I wash my hands. Look at my face in the mirror. Voices from the kitchen make their way to my ears through the walls.
A friend has pulled me into another one of my utopia moments. Six smart, loudmouthed women got drunk around a table. There is baking and vodka, talk of Rammstein concerts on the river Volga and the perils of liberal upbringing, negotiating a job at the IRS with trying to make it big with your punk rock band, rescuing stray cats and dogs and the monogamy of long-distance relationships. This is where I smile and shut up and drink, because the relationship in question is new and steamy, and stretches a mere three hundred miles. I wonder how our hostess would handle an ocean.
I look for a hand towel and spot the one white ceramic tile that stands out from the others. In bright red lipstick, it says
Do I dare to eat a peach?
And my mind responds by rote,
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I come back to the kitchen just in time to hear our hostess, a powerful intoxicating creature, if still a little young, wrap up her recent love story in all the sarcasm and brutal honesty of a female identity duking it out with itself:
“I am such a romantic whore. I love it when he puts me in my place, but I refuse to shave my pussy!”
“You have Prufrock on your wall.”
Everybody shuts up as they make the mental leap from boyfriends to poetry.
“You have Prufrock on your wall. In the bathroom.”
The rest still have no idea what I am on about, but her face lights up. Three hours and a bottle of pear schnapps later, she shows me the full printed text proudly displayed on her bedroom wardrobe door.
“In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
Isn’t that the best? Isn’t that just the… pinnacle? What’s your favorite line?”
She honestly loves the poem. Without thinking, I say
“’That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.’”
Because, in my private universe, the one I dare disturb and in which TSE is my shameless, jealously kept property, being misunderstood sometimes feels like my natural state of being so much that it hurts.