Tuesday, September 30, 2008

L'sha-na-na Tova-va-voom

I spent the bulk of last night with a friend.
A sunshine and gumdrops kind of kid. Big, happy, Anime eyes kind of kid. The kind of kid who's smile looks like that goofy kid at the restaurant who took the lemon out of his mother's drink and shoved it in his mouth, stretching his lips wide, corner to corner. The kind of kid who doesn't fake it. She's just one of those folks who makes you feel like you're at a boring movie, throwing popcorn at the screen.
She's a fun person.
I saw her last night with less good to say about the world than I do on any day of the year.
I'd leave my fireplace roaring on Christmas Eve. I'd put a bear trap under my pillow for the tooth fairy. I'd even catheterize Cupid with one of his own little, red arrows. Last night, Jessi had me beat.
It was the first night of Rosh Hashannah and she was getting the last of her things taken care of, before she officially settled-in somewhere miles away from all of her friends. She didn't care. She didn't have any friends. Not even me. I'm not there for her, when she needs me. I'm hardly around at all. Too comfortable with routine to bother with friends, unless they fit into that routine. I consider her a friend and she does the same for me . . . but, really, I just called her on a whim. I was down town with nothing to do. She wasn't even the first person I called.

After I met her at her old apartment, after I saw how different she was, I went upstairs to help her clean up. She'd moved in with a fresh-out-of-highschool party girl who found out that partying was a lot more fun when she didn't have to worry about rent. Jessi was ditched by a baby girl who just wasn't ready. It was like a Niel Diamond song.
I helped her mop, clean the refrigerator and pick up the scraps and dregs of parties past. She almost cried.
She said she was wrong.
She said she had friends.
An easy thing to let roll off your back. "Shut up, baby. I know it." Easy to say it's no big deal. Easy, when you just called somebody up on a whim, because you were bored and didn't want to waste gas by leaving town when you had plans a few hours later.

She had the same plans as I. We went to a small get-together on the behalf of a mutual friend who was celebrating her birthday. Jessi wasn't sure it was important enough. She had friends, but not enough that she wanted to see.
She was self-conscious.

We arrived. We mixed-it up with the moderately sized crowd. We drank responsibly.

When I left, she ran in front of my car to stop me.
She had to thank me for reminding her that she had friends.

I didn't take the highway home. I didn't want to be around other cars. I took the scenic route . . . in pitch blackness.

I went down town on the first night of Rosh Hashannah to visit a friend in the hospital. He was discharged by the time I got there. A good way for him to bring in the new year, I suppose.
I called people to hang out with them, because . . . if I couldn't think of any apologies I had to make, I was going to do something else to make sure my friendships stayed in tact.
I was going to see people. I was going to be a friend. That would be the mitzvah of the occasion.
But the person I saw that night was an unplanned visit.

Was Jessi my mitzvah . . . or was G_d just calling me out on my own bullshit?