This was one of my last columns before the e-magazine where I was Editor was yanked offline. A fine example of a mellower piece:
"Divulgence of Confidences"
by Maura Stone
I attended an artisan fair held a few miles away. It was a beautiful day so instead of driving and paying a $2 parking fee to place my car ½ mile away on a muddy field, I mountain biked the five miles and tied it up on the post right in front of the entrance for free. I needed an excuse anyhow for a little exercise.
The past week I sat hunched over the laptop, chain smoking and fretting about politics, lack of funds and my bad health while tweeting and blogging to excess. Of course, chain smoking doesn’t help. It makes me lethargic. Plus depletes my food budget. Another thing to worry about which makes me want to smoke further. The lure of an artisan fair full of food and crafts for sale provided me with sufficient impetus to walk away from the internet, stop smoking for a little while and get out in the open air and interact with people. Quite against my grain.
I prefer to be indoors typing to online strangers. Most people believe that my rare neurological deafness is an excuse and not the reason why I’m a recluse. It occurred a year and a half ago when my brain no longer translated the sound it hears, replaced with tinnitus and a hypersensitivity to all noise. As time went on and the tinnitus and hypersensitivity increased, I really enjoyed being inside typing to strangers. At least I didn’t have to listen. Listening’s an active role that wears me out, mainly because I have to read lips. Reading lips is only 30% effective, resulting in even more focus and concentration on the person’s body language to get the full gist of what they’re saying. Imagine my anger when a person talks shit, wasting my energy. For I conserve my energy, the little that remains from chain smoking, for the internet. The plus side to the internet is that when I don’t respond, I’ve a handy excuse at my fingertips: service went down. Preferable than admitting the truth: occupied in bathroom or taking a power nap.
Once at the fair, I didn’t remove my helmet and sunglasses so that people would recognize me. Most people up here call me “Bike Girl” because, in this beautiful countryside and fresh air, I’m the only one who rides a bike. Everyone else drives. For what kind of maniac would push themselves to pedal up those killer hills? Me. I’m also identifiable due to my tattoos, in particular the one on the left leg that starts above the knee and continues all the way up which I display with pride wearing my short biker shorts. Everyone asks me, “Is that real?”
“Of course it’s real,” I say.
“You mean you can’t wash it off?”
“Not likely as it’s a real tattoo!”
Returning to the scene, I walk around watching the other attendees line up for free food samples. Something they don’t need as they’re quite heavy. That’s what happens when you drive everywhere. I’m sure that one mountain bike ride would either kill them off or help them to lose weight. Although at this stage I’m convinced that my biking will kill me off; it never really helped me lose weight. Only chain smoking is successful in that regard. Acquainted with the local merchants, I stop by their booths to exchange greetings.
“How’s it going?” I ask.
“Say, is that a real tattoo?”
“Nah, it washes off,” I inform them.
This time, I spot a vendor who I recently met and head over there to greet her.
Leila’s gorgeous, a real looker. A few months ago she confided that she broke up with her boyfriend of seven years. “The only thing that kept us together was that the sex was great,” she repeated several times over the duration of the conversation. I, as well, just broke up with my boyfriend and the sex was definitely horrible so I couldn’t really commiserate. In fact, each time she remarked about the terrific sex, I had this overwhelming compulsion to stab her repeatedly with a dull spoon. That’s what happens when you don’t get laid properly – jealousy kicks in. At least she has fond memories. Mine consist of his chronic flatulence.
“What’s up, Leila?” I ask from afar. And then notice this big hulk seated behind her. He staggers to his feet when he sees me approach. Then, he bends down and plants a giant kiss on her lips. “Well, now I know what you’re up to,” I say.
Feeling like a third party while they neck, I turn to go and she inquires, “Do you know each other?” eager to make introductions.
I flash a smile. “Yes. We met at the local tavern last year.”
He shifts uncomfortably. Once again, I turn around to leave. At the same time he walks away. Then she hails me, “How do you know each other?”
“We met at the local tavern last year… and there he is!” He swiftly returns, taking his place by her side.
She whirls around and asks him, “How do you know each other?”
He shoots me a guilty look and says to her, “We met at the local tavern last year.”
Strangely, this happens a few times. Every time I get ready to leave, he walks away. Each time she calls me back, he creeps up behind her to hear what we have to say. It’s quite maddening.
Unconvinced of any sincerity going on, she states with a hint of menace, “We’ll talk later.”
Now I’m in for the inevitable phone call. I’m quite familiar with her reaction; it’s only normal given how he acted. I can only blame him for being a putz. He’s smitten with her, that’s for sure. They’re in the honeymoon stage, the debut of a romance. What I first noticed is how well they fit with each other. It’s a good match. Still, by acting guilty, he set off her internal alarms.
The truth is nothing happened. He made a pass at me and I declined. Another time, he told me a sordid story about him and two women. A trite tale of being in bed with one while the other knocked at his door demanding entry. His way of letting me know other women thought he was hot. Nevertheless, I wasn’t interested. The last time I saw him, he met my ex-boyfriend. That was pretty much the extent of my entire interactions with him.
Yet, I couldn’t determine why he acted guilty. Could it be he felt embarrassed about making a pass at me? Or my rebuff? Or that I’d recount the story? Or a combination of the three? Whatever conversation occurred between us stays between us. It’s nobody else’s business. Besides, he’s happy. After all, he’s with an intelligent, creative, fun and stunning woman. Which leads me to ponder. Why did he act that way? Did he think I was going to disclose what happened which might be tantamount to wreaking havoc with his new-found love? What kind of person does he take me for?
Anything I have to say, or even my reluctance to say anything would only convince Leila that something occurred between her big hulk and myself. I can tell she already has a soupçon of doubt. Doubt like that’ll undermine whatever happiness she has with him. It’ll probably lead to general mistrust, the death knell of a budding relationship.
Fuming during my bike ride home, I rail at the misfortune of even talking to them. Actually, it was good fuming about them as distraction from the fact that my lungs flapped alongside from chain smoking. It’s just one of those situations where you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Maybe I should throw caution to the wind and tell her what she wants to hear. All in all, this foray convinced me my instincts were right on target. Next time, I’ll stay home, chain smoke and type to strangers on the internet.
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This blog and all its posts are a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.