Wednesday, November 10, 2004

My lunch with Christie

Wednesday, November 3. Bonnie buzzes me.

"Steve, a Christie is here for your lunch appointment?"

I am supposed to give Bonnie all my lunch appointments so she can schedule around them. She gets annoyed when I don't.

"When's my next appointment?"

"1:30. Steve, please don't forget to tell me-"

"Yeah. I got it." Sometimes Bonnie feels like a mother figure.


Christie and I wind up at Suzanne's, a nice bistro downtown.

"Do you realize what happened the last time we went to a restaurant together," she says.

"Of course! I got stalked!"

She laughs her hearty "HaHaHaHa" laugh.

It was over a year ago. We were at a romantic candlelit dinner in some faraway restaurant, and as far as I knew, no one in the world knew where we were. And one of my exes, Sherri, comes storming in.

"You are SUCH a bigshot!" she says. "You think you're SUCH a bigshot, don't you?!" Her voice is quaking.

Well, which is it, honey? Am I a bigshot, or do I just THINK I am one?

There are maybe 60 people in the restaurant. They all stop and slowly turn to look at her. They are looking at her, not at me. I see waiters scurrying in the kitchen area.

I stare straight ahead. I pretend she's not there, that I can't hear her or see her.

"You better watch out for him," Sherri says to Christie. "He's only after one thing! That's all he wants! That's ALL. HE. WANTS!" she shouts, inches from my face.

Two waiters surround her and take her by the arms. "Let's go, ma'am," one of them says. They lead her out, and there is a round of applause. A man at a nearby table even sends me a drink.

"Hey, at least I got a free drink out of it," I say.

"What did you do to her, anyway?" Christie says.

"Screwed her, dumped her, the usual," I say.

She narrows her eyes at me. "How many girls have you been with, anyway?"

"Thirty-eight," I say without hesitation.

"So I've probably slept with 100,000 people then," she laughs. "But you're with someone now, right? You said that, didn't you?"

"I was. I'm not anymore. But I'm with someone new now."

"GOD, Steve! You are a busy boy, aren't you!"

Our lunch comes. This is very boring. I am really here to see what my chances are with her. I know that sounds selfish and, God help me, immoral, since Christie is married. But I'm not pushing the issue at all, just letting her show me what's on her mind. Think of it as a reconnaisance mission. Even if she does want to fool around, I have all my options open, including not taking her up on it.

"I'm not drinking today," she says, smiling slyly. I love her lips and her straight teeth: She reminds me of the girl on the cover of the Cars' first album.

"Why not?" I say.

"I'M PREGNANT!!!!" she says, almost shouting. A couple of heads turn to look at her.

"Congrats!" I say, smiling.

It always feels hollow when I congratulate someone on a promotion, or an engagment, or a pregnancy. It's not that I don't care about them, but it's just that my emotions don't usually run very hot in any direction. High-stress situations don't usually bother me much, but things like this don't excite me much, either.

I haven't fucked Christie in well over a year, so it definitely ain't mine. This pregnancy doesn't involve me personally, and truthfully, I'm congratulating her because it's appropriate, not because I mean it.

We talk about her husband and her pregnancy the rest of the time. I tell her about Steph, briefly, and Christie gives me one piece of advice:

"If it was meant to be, she'll come back."

I think she is right.