Measure Twice Cut Once

29 Sep

blueprint with handwritten note saying: simplify, client says design asks too muchWhat was nervousness anyway? It was tangled excitement with snarls of annoyance. Julia set the brush down on the bathroom counter and dabbed a little essential oil on her neck and chest. Nervousness was anticipation soaked in hope and doped with cynicism. She washed her hands and went to the wardrobe for her blouse and skirt. How many times had she gone someplace just to meet, possibly meet, ostensibly meet “him?”  Tucking her lips and ducking her head she pulled the perfect green chiffon blouse on. Far too many times, that’s how many times.

The structure of romance was built on a lot prone to liquefaction. Julia believed in soul mates, the magic thing that just happens when you meet the right man, but too much time had insisted she must be wrong; every chapter of her love life should have functioned to be a respite from the mental state she employed in her work, a counterbalance to her need for perfect measurements, CAD renderings, the day to day of the shape and reason of physical worlds. She wanted the flair of tossing back her hair and laughing without surmising, considering without assessing. Buildings house environments that foster effectiveness, increase comfort, and keep people dry when it rains. Love should tug toward freedom with a tantalizing tension but what it always did to Julia was skew her so drastically no aspect of life felt like home. Love was distracting because it was never  set quite right. Love maladjusted life because its corners were never true.

The speed dating was a crash course in humility, or was it humiliation? Internet dating only confirmed that while women online tended to seek lasting relationships, men, thrilled at the prospect of free hookers, prowled the profiles as study guides to become – become whoever you wanted them to be. The charming cast themselves as soul mates til a few months in, when they’d reveal they were only bit players, turning to declare her a taxing distraction from their real lives.

On her 45th birthday, Julia lifted her glass and told her friends that marriage was so obviously unlikely to happen it was now time for her to register at Macy’s and Target. “I want the silverware, I want the blender and I want the China I’ve held off buying for myself!” She said breaking out the good tequila. “Wedding presents for Christmas!  Wedding presents for Birthdays! Wedding presents so I can start to catch up with you Joneses!” She toasted, “Consider me a single woman family!” Hurrahs and cheers and laughter meant to uplift but Julia listened for a voice of dissent.  None came beyond a few tones of “awww,” at the fringes.  Whimsical, reflective, thoughtful gifts would be gone. Practicality was new the spice of life.

And here, just over a year later, Julia stood before the full length mirror, the black skirt fit nicely, thank you, the pedicure was lovely, the hair hung slightly swingy, and she smelled divine. She was ready to meet the man Mike and Candace had told her about a few weeks ago on her 46th birthday.  They’d given her a handmade fluted vase that went with nothing in her house, and she loved it.  “He’s a good guy,” Mike said.

“And who knows?  He might make a nice addition to this ‘single family home’ thing you got going here.” Candace said.

She wanted true love. She stepped into her sandals. She wanted someone to dance with in the living room spontaneously. She grabbed her purse and keys and went to the garage, pushed the button, opened the door. She wanted someone to laugh with and eat dinner, lay on the couch with and watch a movie, have sex with, make love with, feel magnetism and fire, know deeply for a lifetime. She started the car and pulled away from the house. Nervousness was a hopeful feeling, shifting into excitement. Checking the rear-view mirror she caught a glimpse of her shining eye.  “Yes but,” she told herself navigating a left, “I hereby only hold out hope for a decent conversation.”

Share this:


2 Responses to “Measure Twice Cut Once”

  1. ingridf October 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful.


  1. Measure Twice Cut Once « jeanosullivan - September 30, 2012

    […] The Character Project: Julia […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: