I’ve Seen That Look Before

This morning I had lunch with a woman who might be interested in working on a project with me.  After discussing this mysterious project (my play), we got around to the topic of relationships.

“I’m just so happy,” she said regarding her live-in boyfriend situation.  I could see in her eyes that she wasn’t gushing to show off.  I’d seen that look before.  It’s the “I’m Not With A Jerk And I Know It” look.  She’d found something very rare and precious, a nice guy.

The problem I have in life is that a person of dubious character generally doesn’t have “I’m An Asshole” tattooed on his/her forehead.  In fact, the knife I pull from my back usually got placed there in an embrace, one that followed compliments, praise and other warm fuzzies.  In my less wise days I could get drunk off of such longed-for expressions of adoration.  Call me cynical now, but when people lay it on, I may stand and smile, but in my heart, I run for the hills.  Likewise, unless I know someone really well, I don’t dish out the praise for fear of seeming creepy.   In this land of cheese and fluff, that stuff can torch appropriate lines.

Last night I attended a live taping of a show.  As I sat in the green room, I overheard the wife of a famous actor talk about their 40-year marriage and the challenges of long term relationships in Hollywood.  Now this actor’s behavior – as reported in the papers – can be described as “not so innocent.” Had she suffered through 40 years by grinning and bearing it?  Or had she ever had that look of happiness I saw in the Woman At Brunch.  We’ll probably never know.

Tonight I went salsa dancing on the promenade.  As I walked to my car with a friend we passed by a couple in the throws of a loud quarrel.  Across a street we saw a man bleeding; he had been assaulted and the cops had just arrived.

“People act very strange during a full moon,” said my friend.

Or maybe people are just strange.

Just for today, relationships are strange and mysterious.



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