Dear Kara, Lena typed, as her plane floated thousands of miles in the air. Somewhere nearby Jack and Sam sat, talking quietly amongst themselves in that private way that made Lena feel left out. But she didn’t really mind. Not at that moment. She was content to just sit, and type, and not think for once; to ignore her worries and fears and guilt, and simply be.
The plane shook suddenly, and Lena thought of Diana and her fear of flying. She smiled briefly and looked outside. The clouds stretched out endlessly against a light blue sky. The plane shook again and the captain’s voice filled the air, apologetic but confident that everything was fine.
The one flight attendant on duty came to Lena’s side and offered to refill her drink.
Lena nodded and thanked her. With nothing else to distract her, she returned to the email she’d begun.
So, you wanted to hear about my date. I think it went fine. The play we saw was wonderful.
Dinner was unconventional but interesting. And then in the car she admitted that I made her nervous because she didn’t know what I was thinking, and I admitted that she made me nervous because I’m a complete novice in the ways of love and dating and women and that I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be a date because... just because. But she just kind of smiled and said to let her know when I’d made up my mind one way or the other.
The evening ended with a half-wave type of thing and no plans for an encore.
But yesterday I saw her and I think I implied that the other night was a date – and then I kind of left her standing there, looking surprised and confused.
She invited me to a party and I said no. She invited me skiing with her and her friends for Christmas and I said no.
I’m sure I must be the queen of mixed signals.
What about you? How are you? How’s Lucy? How’s the art? Are the holidays stressing you out? Are you one of those people that does all of the shopping back in September or do you wait until the last minute (like me)? Do you celebrate Christmas or something else? I never thought to ask.
I’m cooking dinner for my friends on Christmas Eve. My family’s in Paris until January so Christmas Day should be a pretty solo affair. I haven’t even bought a Christmas tree yet.
Anyway, I’ve been meaning to ask: what’s your favorite book? Assuming you like to read and that you have a favorite book. I have too many to list but the first that comes to mind is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Have you read it? Actually, anything of hers is wonderful.
Hm. And now I think I’m out of things to randomly ask you. Actually, here’s one more: do you like hotdogs?
Kara yawned into her sleeve as she waited for the laptop to boot up. She glanced around the coffee shop and squinted across the room at the menu pinned to the wall, written in faux colored chalk and perfectly aligned lettering. She couldn’t see a thing.
Lucy appeared suddenly behind the counter, her brown hair pinned back into a high pony tail which swayed from side to side as she walked over. “Wasn’t expecting you so early,” she said by way of greeting.
Kara nodded absently. She wasn’t quite sure what she was doing there at ten o’clock in the morning when she knew perfectly well that Lucy didn’t get off until four-thirty. But the alarm had unexpectedly gone off at eight and Kara had been unable to get back to sleep because the television next door had been cranked to the highest volume setting and she’d been forced to listen to the high-pitched squealing of cartoons until even the pillow over her head couldn’t muffle out the sound. Then the Internet connection had crashed, and the cable had gone out, and the apartment had practically pushed her out the door with the threat of eternal boredom should she remain. But none of this seemed important right then. “What’s your strongest coffee?”
Lucy raised her eyebrows. Then her lips parted into a cryptic smile. “We call it ‘the Eye-Opening-Ass- Kicker’. Want one?”
Kara briefly wondered if that’s what it was written under on the menu. “Sure, why not?”
“Coming right up!”
Kara waited until Lucy had disappeared behind the counter again and turned her attention to the computer screen. Her email loaded and she sighed at her father’s name on the list. She’d been a bad daughter of late. Her father’s emails had gone unanswered for weeks, and still she couldn’t bring herself to email.
She felt guilty, especially now, only a few days before Christmas. She should at least send him an e-card if not a real card. It was the least she could do. But not today. Today she was tired and grumpy and not at all looking forward to last minute Christmas shopping with Lucy.
She skipped instead to Tess’ latest email and read it over, slowly this time, because she was too tired to read it fast. The words made her smile, and lifted her spirits in away that not even the ‘Eye-Opening-Ass- Kicker’ managed to do – though it did wake her up slightly.
Dear Tess, began her reply.
I’m glad that your date went well, though it sounds like you, my friend, are a tease. :) No matter. I’m sure that our esteemed Saucy Fipbic finds your mixed signals appealing and that you’re well on your way to become the future Mrs. Fipbic. I hope I’ll be invited to the ceremony. ;)
Life, on my end, has returned to its normal, boring self. Lucy had her audition but hasn’t heard back one way or the other, and nothing of consequence has happened to me. I will note, however, that it’s entirely possible that Lena Luthor is stalking Lucy and I, as she happened to be present at Lucy’s audition. Coincidence, you say? Hah!
