“…And then,” Debbie concluded, “he said he knew I didn’t aprove of his art and that I was ashamed of him. Since then, it’s been hard convincing him to see me at all.”
“But it sounds to me like you’re proud of him!” Victoria exclaimed. She’d just listened to Debbie describing her son’s rollercoaster-style life for the last ten minutes, and Debbie’s eyes had shown in the faint glow of the cellphone screen with a deep love and admiration of her scattered boy.
“I am. I think his sculptures are beautiful. He thinks I’m full of it, though,” Debbie’s eyes filled again with tears. “I don’t know how to convince him differently. But,” she collected herself. “I do the best I can, as often as I can. I hope he’ll understand about today.”
Victoria nodded somberly. The man in the corner of the elevator gave a sudden phlegm-based cough and both Victoria and Debbie jumped. They’d almost forgotten he was there; he’d been utterly silent while Debbie spoke. Now, Debbie looked up at him with a half smile.
“Rob, sit down, Hun,” She said. “They’ll get us out of here eventually, but there’s no use standing like a lump in the corner. It isn’t going to make anything go any faster.” Victoria smiled inwardly at the motherly tone that Debbie used with this stout, stuffy little man. Rob wore an impeccable suit, obviously expensive, in charcoal grey, and his hair, so obviously oiled, had a little spike standing up out of it, as if he’d begun to run his hand through it before remembering that he mustn’t ruin his exquisite hairstyle.
“No, thank you, Debra, I’d rather stand,” he answered. Despite his look of calm snootiness, his voice sounded strained. His hands were stuffed in his pockets, and Victoria could tell that he was playing with something in his right hand, twisting something around and around in the pocket.
“What have you got there – Rob, is it?” she asked.
“It’s Robert. And it’s nothing.”
“Seems like something,” Victoria smiled at him. She had a way of smiling which she’d used on her younger brother when they were young – she still remembered how to do it. It had made her brother tremble with fear and then submission, and it did the same thing to Mr. It’s-Robert. He looked at her strangely, not sure of what her smile meant, and broke eye contact. He took his hand out of his pocket and showed Victoria a smooth, round stone, the kind that’s abundant on riverbanks. It was, Victoria noted, the perfect skipping stone, because it was smooth and rather flat. But then Rob held it out and the light caught it, and she saw that the stone wasn’t grey, as she’d thought at first, but rather a deep green. Then she saw that through the green were thick veins of a very dark red.
“What is it?” she asked wonderingly. It was beautiful.
“It’s a bloodstone,” Rob answered. “It’s the birthstone for March, and it’s very rare to find such fine specimans as this one. My wife and I went to India for our second honeymoon, and she bought me this as a surprise. It’s actually a funny story – we’d been in the market, and this old man without a word of English tried to sell it to us…” Rob’s voice trailed off. Victoria stared at him in wonder. Here was a man who she would never guess would have gone to India. For a second honeymoon, no less! People only have second honeymoons if they’re married for a while, right? Her thoughts were in a whirl at the image of this stuffy, haughty little man galavanting around Indian markets.
Vicky! she chided herself. You mean thing. As if you know anything about people by looking at them… If the world worked quite so simply you’d never have gotten to where you are. So say something nice now, and close your mouth.
“It’s a beautiful stone,” she murmered.
“Yes,” Rob seemed about to smile but then rearranged his facial expression into a frown. “When will they come to get us the hell out of here?”
“Soon, Hun,” Debbie answered wearily, pulling a bottle of water out of her purse. It was really getting hot in the small space. “I hope. Want some water, folks?”
There is a fascination that people seem to have with creatures of the night. Look at the amount of novels, movies and TV shows dedicated to vampires and werewolves – the latest Twilight craze being only the most recent and romanticized version of these creatures.
I’ve never been one to really believe in things like this – monsters, ghosts, things that go bump in the night. I’d love it if they could be real, only because having creatures like that around seems to make life very much more interesting, but I’ve always been a “prove it” sort of person. Such is my attitude towards religion as well, but that’s for another post, sometime in the future when I have the nerves for it.
Back to the adoration, or at least fixation, that so many of us seem to have with vampires and werewolves – I wonder where it stems from? Yes, things of danger are always interesting, especially when you’re snug in your bed reading or in a padded chair at a movie theater. But then monsters and hags and ghouls should be dealt with just as often – and yet they’re not. We seem to love the idea of a tortured soul, someone who is human some of the time or still resembles a human in day to day life. Something about the moral questions that arise from a lifestyle that involved killing and maiming seems to be intriguing, something we’d like to delve into – as long as it’s not our own problems of course.
Ah, the musings that surface after watching “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” at midnight…
To anyone who hasn’t seen this episode of The West Wing – you must. It is incredible. I shall now explain my claim in detail. Consider this practice for writing a review. Sort of.
First of all, any episode of any TV show that starts with repeatedly saying the words “soy bean fields” simply because they’re funny is a good episode. Second, any episode of any TV show featuring a song by Tori Amos also has to be pretty damn swell. Thirdly, a couple of quite attractive men being smart on screen about real issues has to be a plus.
But apart from those O-so-obvious reasons, this episode deals with issues that are still relevant today. The stupidity of certain political candidates, the fall of the dollar and the things that a stock market collapse brings about, human nature at its pettiest and at its kindest.
Although this episode is filled with hilarious quotes and language games – something The West Wing is always full of, due to its incredible writers – this is still my favorite quote, just because it’s so true and so relevant:
It should be hard. I like that it's hard. Putting your daughter through college, that's-that's a man's job. A man's accomplishment. But it should be a little easier. Just a little easier. 'Cause in that difference is... everything.