Enhanced Gravity 69 toasted almond—amaretto and milk. It’s easier to filch rarely used beverages from my mother’s liquor cabinet, hence the imaginative combinations. Pretty soon I’m a pretty toasted almond. The air is unusually dry for a Washington summer and I lie in the Japanese garden, enveloped by bamboo and the light trickle of a koi pond trying to bake out the emotional equivalent of a paper cut. I decide that the only way to exact revenge on the entire universe is to become very tan. And drunk. I spend the next five days in the same foggy routine, grateful for the sun in this instance, and for bizarre liquor elixirs that mix well with a variety of household staples. This is what movie stars do, except it’s usually by a pool and not a koi pond. They sit, elegant and greased, beside contained bodies of water with lacquered nails and sweet potables. They lounge, indifferently. On the sixth day, I hear a rustle behind me coming from the path that connects the front yard to the secret garden. It’s Sam. I am calm, galvanized. He is shirtless in dark Levi’s with a Greek fisherman’s cap on. “Can you make me one of those?” He says, gesturing toward the drink. See, here it is, if your parents were diplomats, like mine, you are born with an imbedded compulsion to please, especially as it pertains to providing drinks. I make him one and we sit in the backyard like two ghouls, unaccustomed to daylight and meaningful discourse. I manage to croak out, “What happened?” He says, “Holly Fender was in town, remember her? She’s still good looking, do you want to see her picture?” “No thank you.” “It’s nothing, it’s over. She wanted to see me. I didn’t want you to know, so I took her down to the Bay.” Just my luck, I get up the nerve to call a man and he is hidden, ensconced with an old lover, my former best friend, on a spit of land clinging to the Chesapeake. I say, “I don’t want to see you anymore.” What am I saying? It’s the movie star talking again. We have to get Faye Dunaway out of here. There is a horrible pause in the proceedings. He wasn’t expecting that either. He takes a sip of his toasted hazelnut.
Published on May 1, 2006