The captain steers a well known course, he steers her straight and true.
As he trims the sheets he sings a song he learned on boats and bars:
"A sailor spends his Christmas in the harbour 'neath the stars"
Certain of my friends know the drill by heart:
Some major holiday rolls around, the house becomes empty, my friemds leave town, and I say, "This is how I like it." I spend my days off relaxing, doing housework, painting, tearing down wallpaper, and fixing plumbing.
That is my use for holidays. But you know that, because you could simply refer to last night's post.
But as I said, certain friends know the drill by heart.
They know that if they show up on my doorstep, grinning like an idiot with a bottle of rum in their hand, that I will drop whatever I'm doing, and I'll spend the holiday with them.
It's not something I require, nor something I expect. But some days, it just happens.
So imagine my surprise when I found Kori on my doorstep. I think the last I saw of her was in the Las Vegas airport in May (then again, she drifts in and out of my life so much that I often forget when I last saw her). She seems to be, in my opinion, an omen of good things to come, even if those good things are just as often the result of strain on my emotional wellbeing.
Kori always holds the bottle of rum by the neck, her fist tight around it. With wine or whisky she will grasp the bottle at its body, but not rum. No, there's something about rum that prevents her hand from leaving the neck of the bottle. It's almost as if she's afraid that its mouth might run away. No, it's different: it's more as if she wants to know who that mouth has been kissing.
I stepped out and hugged her, hard as I could. She squeeked at the pressure, and I laughed. "You're not as strong as I remember."
Her defiant glance caught me, and she replied, "I wasn't squeeking for me. You nearly made me drop the rum, bastard. Anyway, your ribs are getting boney." She smiled as she swept by me into the house.
That girl has never waited for an invitation for anything, from anyone.
It's a curse, I think, that the cats in this house will always garner more attention than I do. It doesn't help that we have a new kitten who is staying for a few days. I was ignored for a good hour while she "choochie-cooed" with various cats.
Conversation with Kori is always limited, anyway. I imagine that there's a lot that's been simply left unsaid. We don't need to say it, nor do we want to say it. Most of our relationship is making up lies about each other's lives. Only the really important information gets passed between us. We know addresses, not phone numbers. We know times when we're available, not schedules we can fit into. We know almost no mutual friends, and have no desire to meet any. Years ago we tried dating, but that was too complicated and strained our relationship horribly (though we would both admit that it was quite fun while it lasted). Our conversations are built mostly on the failures and successes that keep us moving through life.
She knows the major players in my life by name, and some she can pick out by sight if she's seen a picture. She may not know them personally, but she knows them in the way my LiveJournal readers know her: through my descriptions and the things that we've done. I almost officially introduced her once to my LiveJournal, as if she were some sort of character in a book, and there's a full description of her and our relationship (strange at best, fucked-up is more likely correct) already written up. But I chose not to post it. That's not how she belongs here.
Our conversations never start with "Hello" or "What are you doing here?" They skip the smalltalk and go right for the throat. I think that's because she usually starts them.
When Jimmy Buffett sang, "And out on the beach there are two empty chairs that say more than the people who ever sat there," he might have been singing about us. She's my girl made of memories and phrases.
"You need to find yourself a good woman," she said. "This lonely Christmas stuff doesn't suit you."
"It suits me just fine. Besides, all the good women I know are either attached, trying to become attached, engaged in family issues, or on active duty. I don't need a good woman, I need a lonely woman with time on her hands."
She smiled. "Well, here I am, stranger. Let's drink to lonliness and pretending we care."
And drink we did. We caught up on a wide number of failures through the year. Neither of us have had much success to boast about. Apparently, she lost about $5,000 in Las Vagas. "It's okay, though," she said. "It wasn't technically my money. If you bat your eyelashes at the right man, he'll put up a few dollars for you, take the hit if you lose, and let you keep what you win."
"What happens if you bat your eyelashes at the wrong guy?" I asked.
Her face darkened a bit, and she didn't tell me something. Then she smiled and said, "You hope the guy next to him thought you were batting them at him."
I told her about the amusing dramas my life has been party to, most of which can be found on this LJ or on a public ADF list if you're in the mood for some digging, and she shook her head in all the appropriate places, and nodded it in others. "Can't you stay out of trouble for just a couple of days?" she asked.
"I don't think I can, babe. It's not something I'm well practiced in. You know I keep threatening to change my middle name to 'Trouble,' right?"
Her smile lights the room, sometimes. But it lights it best when she knows what she's talking about. "Yeah, but you won't. It's enough for you that everyone already knows that's what that damn 'J' stands for."
I hit the high points of my travels to Austria, and she hit the high points of her travels to Greece. "Going home," she called it. I knew her family was Greek, but never knew her to call it "home" before. I was actually a bit surprised that she'd gone to Greece. . . She may travel more than I do, but she's never shown an interest in the Balkins. She's waved off my interest in certain aspects of her Greek ancestry before. Maybe it's always been too much information, and "too much" is what neither of us want.
She verbally berrated me for nearly two hours about the state of my boots and the fact that I hadn't been out hiking in any real sense of the word in almost a year. "That's why you're so damn skinny: no exercise!" she shouted at one point. She gave me some dates that she might be found hiking in certain areas of Ohio, and I gave her the same from my calendar.
The bottle of rum was long gone at this point. I pulled out some margaritas (and caught her sneaking a whiff of my sacrificial whisky a couple of hours later), and we started on those. Given how I felt this Christmas morning, I can only imagine how she must have felt. . . She's always much harder on the bottles than I am.
We watched my favourite Christmas movies, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Gremlins. I think we both fell asleep around two AM, in a sort of heap and pile on the couch.
There's an air of celebration in the realm of King Neptune
When I got up this morning, she'd already made breakfast and turned on the lights to the Christmas tree. Of course, breakfast has never been her specialty, so we're going to say it was the thought that counted, not the burnt eggs. I ate them anyway, though.
After breakfast, she looked at the pipes under Tina's bathroom with me. She and I are about equally handy, but in different sorts of ways. I'm pretty confident that her ideas have me to the point that I might be able to fix the problem on my own now. Have I mentioned before that a girl who can fix things is hot?
Anyway, we cleaned up a bit, hugged, and she walked out of my life again.
But seeing her was a great Christmas present.
The North Pole is the ocean's remote frozen balcony.
The continents keep drifting but the children sing and play
Cause nothing really matters, after all, it's Christmas Day.