Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Courtesy of Fate -- Back By Popular Demand, Although It Makes Me Look Bad

Coincidences and the Courtesy of Fate

It was a somewhat jarring coincidence when I first learned that the charming, intellectually fierce and sexy man who’d written me on was Jewish, 5’9” and a San Francisco divorcee named Rob – a man with the same name and general profile as my ex husband.

I later discovered that this new Rob man, however, spelled his name with an extra ‘b’ at the end. Robb. WELL, I thought. THANK GOD. A SIGN THAT I AM NOT repeating old behavior or suffering from “repetition compulsion”. Plus, this new Robb was a tawny brunette, had hazel eyes, and was 48 years old– and when I met my ex, Rob, he was a hazel-eyed tawny brunette who was 44 years old. Another differentiation.

And ex Rob is 60, now. Another GALAXY of Robs.

Although Robb and Rob had both fast tracked into my life through immediately praising my brain, my writing, my exotic eyes and my swagger, this RANDOM commonality, I knew, was just because they both “got” me. They both gave me the immediate sense of thrilled urbanity. But the resemblances ABSOLUTELY ended there…except I had immediately felt “safe” around both of them. (As it happens, this was a grand, sweeping error, in the case of my ex. To be fair, he wasn’t feeling “safe” around me either.).

Yes, I felt trusting and relaxed talking on the phone and emailing Robb, nonchalant, waiting for a window in his busy schedule as CEO of a non-profit organization, so that we could meet and hang out. This, I reasoned, was now a GOOD thing. Rebuilding Trust In Self.

Now I could hang with a man who GOT me. I could give myself a little rope, some fun. Re-Investment in Self.

I felt I’d done quite a bit of inner work. Now out from the shadow of divorce, I deserved to kick up my heels.

As Robb pursued me and we spoke on the phone and emailed, it became crystal clear that this man was different – maybe even different from all the men I’d known before. He was a breath of fresh air - a CEO, bright, unassuming, and serene and at the top of his game. Certainly, I was an altogether different woman now than the naïf that I was in the nineties, and this was not some new age pinhead karmic “test” of some sort – not a cosmic game of musical electric chairs. I had written a book about the divorce, for God’s sake. It was all cauterized out of my bones.

And since I felt nothing passionate for my ex any longer, I knew I’d fully and truly learned one big lesson: never get with charming sexy Jewish men named Rob who are 5’9” and express love by serial fucking shiksas who will never be quite bright and petite and submissive enough, not even if they manage to be Thumbelina.

I took complete absolution from the curse of the previous, disparate Rob’s.

And imagine my delight when Robb showed up at my door tonight, just as handsome as ever and made me feel like I was walking on air. I mean, just a good, solid, wicked funny and dry non-practicing Jew. (Rob had never practiced either. Who does?)

One hour turned into four, and before I knew it he had charmed the very pants off me. I can’t say I gave him much of a struggle. The man was really, really unique. And yet I felt I kind of knew him, you know? We’d just followed a very civilized and improvised path to this inevitable turning point. We were on the floor of my living room, making out in our
underpants. At some point we decided the couch was too small and had moved to the larger venue. We fell on each other like animals, really, but also very sweet, very comfortable and easy and fun and right. Our bodies just seemed to fit together, since we were both roughly the same size. In fact, you could lay a transparency of me and Robb and Rob on a light board and there would be only a few major differences. Uncanny. I chuckled at the absurdity of the coincidence, as meaningless as it was. Because Robb man was a CEO and he was 48, and…well why belabor it? That was then, this was now.

His iphone rang at one AM. I thought it was my iphone! Boy was I relieved when I realized it was his iphone. Whew. Because, you know, I am dating more than one guy; in fact I have a superglam Sushi Ran Sausalito tryst planned with another man Saturday night. You know, because the really great men need to be kept on their TOES. I’d always felt that way. I’d had another BF when I first got with my ex Rob, too. Not that it mattered, now. Right.

When Robb and I embraced goodbye at the door, it was now 2 AM. And I hadn’t let him have actual intercourse with me. More progress, more growth.

‘Goodbye,” he said. And walked to his luxury car and slipped into the night.

I stood there, frozen with a rictus smile on my face.




Instantly, I was transported back to the night in 2000 when my husband Rob had
stood in the same spot, had hit that same mark, and very simply said “Goodbye.”

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK I chanted. I could hear the high, shrill laughter of the gods, and Jesus just tearing his hair out. I had FAILED THE Rob/Robb TEST, AGAIN.


I wrung my own hands, just HORRIFIED at what had happened. And I was sober THE WHOLE TIME. I had nothing to blame this on, except my own blind vanity and my willful ignorance of the same laws, the very same signs that had landed me in the padded bitchhouse slammer eight years ago.

There was nothing to do but pick up my clothes and turn out the upstairs lights. In the morning, it would not seem better, I knew. It would seem dramatically worse. Because I wouldn’t even have the sexual afterglow from the makeout session which I was now enjoying the last remnants of: God hates me, angels fucketh with me, and there is no justice or learning to be had. Ever.

That’s when I saw it, laid out flat and smooth on my dining room table.

A watch.

A man’s watch.

A man’s sapphire crystal Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick II watch.

