Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Annette/Ravi/Benny-to-be: Getting some answers from myself

So, yeah, that hit me like a ton of bricks. If you'd told me a year or a little more than a month ago that Jordan would be any sort of lifesaver, I would never have believed it. But now, twice in one week, he's stepped away from the life he had the right to for the benefit of other people. Go figure, right?

That said, the example I figured to learn from wasn't Jordan from this week, but Jordan from last year, who didn't just accept that his life was in the hands of another and that he was going to have to follow some third person's lead for at least the next year.  My thought was that just because passively taking what you are given and hoping that things workout is the traditional way things are done  at the Inn, they didn't have to be. So, when I woke up well before Jordan the next day - Ravi's frame can handle much more beer than Deirdre's - I decided to go see Sandra.

Fortunately, Ravi's ID says I'm old enough to rent a car in Maine, although once I'd done that, I realized that I didn't actually know which direction to drive. Sandra's last post on my Facebook wall was weeks ago - if you ever think your friend has been replaced after spending a few weeks in old Orchard, check for changes in social media activity; I annoyed people with status updates and Sandra, well, does not - and it mentioned spending some time in Maine. Nothing after that, though-no comment about "Benny" being a dick, no relationship status change, no anything. Did she go back to Boston, did she go to my hometown, or somewhere else entirely?

I figured I could only choose one and hope to get back on time if the change was going to trigger that night, so I started driving north.

I don't know if that made a lot of sense, but I sort of figured that in a situation like this, you sort of go for unconditional acceptance and that's more likely to be found at my home than among her friends in Boston, as some of them might be on "Benny's" side or might just think that they've been broken up for weeks, so "Annette" should just get over it already.  Heck, I might have thought that way were the situation presented to me that way.

About a half hour into the drive, I found myself thinking that I really should have invited Jordan along.  I told myself that it was important to keep him there so that Deirdre could get her body back, even if people changed without me, and there's truth to it, but for all that he's been cooler lately, I didn't want him sticking his foot in my mouth.  Given that my hometown is three and a half hours north of Old Orchard, it made for a long drive.  Pine trees may be pretty, but they get monotonous after a while.

Still, it was odd and kind of nice to be back.  Despite not being there for a year, I felt like I was on autopilot driving through town, although when that autopilot took me to the Burger Shack, I laughed and went to the town's other sit-down restaurant, which is an Italian place.  I parked, accepted the sign's invitation to seat myself, and played with my phone until a waitress came over and asked how I was doing.

I looked up and saw that the waitress was Gretchen, my best friend since forever, and replied with a "been better, how are you doing?" that was probably weirdly enthusiastic, and for a second I was sure she would recognize me; as much as I've gotten used to seeing all kinds of people living in New York, someone living in a small town in Maine might not have seen another Hindu guy since the one that claimed to be her female friend last summer.

Gretchen did give me a long look and then asked if I was still into role-playing.  I shrugged, saying I'd grown pretty tired of the game, but asked if she knew whether Annette was around.  It was a really weird question coming from who I looked like and she didn't seem inclined to chat with "Ravi", so she took my order and dropped it off without much fanfare.

I still gave her a pretty nice tip, though.

Then I drove up to my house, figuring Mom would be at work and I had as good a chance of finding Sandra there as anywhere.  My car was in the driveway, so the odds seemed good.  I rang the doorbell and waited, my heart climbing into my mouth.  It seemed like hours but it was probably only a minute or two before the door opened and I saw Annette Grayson standing there.

It was profoundly weird, and I wondered how Jordan didn't go nuts living in the same apartment as Benny for the last year.  It made me start and stop a few times before finally getting something out.  "So, what can we do about this situation?"

She shrugged.  "Nothing to do.  Ronan made his choice, they seem pretty happy, and I'm not rolling the dice again."

"But it's my life!"

"Yeah, I know, and that sucks.  But life are can you offer me in return?  'Benny'?  How can I possibly look at that face in the mirror after what Ronan did to me with it?  'Missy'?  That times a thousand!  Some random person?  Uh-uh."


"No!  Look, Annie, you've got to deal with they way things are, rather than what you want them to be.  We've both been dealt a shitty hand--"

"You look like you're doing all right!"

"Really?  Really, kid?  Look, you may think you've got some sort of enhanced perspective because you've gotten to experience different sexes and races and all that, but you're young.  You don't know what it's like to give your entire adult life to a relationship and marriage only to have your husband throw it away, with the only compensation that you've got a chance to start over.  I can't lose that second chance.  It is the only way that the last fifteen years aren't a complete waste of time."

"You can't look at it like that.  I mean, what about the other opportunities you might have?"

"Like I said, you're young.  It seems that way to you.  But eventually you want something you can count on. What am I supposed to do, go back every year hoping to find some life that suits me but which has no claim?  It's just not reasonable."

I tried to talk her out of it, but it was no good.  She had decided my life was hers, and I couldn't exactly force her into doing something else.

So it looks like I'm going to be Benny, and be him for the foreseeable .  Not tonight, apparently, but soon.  I can handle it.

But I just don't get it!  Sandra has a chance to fix something, and she just won't.  Was she always this selfish a person, or did I just not want to believe that the person in my life would be like this?


1 comment:

SW said...

"Was she always this selfish a person, or did I just not want to believe that the person in my life would be like this?"

That place does strange things to people, but in a way it shows who they really were all along...