Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Arthur: Learning more about Elizabeth

I can't believe I've gone two weeks without writing anything. Whenever I meet someone new, and I say I'm a writer, I always talk about how it's not just my job, not just what I do, but who I am. That it's a compulsion, something I have to do, that days where I don't put pen to paper (metaphorically, of course; I like typing far more than actually scrawling something) feel lacking, like failures, that I haven't done something which I ought to have. I suppose it's like an addiction, although (I hope!) a fairly benign one.

I guess there's some inaccuracies in that first paragraph. One, maybe two. The "maybe" is the use of the present tense; I obviously haven't done those things in a few weeks - almost two months. I still think of myself as Arthur Milligan, male, writer, Californian, even though there's another guy who is probably pulling it off better than I could right now. Perhaps I'm just stubborn, and I sometimes think that Jake's handling things better, being able to think that he may be Ashlyn long-term, but I'm just not ready for that.

The second is that I have written something - a little letter, addressed to "Jean-Michel Therriot", the real Ashlyn, with instructions to pass it on to Elizabeth the next time he/she saw "Marie Desjardins". I know she said not to contact her short of an emergency, but I consider "what the hell is the deal with you and your boss!?!?!?" an emergency.

I got a letter back Saturday, which was awkward - I was at work, so Ray picked up the mail, and since he's known Liz since they were little kids, he was curious about who I knew in Montreal. I said it was no big deal - the person who had stayed in the room at the inn before me had left her wallet behind (true enough), so I'd mailed it back and this was just a thank-you note (lies, lies, lies). He accepted that, though he thought it was odd that it took so long for her to send me a note. Well, I say, he's French-Canadian: Polite, but very laid-back. He laughed at that. I felt guilty by proxy that he didn't seem at all suspicious of his long-time girlfriend having contact with some guy he'd never heard of.

Memo to self: Rent a post-office box for correspondence with Liz & Ashlyn.

Liz said she was sorry she hadn't told me about Stewart, but she couldn't bring herself to write about it with Ashlyn there - that not only was she not proud of cheating on Ray, but she had, on occasion, been kind of judgmental about how Ashlyn dealt with the men in her life, and since she was going to have to depend on Ash in their new lives, she was afraid of losing the only friend she had in Montreal, the only person she could talk to about their secret, over having been a hypocrite.

Now, though, she laid it out - after Ray had passed the bar, and started working at the firm, there had been a week where their schedules lined up so that they didn't see each other awake at all, and it had been a few weeks since they'd slept together before that. So, when some of the folks from work went to a bar after the last show, and she and he were the last two there, one thing had led to another...

I don't really blame her, I guess. If a man did something like that, we might think he was something less than a good guy, but there wouldn't be the temptation to brand him a slut or something. He and his friends might even laugh about it. I'm upset about the position she's put me in, but there's no way she could have known that she'd be making someone else live with her decision.

There was more in the letter, but I think I might have to talk it over with someone before going into it. Maybe Jake will be available for a lunch sometime this week, maybe combine it with shopping for a costume for that Halloween party she's invited me to.

So, what else? Well, one other thing I've learned about Liz is that she used to be a lot more serious about acting. I knew she'd studied that in college, and Zoe mentioned that she'd thought Liz had quite her job to actually got back into it when she didn't show up at work right away after vacation, but something Ray mentioned the other day, to set up our date for this past weekend, had me wonder. He said he knew going to a movie for a date was sort of a busman's holiday for me, but the Boston Fantastic Film Festival was playing The Host, this big Korean hit, and he wanted to see that, maybe it'd be good for me to see it, too, if I was maybe thinking of sending sheets out again. He said he noticed that I hadn't been importing many DVDs lately, and wondered if I'd just given up.

Apparently, every once in a while, Liz tries to get Korean casting agents who need someone who can speak English interested in her, which is part of why there's this big old Korean DVD collection in the apartment - she's got to keep up to date on the industry over there so she doesn't sound completely ignorant should someone call.

I kind of hope nobody calls, because I'm not acting, travelling overseas, or speaking Korean. But since I don't intend for this to be permanent, I don't want to give Liz a reputation for being difficult when she gets her life back.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update.

I was beginning to wonder if something else major happened to all of you, seeing as there hadn't been an update from ANY of you in such a long time.

I'm glad that things haven't gotten any weirder for you guys... gals... *sigh* I guess that's not quite true... it is interesting when strange things happen to any/all of you - interesting to read about, anyhow. Sorry, I know - I'm such a morbid creature, taking pleasure in the misery of others. :-(

I guess, I'm only human.

Anonymous said...

Boy you are really getting into the meat of modern woman stuff. What to do when your best friend and outstanding roommate material just doesn't light your fire.... of course you might not feel the same way Liz felt. Ray might rock your world. I assume Ray did not do it for Liz since it only took one week of mis-aligned scheduled for her to give in to temptation. Or so she says....

But again, you're not yet resigned to being Liz long term. That's ok. Maybe you should think of this as a chance to get to know what its like to be woman for a while before going back to your old life. It's not all soft skin and nice smelling hair you know. There are some really tough things about being a woman that are worth understanding.

Anonymous said...

Art--Let's definately do the lunch and costume shopping thing. Call me and we can set up a time.