Our hands gesture freely, wows and oohs flit across the table as one of my best friends, Jesse, and I eat lunch together. We talk about marriage, identity, misogynism, sex and the age-old debate as to whether the pile of vegetables on our scratched white Souplantation plates is healthy enough to offset the inevitable trips for pizza and ice cream.
Heads together we giggle about my weird attraction to not very bright women and her starting fights with her husband because she fears being static. I relay my long, elaborate analogy as to where I am in my life full of burning islands and life rafts. The same tale I just gave to my therapist.
“How long have you been in therapy?” She asks
“Two and a half years”
“Wow, that’s so good. I’ve never been able to stick to it,” Jesse says.
That’s when it hits me. Any hour now I should be sane. I think sanity will have a light, tingly sensation. Instead of walking, I will float in a grounded way. Sanity will mean just getting up in the morning, dressing in ironed clothes and leaving the house. Instead of lying in bed fretting about how I am going to fit in all the things that need to be done in my day and promptly doing the most unhelpful thing, going back to sleep and making myself late. My new, sane self will be so far removed from fat attacks I won’t remember ever having one. I will no longer stand naked in front of my closet with a big pile of rejected clothes beside me while I beg for there to be something that hides my back fat and makes me appear taller. I will no longer barter, promising to never eat food again if one pair of jeans will fit me right now. No longer will I be late for work, miss birthday parties, or delay going to the grocery store because I have nothing to wear. No more running back into the house six times for things I have forgotten, like deodorant or underwear.
My sane self will be an expert shopper. She will know what’s in fashion and what fits my body type. She will replace buttons and sew up holes in my clothes. She will know exactly when something is out of fashion and give it promptly to GoodWill instead of driving around for three months with bags of clothes in her car. OK, six months.
She will keep on top of backing up her computer, will look over every bill to see that she’s not being charged too much, will clean out a cupboard every week, service her car on time, do every kind of exercise, research all new purchases and have an endless supply of new healthy recipes which she’ll serve in the proper dishes with matching material napkins.
I can see it now. As my new sane self I’ll throw a dinner party for six close girl friends and of course be an excellent host thinking of everything without overanalyzing. When everyone is eating, and wine is flowing my friend Christie will share the latest on her every now and again boy toy. “Well, he came by the office and well, one thing, well, led to another.” Screams of laughter will ring out only to be interrupted by me wanting to share my newfound sanity. “You need to break it off with him and get tested. You need to find a man your own age and have sex at home not in the office” I’d say with a smile. An uncomfortable laughter will follow. Then in a bid to help all my friends I’ll add “Oh, and Jamie, dating your dad’s best friend who’s wife is a detective and also your mum’s best friend just because your bored, is selfish and a sign of low self-esteem. You should really change that.” Moving around the table I’ll add, “Jane you never gave your marriage a chance, you were cheating on Tony with that girl from work all through your engagement. You need to give back the wedding gifts and leave her because if she is the type of woman to make you cheat well she can’t be the one.”
Then Christine will pipe up in defense, “What about you though? You’re dating Carrie, she’s like the dumbest wannabe playa.”
“Oh not anymore” I’ll say “I told her she needed to get more education. Poor thing couldn’t keep up with me.”
I’ll hear a ding from the oven. I’ll walk to the kitchen and serve up a fabulous, low calorie, low fat pie. “Dessert’s ready” I’ll say, but I’ll hear no answer, as the girls will have silently scurried out the front door.
I’ll sit in my perfectly clean apartment, with no texts, no myspace messages, no offers to hang out, no opportunity for sex. But I’ll be well adjusted.
“Are you going to call Carrie back?” Jesse interrupts my thoughts. “I mean that girl is serious drama,” she sighs. “I can’t believe she asked you out while she was standing two feet away from her girlfriend.”
Stuffing the last piece of dressing soaked asparagus into my mouth I sigh “Yeah, but they are broken up now. We get on great when I’m drunk and when she doesn’t talk too much. She’s hot.”
“You know.” Jesse says, “I would never have told anyone else about my need to start silly fights with my husband because I love him so much I want to feel connected but at the same time need assert my independence”
“I love that we’re just as fucked up as each other but in entirely different ways,” she adds.
I smile, knowing that any minute now sanity could take over.