And so, my ‘Liebster Award’ nominees train moves right along, with my next stop at Babe’s! I do especially love to call her ‘The King Of Queens Of Funny’ and ‘Phoenix’, for the mere reason, nay; fact that she inspires me a WHOLE lot! She’s an Amazon, a Fighter and a Victor, thus the appellation, ‘Phoenix’! Through all of her life’s woes and struggles, she comes out smelling like the most beautiful and sweetest of scented roses, taking all in her strides and managing somehow, someway; to smile and laugh through life’s adversities! She’s witty, feisty, fierce, fabulous and very intelligent, a firebrand! She’s the phenomenal one with the pen name, ‘Outlier Babe’, and she blogs here! If you’re not afraid to get your ‘silly on’ and laugh yourself sore whilst picking up life lessons and getting plenty inspired too, then she’s your ‘Man’! She’s my idol and I love her to pretty bits and teeny-tiny pieces, TOTALLY!
Thank you sooo much for doing this for me Phoenix, God bless and keep you and all of yours ma pumpkin! You do know you rock doncha?! Well then, now you do and I flatter you …….NOT! *smoochies*
Isn’t that too bad, that (here in the U.S.) such good friends had to feel embarrassed to hold hands?
Our other friends would have been disgusted if they’d known we were still playing house with a teddy bear, but Ruth and I had many happy afternoons caring for our little Kenneth. He looked so cute with his tiny outfits and little booties. It was too bad the baby bonnets wouldn’t fit over his big tufted koala ears.
I am WASP-looking. Ruth’s ethnic Japanese-ness was invisible to me, except when she criticized her parents’ culture. She thought chopsticks were dumb. She was repulsed when one of their Japanese house-guests slurped his soup loudly to show how much he enjoyed it. I noticed Ruth’s parents’ culture most often when I used her bathroom. The bathtub was a deep hole in the floor, and, in addition to the usual toilet, there was a mysterious device next to it.
“It’s a bidet [bi-DAY].” Ruth answered.
“What’s a bidet?”
“It’s for washing.”
“But washing what?” I wondered. “Your feet?” Back when I was growing up, some adults were still prejudiced against Japanese people, because of World War II, but they weren’t prejudiced against Koreans. There was a push for adoptions of Korean orphans for many, many years after the Korean war. It seemed like every magazine had an ad begging you to adopt a Korean child. I thought it was odd that Koreans were okay, but Japanese weren’t. They looked the same to me.
Ruth and her sisters had no limits. As long as they excelled academically, they needn’t ask permission to do anything. Her older sister, sixteen then, I believe, was having active sex at home with her boyfriend. Her younger sister–who knew what SHE was up to.
When we finished with our cleanses, and had worked up an appetite, we’d cook up a mess of teriyaki steak with whatever liquor was to hand. One time, we couldn’t find anything red—that was our main criterion. We finally, in desperation, grabbed an awkward-shaped bottle of something called “Pinch”.
There were some disadvantages to that freedom. I had brought a WWII strongbox of my male parent’s over to Ruth’s house—with his permission—and her sister had, without my permission, sawn through the beautiful tiny bas relief-with-lion lock.“I wanted to know what was inside” she explained, guilt-free.
(It saddened me a great deal. I still have my autistic younger-days eidetic memory of that tiny lock. It was a sweet thing, and old and precious: A lovely warm bronze tone that made you want to hold it and say “Aren’t you the nice lion?”)
Ruth and I slept together every night. We’d wait until our families were asleep, sneak to our respective most-private locations, and phone each other, where we’d talk quietly long into the wee hours–until we nodded off, holding the phone receivers.
Every day, they opened the locker of a boy they didn’t know, and took one big bite out of the very middle of his lunch sandwich. Then repacked the lunch, and reclosed the locker.
I asked how they thought this made the boy feel. I asked how it would make them feel. They said it would make them laugh. I told them I thought it was mean.
She went to an exclusive women’s private college. Afterward, she lived off Central Park, then abroad: Paris, Rio. We did meet up once—she treated me to lunch at Windows On the World: That famous restaurant-no-longer, at the top of one of the towers of the World Trade Center. She and I spoke easily, affectionately, but of two different worlds. We may as well have been in two different towers.
At some point, Ruth’s new husband compliments us on our house–our fixer-upper gentrification project in the middle of L.A.’s most dangerous neighborhood. I used to respond poorly to compliments. True to form, I say, truthfully, that we have just found termites in the attic.
“What are you talking about? We don’t have any termites!”
I am dumbfounded. I stare at him with my jaw open.
He turns to our guests.
“I don’t know what she’s talking about.”
That was the last night I saw or heard from her.
Just like with the date you fall for but never hear from again, I almost wanted to believe some disaster had befallen Ruth. But I knew she had chosen to drop me out of her life.
For decades, I blamed The Termite Disaster for making me seem like a crazy person. And I resented Ruth for taking the side of my ex.
Later, I saw it may have been her realization that I was an abused spouse. And I resented Ruth for not wanting to get involved, and leaving me to suffer alone.
Finally, though, I accepted that her choice could have been due to my own self-involvement: I may not have asked anything about Ruth or her spouse that night. I used to be so me, me, me.
Last year, at Christmas, I learned that Ruth had stayed in Los Angeles all these years, with her husband, and raised her family here.
That…hit me pretty hard.
She had been living a few blocks from where I last worked, went to the gym, and took frequent walks. Because she’s who she is, and misses not a thing, and because I, I’m told, tend to stand out (primarily my hair color) it is not impossible that sometime during those years, she spotted me once or twice.
I may have loved her all through my growing-up years, but she acted toward me like one cold-#ss b#tch.
And yet, I would still want Ruth as a friend.That’s what it’s like, growing up loveless. You’ll take a semblance of friendship, even from those who done you wrong, and who are just as likely to do so again.