My New Life
Below are the 8 most recent journal entries recorded in the "jamie_stringer" journal:
After hanging up the phone I look at my notebook where I've frantically scribbled "Get LIMES, SPEARMINT LEAVES, and RUM!!" right underneath "Failed lie detector - Talk to Ethel Ferrara Apt #15 - Blood on floor mat" and three enormous question marks. Hopefully the market by my apartment will still be open.
I walk there, enjoying the fresh chill that September is bringing and stop at the market. I'm in luck. They are open and I easily find what I need and cram it into a bag and head home, staring at the sidewalk, my mind going over the phone conversation again and again. Was I too forward? Will he think it's weird that I've asked him to come to my apartment on what is really only the second date, or I guess third if you count our pizza "lunch." Is this a date? What am I going to wear?
My apartment is in its usual state of "fake clean," meaning everything sloppy has been conveniently shoved out of sight to give the illusion of spotlessness, a practice which used to drive Eugene nuts. I pull out the candles and a slightly corny CD called "Sounds from the Caribbean" which I got at Crate and Barrel over the weekend and begin preparing my own pico de gallo and bean dip, continuously glancing at the clock. I hope he likes spicy food . . . I pause for a moment and look around the apartment. I imagine how in just a few hours it will be different. A new presence will change it and the image of him within my walls will leave a lingering image which will remain long after he leaves. *That is, if he leaves* I think, causing myself to giggle into the onion I'm chopping.
A black dress. Definitely.
Current Mood: excited
Current Music: something sort of reggae
They've given me a murder case.
A murder case.
So much for a vacation. I return to the States with a monstrous head cold, only to find that New Orleans is gone, gas prices are out of control, the Iraq situation is still out of control, my air conditioner is out of freon, Brad is out of town, I'm out of Kleenex.
I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I'm in my apartment, reviewing the evidence, reviewing my client's statement. An eighteen year old. His best friend was murdered, and he is being accused of doing it. He says he didn't, that he dropped his friend off at his apartment and left. But somehow his friend ended up shot to death inside the apartment. The neighbors are saying they saw him go inside too.
I put off viewing the photographic evidence. I can't deal with it right now. Too much reality. Instead I look around my apartment, almost as much an escapist environment as the beach on my vacation had been. Everything is nice. Everything appears clean because I've shoved it all into my closet. Everything is a sort of mauvish pink color. My mind wanders to the dead friend's apartment. What did it look like? Maybe I should get a pet. Maybe I should call Eugene. No, he's busy. Maybe I should leave a message for Brad.
Current Mood: melancholy
To Do List|
I am leaving tomorrow. My flight leaves at six twenty in the morning, meaning I have to be at the airport at four thirty. I know I don’t really need two hours, but I’m not leaving anything to chance. I honestly don’t think I’ve taken a vacation since before I started law school. How can that be? Even now, as I organize my notes, getting ready to give my last outstanding case to Jimmy, I’m thinking that I should really just stay until it’s over. How can I leave not knowing if Millie will be compensated for her charred scalp? It’s really an image I can’t wash off. I grab my sweater and my favorite coffee cup and make sure everything is arranged nicely for myself when I get back.
“Suzy?” I don’t wait for her to acknowledge me because I know she won’t. “We still haven’t received payment from the Pellizari case, and you need to call her and stay on top of that. Oh, and remember to send that letter we talked about. Oh, and if I get any phone calls from uh . . this number” – hands Suzy a slip of paper – “don’t take a message, just let it go to my machine.”
She nods absently.
“Are you all set?” Jimmy comes in, smiling. “You better come back with a tan.”
“I will, Jimmy. Just for you. Did my notes make sense? Millie’s expecting you to meet with her tomorrow.”
“Yes Jamie. And yes. The meeting is on my schedule. Don’t worry.”
“I wish I was going,” Suzy grumbles.
Jimmy gives me a quick kiss on the cheek and wishes me well, and I start to leave, but then rush back into my office just to really make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.
“Okay, I’m going, “ I say as Jimmy and Suzy smile patiently at me.
Once outside the building, I do relax. The bus should be arriving in 4 minutes, which gives me a moment to clear my brain of everything. Instinctively, I turn and look back through the windows. It is dark outside, so I can see in, but they can’t see me. I watch Suzy and Jimmy talk for a while. Jimmy does all the talking and Suzy rests her chin in both of her hands and listens to him. She looks so interested. She never looks at me that way. But then Jimmy goes away into his office, yet she continues to rest her elbows on the desk and her chin in her hands. She stares across the office at nothing. For some reason her last words to me start to reverberate in my head. “I wish I could go.” Watching her now, I suddenly become extraordinarily aware of the childlike sweetness of her large eyes. And I notice how sad she looks. And I realize she has probably never left the city. Probably never left this neighborhood.
“I wish you could go too, Suzy.” I whisper, but then my bus has arrived. I get on and pay and find my usual seat three rows from the front. As the bus pulls away I look back at her again through the window. She still hasn’t moved.
