Wednesday, January 09, 2013

NOISY SILENCE

I'm in the club the other night, surrounded by the sounds of DJ Doppler and a dozen colleagues from the Paragraph Factory. Everyone is hollering and having a good time. I down a couple of vodka-and-Red Bull shots, sip a glass of champagne for Jonah's birthday.

It is the loudest silence I have ever heard.

I put on my rondavis mask and act the part of the reclusive bon vivant, the guy who is so seldom seen that when he does make an appearance, it's time to mark the occasion. That's the case on this Saturday night. People look delighted to see me. I'm dazed on several levels.

They talked loudly in my face and tell me it's so goddamned good to see me out, and fuck this person or that person, who cares if they're here, all that matters is that I'm here and it's time to have a good time. I nod and pretend I agree with what they're saying. Truth is, I can barely hear their words.

I'm happy to be here — for Jonah, mostly — and I'm glad I'm not brooding in some darkened room. But I feel disconnected. I'd rather be on a couch, watching a movie or reading a book. Despite my best adhesive the mask is slipping from my face. The introvert is close to being revealed. Almost no one knows that guy, and the person who knows him best doesn't seem to like him very much.

Even before I get confirmation I know this coming week is going to be brutal and blunt. The next few weeks, I believe, are going to be true tests of my equanimity. I will have repeated chances to blow it. It's up to me to stay calm, to be like Fonzie.

Inside I just want to shout: "I'm done with these fucking tests, OK? I'm done!"

But I know better. A lifetime of tests and trying times lay ahead. My best won't be good enough. But it's going to have to be. It's all I've got.

Day like this, I wish May 5 would have been the end. Too bad wishing won't make it so.

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