in Spain peppered Melanie with sexual entreaties outside a club, I was uncomfortable, though the mere idea that Melanie would even for a second entertain his drooling suggestions verged on the ludicrous. Maybe it is possessiveness or an urge to protect that is ultimately unnecessary (while Melanie knows the proper placement and use of a salad fork, she is also inclined toward threatening eye gouging with it should a stranger not mind his manners).

I concede (because how could I not?) that Melanie is more secure than I am. This weekend, she is seeing some friends, one of whom she has assured me she will keep from my ever having to meet (she is certain that we will clash and sees no reason to bring this about). I am not jealous, per se, but my preference would be for her to be with me and not with people whom have behaved inappropriately toward her in the past. Even the token "do you want to meet us for lunch?" would not be unwelcome. (Melanie has always been one to compartmentalize her world.)

I am still - two and a half years into our relationship and despite her giving me few occasions in which I would be justified in looking askance - slightly insecure. I lug around carry-ons from my prior relationships and, I suppose, my childhood. (My father ascribes most of my abandonment issues to the fact that my mother and he did not and do not get along. To an extent I agree, given that my issues followed me through my dating life and had to originate somewhere primordial.)

Rosie mentioned a guy she brought to 80s Night who then proceeded to hit on and dance with other women in an effort to get her jealous. She told him in parting that jealousy only burns her, it doesn't make him desirable.

I've been that jealous one, glancing over my lover's shoulder to see who was looking at her ass. It is a wretched existence, because there is rarely cause for concern. Even if other people are attracted to the person on your arms and in your bed, all you need to know is that this person is devout and will deny every impropriety. If you can't trust them to do this, why would you deign to let them in your life to say nothing of your body? Why would you ever choose to believe they are seeking to recast your role?

Soon in Xenology: Jenna, bonfire, maybe a job.

last watched: Tin Man
reading: Swann's Way
listening: Colbie Caillat

21 | 2010 | The Perimeter of the Fire

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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