So, I was just at Yoni's very modernist place a couple of nights ago. The ceiling's about 20 feet or more high; the kitchen is all stainless steel, and the floors are linseed-oiled cypress. There's more, like his Motherwell that he keeps propped up on the desk in the hall. And it's incredible, his place, but I want to keep this short.
I saw a bracelet made of rhinestones on his kitchen counter. I figured it was Rebecca's — his other off-and-on girl. I didn't let it bother me.
That's the scenery.
The evening was full of a number of his silly and seemingly pointless untruths. I say pointless, but even compulsive liars must have some motivation behind their lies. I have subsequently come up with three possible reasons for the following silly lie.
His task had been to rent a DVD that was neither action nor scary.
"Girly then?" he offered. (I've been learning lately that he offers things that he neither means nor intends to follow through on.)
"Something between girly and action would be fine," I said.
"Girly action!?" he said, laughing.
"Sure," I said, laughing too, with the images in his head, now in mine.
The DVD was in the player. We were drinking red wine and cozy, though I still had some residual irkedness. (I had gotten to his place before him, and when he walked in, he was on his cell...and took his sweet time getting off.)
Me: "The movie seems scary. Is it scary?"
Him: "I don't know."
"Well, didn't you read about it, don't you know?"
"No. I didn't. I have no idea what it's about."
Me: "This feels scary..."
Him: "It's not. It's apparently a love story with a supernatural twist."
So you did read about it!"
"Yes. I did," he smiled.
That's the background.
"There's my bracelet!" I saw my wooden-bead bracelet on his spotless floor near the bed. He claimed it had gotten knocked off the ledge. He claimed he hadn't picked it up 'cause he was always rushing and late. He claimed he had intended to tell me about it or return it. (It had been six weeks already!) He also confessed that that's just his way; that he doesn't have a sense when it comes to boundaries and possessions. He said it was his astrological fate! He also reminded me that he is not very empathic. In fact, that he is not. I explained that if he couldn't do something based on feeling ('I bet she's missing her bracelet and would like it back'), then at least he could know how to behave. And that at the very least, he ought to act from that knowledge. He agreed. He had a hard time, though, seeing why I felt like this was symbolic of his lack of care and disregard for me. He said, "If you want to get along with me, you should not continue to fixate on this."
In the morning I couldn't help but wonder about that other bracelet. Though I had learned not to let something like the presence of another woman's bracelet affect me, the cruel irony of seeing one not on the floor but sort of safely on the kitchen counter hurt. And I told him so, rather pathetically. "It hurts that my bracelet you leave on the floor and don't even bother telling me about...but Rebecca's rhinestone-one is on the counter."
"Rebecca would never wear that cheap tennis bracelet," he said.
That's the end. g
Natalie Bronstein teaches history at Marist College and is currently abroad in Vienna doing research for a novel set in the late 1890s. She has published several academic journal articles, as well as short fiction. Part One of this story appeared in the 2nd issue of EMAC.
Copyright byNatalie Bronstein, 2004. All rights reserved.