Saturday, September 20, 2008

Like a Virigin

I got out with Pakistani girl who has returned from here year running a Korean Guest House in Islamabad. She's a young Korean girl, only twenty five, and I've been in love with her for about as long as I've known her. I take her to the Pakistani restaurant in town that she didn't know about it. She teaches me how to say the food is good in Pakistani and we eat until we both feel we can barely move. Stuffed on curry and nan we head downtown for a few drinks and to take in the live music at the lonely hearts club.

At the bar we sit and start out drinking still talking quietly amongst ourselves. We are early and the night is young. She complains about being an Hajuma and I tell her she is not. Her complaints of being old make me feel older. I buy another round and we settle in between her pigeon English, my pigeon Korean, and the music that overplays it all.

As the night moves further on we are joined for drinks by The Noise. I explain to Pakistani girl that The Noise produced a wonderful live noise show on Wednesday night. I enjoy noise music. We all three talk now as apples are passed around and cut up by the girl. It is at this point that the Old Friend enters the bar.

I was happy to see him. I was sad to see him. He was gruff, he was projecting anger. Maybe angry, maybe not, but it is impossible to miss that what those in his presence are to feel is anger. I'm not angry.

He joins the table for a drink. I ask him a question about how he is, and the response is gruff. I try then to talk to Noise, or Girl, but his presence is like a dead weight now at the table. My friend, the loneliest heart in the Lonely Hearts, with an anger so readable it is hard to deny. I try to believe that it is just an act, but am struck by the knowledge that eventually the act becomes the reality. If this is all that is seen, does it not become the all?

So I try asking questions, trying to engage in a conversation. Trying to move from anger to just general misanthropy which is both more interesting and slightly more palatable on a Saturday night. It's just not there. After four questions Anger responds "Why are you interrogating me?"

"I'm not, I'm trying to have a conversation."

"Maybe I don't want to."

"So why are you out tonight."

"To have my beer and go home." At which point the beer is downed and Anger leaves the bar.

And I fret. I personalize it, I make it about me, I wonder what I have done to cause this. It's irrational. I feel guilty. I worry. I spend the next two hours thinking about Anger rather than about the night, and the music, and what should be a good time. And I try to figure out why the Anger, but in the end all I can come up with is that I do not understand it.

I don't have life. I don't have the ability to be irrationally angry about life to the nth degree anymore. I've given it up to some extent. I still have my moments, but more and more I see balance with each passing day. And I think it is this that upset me most. I miss the varying facets of my Old Friend. The wit, the charm, the paranoia, the happiness and the sadness. I miss it all, so many sides of friendship, so many ways to interact. Now all boiled down to a single mote in this existence, the least interesting mote, the least relate-able.

The Lonely Hearts fills with more people and the Noise and I enjoy with the Girl the musical musings of a good Korean cover band. They play at some point Like a Virgin and as they all jump up and down and croon about how they will give all their love to a boy I think of it. To be Virginal, to understand and enjoy simple pleasures, to let go and indulge in what is being offered, all the experiences you can take it.

I think to myself, yes, to be Like a Virgin is a far better goal and one that is infinitely more enjoyable.

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