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Festival Part V (Mr. Houston Leaves)

April 30, 2016

We laid in bed Sunday morning until Mr. Houston offered to watch West Wing, an activity he knows gives me great joy. I made us breakfast.

A friend of mine brought over the custom-made table she created for me in exchange for some HOLI photographs that were hanging in her home. Mr. Houston was in the living room, pajamas and all when she arrived. He was as impressed with the table as I was. It was beautiful. My friend explained the choice of wood, how it was made and the meaning behind each cut and joint. She even showed Mr. Houston a picture of my photographs on her wall. I felt proud.

Mr. Houston said he would leave soon. I reminded him that he wanted to buy a drum for his friend. I asked him if he wanted to go back out to the vendors to see how much they cost. He did, so we got dressed and walked back downtown. We got more food and beer, making a vigorous effort to use all of the drink tickets. (That’s how they get you. They sell the tickets in quantities that don’t match up with the prices of the drinks. Everyone goes home with extra tickets.) Anyway, looking for a place to sit, we settled on an extended marble edge of the federal Courthouse that hosts one of the stages. The music was wonderful. A powerful female vocalist. I watched little girls playing around us, laughing when one of them announced, “I’m NOT it!”

“Does it remind you of when your kids were young when you see kids like this?” he asked. The truth was it reminded of being a little girl and the carefree happiness that came from being in my family. We switched to a bench and watched people walk past us, a steady breeze aiding the relaxed mood. “I’ll tell you one thing,” Mr. Houston said. “The women in Lafayette are beautiful. But not the men.”

I watched a couple of women walk past us, agreeing with his assessment. “It’s not just how they look,” I observed. “It’s how they dress and carry themselves.” We sat there a long time, just watching and listening. He didn’t seem in a hurry to go home or find a drum. But we eventually sought them out, asking prices at different vendors. They were surprisingly affordable but he didn’t buy one. We shuffled around from booth to booth. Occasionally he would ask me if I wanted something. I had seen all those wares year after year and I didn’t want him to buy me anything.

We were navigating through Jefferson Street, holding hands when he said, “You seem sad today. Is it because I’m leaving?” I laughed. His confidence crossed over into arrogance on occasion.  (Doesn’t it with all of them?) “I have a lot on my mind,” I said.

“You going to tell me what’s on your mind?” I shook my head, no. “Is it about us?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“You’re processing?” he said.

“Yes.” I answered. After a few minutes he asked, “Are you still processing?” I laughed.

Finally, we headed back to my apartment. I was exhausted. He asked me if I would go to Houston in a couple of weeks. I tentatively agreed. He collected his stuff and headed out. I kissed him at his car, went upstairs, plopped down on the sofa and put The West Wing back on, my xanax. As I watched C. J. and Toby and Josh walk around spouting Aaron Sorkin’s writing, I tried to settle my mind and get back to my own life.

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From → Rantings

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