(Previously on The War Bride: narrator watches a 4-hour Emma miniseries, experiences a moment of clarity.)
I have good, reliable friends. Smart, too. The kind of smart you trust will tell you if you’re deluding yourself.
No need for the bullet list now. Let’s go straight to the main course.
Two girls named Stella.
(The overabundance of Stellas isn’t anything to write home about, per se. Were they male instead of female, we’d be facing an overabundance of Fabios. Funny how first names can rise up and dominate a generation only to be regarded as quaint little artifacts ten years down the line.)
(But we’re not majoring in dude history here. So bear with me.)
Stella One is married, living abroad, and older – but not that much.
Stella Two is half of a lovable twosome, living in Italy, and younger – but not that much.
Each Stella knows about the Other Stella. They never met.
As it happens, though, they share an uber-feminist take on popular culture, a mate who worships the ground they walk on, an enviable grasp on current events, a warm, easy way with words and an uncanny ability to balance any household chore with a career in traditionally male-dominated fields. If 2012 brings us even a fraction of the disasters we fear will strike, and the only people in the northern hemisphere that manage to survive are the Stellas, in a couple weeks electricity’d be up and running again. I love them dearly.
Let’s see what they made of my situation, as of last week.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but panic’s a sneaky fucker, therefore its trigger will change as it pleases. Just sayin’.”
“You’re so bothered by our political situation because you don’t have a man. I’ve got a man, see what I care.” (sips tea; inhales, exhales; looks me dead in the eyes) “Yeah, you’re pretty much doomed to carry your unhappiness along, no matter where you move.”
It’s all in good faith, and the sentiment is appreciated, but I wonder why all of a sudden everyone decided that “unadulterated honesty” is where it’s at. Was there a big girlfriend convention while I was gone? Was it called Sorry If I Hit A Nerve?
There’s also a Stella Three, anda Stella Four, who haven’t been consulted about the matter for fear of information overload. Stella Three got divorced, so she might be familiar with the yearning for personal space, but I’m not pushing it: Stella Four tends bar, and does not need that drama.
Stellas aside, everyone else has offered his or her condolences. Some more convincingly so than the others, but that’s what the social contract tells us to do. When in doubt, say you’re sorry.
In my case, the social contract also mandates that, after the OMG-are-you-ok-did-it-hurt-was-it-bad-could-it-be-and-will-you-still-love-me-tomorrow string has been stretched out to maximum capacity, a person will lean closer and whisper in my ear “…you know, I did think the journey thing was a terrible idea.”
The question, of course, is not “why are they so eager to speak up now?”, but “why did they feel they had to agree with me ?”
It’s the Old Boy horizontal fight in verbal terms, and it’s been running in my head for some time.
I have exactly one friend who objected to Ibiza. One. Now I’m going to have to give him the crazy respect you’d give to someone who was cured of brain cancer by electrocution. And he’s so going to tell me what to do for the rest of my life. And I will have to take heed.
According to my mother, who has now earned the right to be known as “Bride Mom: Unlikely Voice Of Reason”, nobody dared to spill the beans because of some eerie power of persuasion I’m supposed to possess.
Nice try, but – no. My powers of persuasion are nowhere near that good. If they were, I’d have been banged more times than the Law & Order gavel.
This social contract thing baffles me to no end.
Something good came from the crash, too. Now I’m the sole provider for a home.