She had the face of someone leaning into a strong wind, just standing next to her car in the lot. I’ve seen that look before, after car accidents or crimes, during the riots, after the big quake. Adversity and shock bring out the nobility in us sometimes. She still had her poise and her beauty, but also a stance that mixed surprise and exhaustion: hey, I’m still alive; how’s that?
The inventory of disasters has gotten pretty long lately: collapsed marriages, life-threatening diseases, terrifying communications from the government, crushed vehicles, major depression. I thought that when I got out of my twenties things might cruise for a while, but I’m still picking shrapnel out of my drink. Of course most of my friends are still in their twenties, so I get chaos by proxy also. It probably doesn’t help that I like artistic types, smokers, slackers, extremely intense people, and everyone who gets left out of the big shiny money show that is Orange County.
Now that I’ve stopped pretending that I’m worth more, and reverted to my avuncular, story-telling, safe friendly substitute behavior, people are more comfortable around me.
I guess I learned my lesson, eh? Maybe we’re all just too wounded to do much for each other.