Okay, well, maybe.
Anyway, my favorite book. Hm. It’s actually been a while since I sat down to read anything that wasn’t on a syllabus. And I suppose it’d be kind of predictable if I said Harry Potter but I admit to being a big fan of the series. I’d ask if you’d read it but I figure you have. For a while I was really into the Terry Pratchett Discworld series. Have you read that? I’ve been meaning to get back to it but I forgot where I left off.
I haven’t read The Poisonwood Bible. Maybe I will. :)
Hotdogs. What a terribly random food item to ask me about. I think they're great, but in my humble opinion, potstickers are the best food to ever exist on Earth. No joke.
Here’s where I ask you some totally random questions in return then, isn’t it? Okay. Let’s see.
Do you like... cashews?
What color is your toilet paper?
Which reminds me, I never really answered your question about my rather strange penchant for collecting toilet paper squares. It started as an art idea, I think. I thought it’d be cool to create a collage of toilet paper from every bathroom I’d ever been to. I’d even take a pen and write down the date and place I’d gotten the paper from. But, eventually, I started to forget to do it until I stopped completely.
Public bathrooms were a little tricky because of the lack of a pre-cut square (in most), and they’d always use that same generic type of paper so I kind of gave up on those after a while.
I still have a shoebox filled with them somewhere in case that collage idea comes back to me.
You must think me terribly odd.
Anyway, today I’m going Christmas shopping with Lucy, which should answer two of your questions. I am definitely not the type of person that shops early. In fact, if left up to me, I’d probably shop on Christmas Eve.
What’s on your wish list this year? :)
“She thinks I’m stalking her,” Lena said into the phone.
Jack’s voice sounded groggy and full of sleep. “It might be the fact that you are. And what the hell time is it?”
Lena glanced at the time. It was six a.m. “Sorry, I thought you might be up.”
“Who’s calling at this hour?” came Sam’s voice. She sounded annoyed. Then her voice was closer. “Uh... hello?”
“Hey, it’s me.”
“Lena?” There was a pause. “Are you dead?”
“No. I don’t think I am. But since you’re awake, tell me something. Say someone thought you were stalking them, how would you... unstalk them?”
There was a muffled sound and then the phone went dead.
“Hello?” Lena said. She frowned. “Guess they’re not morning people.” She tossed the phone back on her bed and regarded the computer. She read Kara’s email over again. Kara had been joking about the stalking bit, she knew, but the fact that she’d thought of it in those terms bugged Lena. It wasn’t her fault that Diana dragged her to the same place Lucy was auditioning. The rest... well, she had to admit the rest was mostly her fault.
She sighed and pulled the laptop closer.
Dear Kara, she wrote.
A tease? Hm. I’d never thought of myself that way before. You think she thinks of me that way?
I don’t know about this “future Mrs. Fipbic” business, though. I think all of the mixed signals are caused by the simple fact that I’m uncertain as to whether I like her or I just want to like her because I think I should.
The fact is that she’s beautiful and smart and talented and as far as I can tell, nice and sweet and thoughtful. She’s a Unicorn. She’s a mythical creature, possessing all of those amazingly perfect qualities that make you think, “Well, she can’t possibly be real.”
Only she’s real and potentially interested in me and it turns out that maybe I don’t want a Unicorn. Maybe I want a perfectly ordinary horse. Or... perhaps I’m after a totally different mythical creature. Like... a siren. Or a... fairy. Well, I digress. Do you see what I’m saying, though? Good. Explain it back to me.
So I see your passion for potstickers.
Potstickers was actually my favorite food for about a month. But then it wasn’t anymore. I decided caesar salad was way better. I actually have a wonderful recipe for potstickers if you want.
Your toilet paper story made me laugh. I do think you rather odd. But in a good way.
My toilet paper is white. Would you like a square? :)
And I do like cashews. I prefer peanuts though.
And here’s where I confess something you might not actually believe: I’ve never read Harry Potter. I know, I know. I just... haven’t. Maybe I will finally get around to it.
The Discworld series, though, I love. Have you read anything by Douglas Adams? The whole Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is wonderfully funny. I was actually talking about it with Ms. Fipbic the other day.
I can’t believe you have me calling her that. My friend Sam nicknamed her ‘Neo’ for reasons that elude me.
Oh, you asked about my wish list. Hm. None of the things I really want are material. I think I just want to find my mythical creature. No, let me amend that: I want to figure out what it is I want.
Christmas is in two days. This year has gone fast.
What’s on your wish list?