Music to Deaf Ears

I remember her very well- as I should, since I’ve known her for a long time. I only see her sporadically though, and even then we don’t really talk. But as the mother of a childhood friend, she embodies a special role in my life, like most mother figures would. But all that has nothing to do with the last night when I saw her, when I stood in wonder if she was, perhaps, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

It was at my father’s birthday, I couldn’t remember which to save my life. She was personally invited, like the majority of the women there regardless if they were married or not. The husbands just kind of tagged along because they assumed they too, were invited.

But she was special. I can’t really put my finger on it, if it was because of her age and how well she carried it, or the fact that I got to witness her divorce and mental breakdown from a great distance, through children’s eyes. She recovered and went on in life, calloused and alone. But she seemed happy, in her own right- In fact, that night, she was dancing.

And I watched. She was wearing a black dress, which complimented her short hair of the same color. It wasn’t anything in particular that made her appearance such a striking one, I think it was the sum of a lot of things. The faint smile on her thin lips, eyes half closed and her body moving to the music in such a careless and distant fashion, that one could wonder if she heard the music at all.

She looked immortal. She looked as though she had just lived a hundred lives, loving so many and still moving on alone. As though she had given up on it and moved on, finding some remnant of the past in the eighties music playing. She moved flawlessly, without trying to impress or seduce, without trying to recover somehow what she had lost, as if she had decided not to care, anymore.

There’s no telling how deep the impression was that she left in my young mind. I hardly remember any particular moment from that whole evening but that one, and lodged in my brain like a little gem, precious but otherwise of no real use.

It cut like a knife however, at my friend’s wedding, while I was chatting to some drunk, overweight woman with bad breath. She said she loved my dancing, and when I raised an eyebrow, she nodded, “Yes. You seem so careless and distant, it makes me wonder if you hear the music at all.”
It seems that, at age 26, I share the same attitude towards accomplishments in my love life than a 40-year old woman, who, after her divorce, decided to live and die by herself. I smiled and thanked her, because I happen to be a good liar.

Hi, mom.

I’m quickly writing this email to let you know I am not dead, raped, or in any way seriously injured. I am writing this from my Blackberry, which I am considering pretending to lose if it weren’t for the fact that I’d feel guilty since you gave it to me, and that you’d just give me another one.

So, like you made me swear, I’m currently going out with friends. Most of them I haven’t met before, but you know me, they’ll be my best mates by tomorrow. We’re not having an orgy of some kind (which I regret, considering how handsome Belgians are) and we’re not taking hard drugs. No, we’re at a free-jazz festival, chatting away with music on the background that reminds me of those moments when you realize you’ll have to call in sick, while stumbling for the toilet.

There’s about 15 people here but I have only been talking to a few so far. Our circle is somewhat kidney-shaped because it had to form around another group while trying to keep out of the rain, and from where I’m sitting I can’t really follow any conversation going on the other side. It seems they’ve moved on from heated discussions about the Pukkelpop events to a heated discussion about politics.

On my end, directly opposite from me, there’s the guy who probably had most to drink of us all. He is currently shouting jokes about America and “cumming down the stairs” like he’s trying to get through to 50 people standing 10 yards upwind.

Next to him, the quiet one, although obviously sloshed like most of us. He’s an interesting character but so are all the others so I’ll keep him for last to find out about, considering the effort it takes to get his life story out of him.

Then… beside him, next to me… a giant of a man. I forget his name but they say he’s Polish, and that makes sense because he stands out from the others rather sharply. He just made a bet, and I kid you not, if he could fit a Duvel glass inside his mouth, and throw his head back and chug it. I swear to god, he won the bet. His prize was a bottle of sweetened Smirnoff vodka, which he downed in similar fashion. I had a sip too, it tasted like liquid candy.

Then there’s me, typing away on my Blackberry. People are rolling their eyes and trying to jerk it from my hands, but I think I got it through to them that my employer likes to check up on me, I have to let them know where I am because they worry about me.

On my other side there’s Maarten, being… well, Maarten. He’s not drunk, he’s not obnoxious, and he’s trying to keep up with the candy jokes by holding up a piece of chocolate cake, calling it “solid candy” and stuffing it in his mouth with obvious taste. He’s clearly annoyed with me typing away, but that’s mostly because I told him about you asking away about us two. He suggested just giving you his facebook page and leaving personal questions in the “private life” cabinet, although he gave permission to inform you that he gives wicked head.

Next to him is his sister, a beautiful child with extremely long, equally beautiful blonde hair. It makes her look like a princess; I think I’ll invite her to my princess ball in two years, when my hair is long enough. You can tell Maarten loves her- she’s the only one he asked how her day was. He’s giving her hell now though, because she took his cake and is handing it out to the others. It was hers to begin with, but I still think it’s a little harsh on him.

So now you know where I am, with whom, why, how, and some of my personal thoughts. I hope it will last me a little while because I have better things to do than explaining my life to my employer- enjoying it, for starters.

A disgruntled employee.


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