Current Mood: frantic
scent of italian sausage and fresh basil . . .|
For the third day in a row, Suzy the administrative assistant has brought me a slice of her grandfather’s infamous pizza. And for the third day in a row I have eaten it under her watchful eye, savoring it, smelling it, closing my eyes orgasmically as I let the spicy sauce glide over my tongue and the cheese dribble down my chin and onto my keyboard, and proclaiming, upon completion, that THIS is the best one, even better than yesterday’s, better than any pizza I’ve ever had before. After I’ve gushed to Suzy’s satisfaction, she returns to her desk, and we resume our work in silence, knowing we won’t speak again until tomorrow at Pizza Time. I never imagined food would be the thing that would bring us together. Of course, it helped that I finally realized her name is “Suzy” and not “Susie.” But complimenting her grandfather’s pizza was a smart idea, not only because it made Suzy finally treat me like a human being, but also because it wasn’t a lie; it really is the best pizza I’ve ever had. So, now she brings it to me, every day like clockwork, bestowing me with the honorable membership into the elite group that is deemed worthy of access to her pizza. Mmmmm. I love Italians.
Current Mood: satisfied
Current Music: Street Noises from outside the window
Ok, dammit. Pescatore simply can't keep doing this to me. This must be at least the third handsome prospect he has scared off. Was it my imagination, or was Brad actually about to invite me out for drinks? It's probably just as well. He works with Alan and I can't even mention the Crane law office without Jimmy shuffling uncomfortably. I don't think he will ever forgive Alan. I guess I don't blame him. I would have to be very discreet if I were to try to socialize with Brad, which . . . might make it more exciting . . . but truthfully, Brad kind of reminds me of that frat guy from college that I keep trying to forget about, but on the other hand, something about his cerulean blue eyes make my biological clock say that now would be the perfect time to have his children.
Anyway, I wonder what business he wanted to talk about. Perhaps he'll stop by again.
Current Mood: irate
I told myself I would only write in here once a day, but I'm already breaking my own rule. Anyway, I’m reading The Bell Jar right now. I’m only about half way through. I can’t believe I haven’t read this book until now. I think it would have had a major impact on me if I had read it when I was 19, the age of Esther, the main character. She impresses me. I am like her in a lot of ways, but in other ways she is much braver than me. The part where she goes skiing and breaks her leg has stuck in my mind. It reminds me of the first time I went skiing. Like her, I had no clue what I was doing, and like her, a boyfriend coerced me to go up to the top of a scary hill. Unlike her, I did not feel reckless exhilaration as I raced down, out of control. I felt terror. I guess this means I don’t want to kill myself. And unlike her, I didn’t break my leg. I did the smartest thing I could think of, which was to gradually lower myself so that I was actually skidding down the hill on my butt, dragging my poles behind me to slow myself, eventually coming to a stop about a quarter of the way from the bottom. At that point I picked myself up, and glided to the bottom of the hill on my skis, giving my non-observant friends the impression that I had successfully skied all the way down. Yes, it is a metaphor isn’t it.
Anyway, I pity Esther. I don’t know how this book ends yet, but I think things are just going to get worse for her. Thank god the plight of women has improved, at least I think it has. Sometimes I think men like Alan Shore set the women’s movement back 100 years. But other times I’m not sure. Women seem to want to be sexually harassed by him. Did I want that? No. I honestly didn’t, and I think that’s why he never harassed me. Interesting. Was he really that perceptive? Yes, he was. Tara loved the attention, and he knew she would, and that’s why he focused on her. He was a smart guy. Just not my type.
Current Mood: contemplative
Current Music: "If You Leave" by OMD
Today Susie glared at me again when I came in to work. I think I'm making progress with her though. What is it about me and the administrative assistants? Well, I guess Tara was more than an administrative assistant. I know Susie and I will be friends eventually; I hope that we become friends. I think people see me differently than I see myself. I often feel mis-perceived. People usually think one of two things about me: 1) they think I'm a hardworking studious successful woman, and therefore too intimidating (or maybe too dull) to consider dating or 2) they just see a blonde. They just see Blonde Woman in the archetypal sense. I'm not sure what that means. Maybe they expect me to be ditzy, maybe I act ditzy. Sometimes I feel like I've always been ill-defined as a person. My character doesn't come through. People don't know me. I'm not how people perceive me.
Current Mood: melancholy
Current Music: Something classical
Getting used to working with Jimmy . . .|
I've been so busy. I haven't had time to write or even think about anything personal. It's good to keep a journal, I think. It forces you to acknowledge your feelings, and you can look back at your accomplishments and feel like you've . . . accomplished something. Whatever. Anyway, I've been busy getting used to the new law firm, but I miss my old friends. I miss Ellenor, even though sometimes I think I annoyed her. I miss Alan too. I don't know why he and I never connected the way he seemed to with Tara. I wonder if he knew about me and Eugene. If he did know, I would imagine this would cause Alan to want to pursue me, so he could feel superior or something, but he never pursued me. He must not have known. I miss Eugene too, and I am so proud of him. I know it never would have worked with us. But I did love him. There, I admitted it. See how helpful a journal can be?
Current Mood: chipper
Current Music: Bon Jovi