Knowing Me, Knowing You
Aaryn called me early Saturday morning to tell me she was going to help a friend of hers, who had decided to finally leave her boyfriend, and move. I was disappointed, but we agreed that we'd try to get together on Sunday, seeing as how she didn't know how long it would take. I offered her use of my Explorer, which she declined, saying that her friend owned a full size pick up, as did a few other of their friends who would also be helping her.
I decided that maybe I would use the time to try to clean up my house, since I had neglected my housekeeping duties for quite awhile, and I eventually wanted to have Aaryn come by and see my place. I couldn't have her knowing so soon what a complete slob I am, could I?
After washing dishes and vacuuming, the phone interrupted my laundry folding, but I was grateful for the diversion. Hiring a maid was looking sweeter and sweeter.
"Janna, it's Karen."
"Like I don't know the sound of your voice."
"Whatever. Listen, guess what I scored tickets to?" Karen asked.
"Dodger game?" I couldn't resist goading her.
"Nope, better. And before you say there is nothing better than a Dodger game, remember that most sane people have abandoned the idea that the boys in blue are World Series contenders this season, make that any other season in, say, the past decade."
"Doesn't matter, a true fan never gives up hope."
What is it with all these nonbelievers?
"Janna, I'll be married by the time those fools win another pennant," Karen chuckled.
"That was low, Karen, real low. I give, what do you have tickets for?"
"The Lion King," she said dramatically, waiting for me to "Ohh," and "Ahh."
"That kids movie?" I asked.
"No, dammit, the Broadway show! Only it's in LA now, and it's sold out every night, especially weekends, but I managed to snag two tickets," Karen said proudly.
"And this is important to me how?"
"I want you to go with me, you creep!"
"Surely you could scrounge up a date." I offered.
"No way, I want my best friend with me," Karen said, a little too sincerely.
"How many turned you down?" I sighed, wondering how far I was down her list.
"Three, but who's counting? So, will you?"
"I suppose I could, what time are you picking me up?" I asked, taking a mental inventory of my freshly laundered clothes.
"Showtime at 8, I'll be there at 6:30. We have to account for traffic and I want dinner too."
"Isn't it enough I got the tickets?" Karen asked, pretending to be taken aback by my question.
"You do have a point. All right, make it 6, and I'll buy dinner." I offered.
"Deal, see you then."
By some kind of miracle, Karen actually did show up at 6, and we set out to navigate the streets of Hollywood, looking for some place to eat that wouldn't take us two hours to get into. We found a place, hidden amidst all the construction on Santa Monica Boulevard, and I was thankful for the fact that the place wasn't crowded at all.
" So, why aren't you with your honey tonight?" Karen asked as we were seated.
" Aaryn was going to spend the day helping a friend move. She didn't know how long it was going to take, so we decided to try to hook up tomorrow."
"Aww, isn't she so sweet," Karen teased.
" She is that."
" Don't tell me that you're already whipped, Janna?" Karen sighed
I blushed, and became deeply engrossed in my menu, using it to cover my face.
Karen laughed, " Janna, you definitely need to get out more."
Two steak dinners and a few Harp's later, we made our way back down through the traffic on Sunset Blvd. to the Pantages Theater, with only minutes to spare.
The theater was vintage Hollywood, and I could easily imagine all the old movie stars who had been here for glamorous movie premiers and even for the Oscars, before they had to find a bigger place to have them.
Karen had two aisle seats in the front row of the mezzanine, which not only allowed me to move my legs about without having to keep hitting any seat in front of me, but also gave us both a perfect view of the stage and all of the seats below us. As the final curtain call was announced, and the first actor appeared on stage, I saw a couple running in to get to their front row seats, the woman's halo of blonde hair reminded me of Aaryn, but the lights dimmed before I could get a better look at her.
The show, with the music and elaborate costumes, had me entranced, so much that I never gave that woman another thought.
Karen and I both made a run for the bathroom, agreeing that whichever one of us was done first had to get in line for the bar. Of course that ended up being me, and I made my way out and into the twisting line that had now formed for drinks.
It moved a lot faster than I expected, and after I got our two cokes, I joined Karen, who was waiting for me against the railing of the stairs that led down into the main lobby. I handed Karen's drink over, and glanced around the room, taking in all of the different people who were there.
And then I saw her.
As much as I didn't want to believe it, there she was.
Only this time, I knew it was Aaryn.
Her head was thrown back in laughter, as she shared a joke with a handsome man I was sure wasn't the friend who had just left her boyfriend earlier that afternoon.
Karen followed my gaze, asking me, "Isn't that..?"
But before she could finish, and before I could form the words to answer, we were signaled that the intermission was over, and I watched as Aaryn, and whoever the guy was that she was with, made their way back to their seats.
I glumly made my way back to mine.
Needless to say, watching the rest of the show was not on my agenda, and with only the stage lights to guide me, I found her again in the front row.
I watched her for the rest of the evening, and I couldn't tell what her relationship was to the mystery man. She never leaned over in her seat towards him, as some of the other couples in the theater did. Both of them seemed more interested in the show, rather than helping me figure out who this guy was with my girl.
But was Aaryn really my girl at all? Did one really cool date, and plans for another, indicate that we were now a steady item? And why did she tell me she was helping her friend move, if she had plans to come here with this guy? And why, of all places to be on a Saturday night, did I have to run into her here?
When the show was over, I shot out of my seat and dashed into the lobby as the people with floor seats were making their way out. I figured that since Aaryn was in the front row, she would be one of the last to come out. As I stood off to the side, trying to be inconspicuous behind a vendor booth, Karen caught up with me.
"What in the hell are you doing?" she asked, panting.
"I want to see her walk out."
"Jan, I'm going to smack you upside the head once I catch my breath. Let's go home, there is nothing you can do here now."
"Karen, I want to know who this guy is. I want to see if they hold hands or anything, then I'll go," I insisted.
"What is the point? You are just going to drive yourself crazy over it. If that is the case, why not just bump into her and say, 'Oh hello Aaryn, nice seeing you here,' and see if she introduces her friend."
I shook my head, "I can't do that."
"That's because you are chicken shit, Janna. Instead you want to watch her from the side and look for something that might not be there. Let's go home, then you can call her if you want."
Just then, I caught sight of her as she walked out, arm in arm with her companion.
She never noticed me at all.
It's a safe bet to say that the car ride home was spent in silent contemplation. I was unsure of myself more than ever, my stomach felt like someone was slowly and methodically twisting it, and I wished that it would stop.
As Karen dropped me off at my place, she told me, "Janna, if it is one thing I know, it's women. Let her tell you where she was, don't let on that you know anything. If she has something to hide, she will keep it from you. If not, she is going to tell you how she ended up, of all places in this damn city, at the same place you were, and who she was with. I'm sure it isn't a big deal at all, you'll see."
I thanked her for an almost perfect evening and went inside my house, which suddenly seemed really big and lonely. I should have asked Karen to spend the night.
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