Robb’s watch. He'd forgotten it. I was filled with spontaneous salvation and a bright, joyous greed.

I walked quickly and with sure instinct to my front door, flipped the deadbolt shut and killed the porch light.

Then, swathed in black lace boys cut hipsters and a silk camisole, I slipped the large, solid Swiss timepiece on my wrist. A wide grin spread across my flushed face. I buckled it.

Then, in the mirror, I went to see it on me. I held my wrist up to my hair, brushing a few strands casually to one side and moistening my lips. It looked fucking amazing.

And suddenly, the whole world was righted again. JUST LIKE THAT.

I logged onto the Swiss Army website, to identify the watch. Model 2451, retail price $350. Available only from Canada and the USA.

Or, by courtesy of Fate.


LindaC said...

Oh, Suzanne, I was so ready for you to run over the watch or smash it with a sledge hammer. Do you have a sledge hammer handy?

Love you, girl. You rock!


love you too.


Anonymous said...

I agree completely...never, ever destroy or give back jewelry of any kind. Consider it the consolation prize.

LindaC said...

Good point. :)

Katharine said...

Ha! Fantastic.

Also, Jewish men make me weak in the knees.

carrie said...

Dear Suzanne: This is the most perfect, and I mean perfect, story I've read in my life. Wildly funny, smart, AND the perfect ending? I don’t know a woman who hasn’t lived through some version of this, but this is far and away the most flawlessly told. And very cinematic, too. (It helped that you had the right underwear.) You had to have conjured this one, this way, in order to write this (you didn’t? really?), but fiction or true crime, this has to be my all-time favorite ever. Ev. er.

And so symmetrical! The Setup: that "being got" on a cellular level -- not a woman alive doesn't know the power of that seduction and would be a cynical twit not to respond to it, as being understood on our deepest levels is a nonnegotiable; also, being that love is love after all and worth risking every possible disappointment. Doesn’t the one who has our gray matter all locked up just make us swoon? Sort of on a level with coming home? Safety, of sorts? And god forbid he can write, then it’s all over but the shoutin’. (Circumspect behavior translates almost instantaneously to wariness. And wariness doesn’t invite love. We allow connection as an offering-up to love, to demonstrate our trust in love, that it will come if we keep our eyes and heart open. Therefore, no choice but to meet it head on, right??!! Alright, my fit has passed.) Then, after the lovely build up wherein Rob + b gives you the Glow, the Denouement: taking his leave in the most dick-like of manners, with an implicit “you’ve been had” airiness, he offers not even the most rudimentary of niceties (“I’ll call you”) after having imposed the most callous of scenarios on you (having created the crucial “I get you”/safety vibe, and then being all glow-producing and such, he says “goodbye”? Makes it clear he is not single and therefore won't be seeing you again by leaving his phone on? This is quite hostile and really not very nice). The Payoff: there could be none more exquisite. Karma bites us on the ass if we fuck with an open heart. Suggestions: you could sell the watch, wear it (it does look fucking amazing, after all), regift it, donate it or its proceeds and send the wife/girlfriend the receipt (that poor woman needs evidence). The Moral: Please don’t change your ways, Suzanne, you did everything right, and no one, but no one is writing like you today. Besides all the brains and talent and beauty, now, post-Robb: You got glow. You got a watch. You got great lingerie (it was new, was it not?). And you got a story. Oh, I think you win.

George said...

Damn, I can't find my Swiss watch anywhere...have any of you seen it? I had with me the other night and now it's gone. I wouldn't normally care, but my wife gave it to me and she's going to be asking questions.

LindaC said...

I found a watch just like that on the floor board of my car, George. I have no idea where it came from....

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Damn. There's another Carrie, and she said what I was going to say, only better.

Can hardly wait for your next book. This is going in, right? Promise?


George:" that'sright, your wife IS going to be asking questions. on he up side, your Cartier watch looks lovely on my wrist and it's getting a lot of interest.

LINDAC, CARRIE, KATHERINE AND BRAND: you all have made a very bizarre day on my planet into a good one. you've reminded me why i write in the first place. i feel like i just got a wonderfully pure blood transfusion. thank you!!!!!!!!xocoxoxoixooooo suzanne



and yes. it's ALL. TRUE. i will actually try to remember more details,if i can. i left out some heinous other shit that went down. i see now i needn't have. i have the perfect audience, so perfect i feel humbled....

carrie said...

Suzanne, I had so much more to say (and will say it, if pressed, even lightly --, but I was so inspired by how taut you kept it, I felt I had to respond in kind and make all best efforts to distill. You can see how that worked out.

I'm done reading George with a mouth full of coffee.

George Stuteville said...

Suzanne: Glad you liked the Cartier. I picked it out especially for you. Thought it went nice with the VS ensemble -- you have great taste for an English major, anyone ever tell you that?

Lindac: that wasn't my watch, I don't think. But I am hunting for a plain gold band ring that I sometimes wear. It is inscribed on the inside with: Here To Stay.

LindaC said...

oooooh. I haven't seen the ring, George, sorry. Oh, I think the watch must belong to the other George ;)

Polly Kahl said...

This is an anthem all women can sing (well, except for the expensive watch part. We wish.) You're so good when you're bad.