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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Welcome to the Freak Show.

Last night Jay was nice enough to accompany me to my first of few holiday parties this season. As I mentioned earlier, Tim hosted at his amazing apartment in Edgewater. Jay and I spent some quality time circling the neighborhood looking for parking and being stuck in one way hell that is the north side.

We got a pretty decent spot and wandered over to Tim’s place. Tim didn’t recognize me. I suppose because I was looking so stunning in my new red wool coat. Tim gave us a tour and handed us drinks. Within ten minutes we were sitting in a corner with the one person I knew chatting.

The best synchronicity of the night was a book showing up twice. Jay has studied my bookshelves every time he’s been in my apartment. I suppose I give most people the same treatment, so it doesn’t make me feel too naked. He picked out two books for comment this time. Jonathon Franzen’s How To Be Alone and Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens by Sloane Tannen.

I picked it up in London when I was feeling… Oh, I don’t know. Bitter. Baggage Ridden. It is a hilarious book with lots of photos of chickens in dioramas. Anyway, since Jay had already decided to be the Bitter Indie Boy in the corner, it was appropriate to pull it off the shelf. When we got to the party, Rachel said, “You have to see this book, it is so hilarious.” It was, of course, Bitter with Baggage.

Around midnight I knocked a beer over with my coat and left Tim’s party. Jay and I agreed to go to some bar, some where. We wound up at The Freak Show. I didn’t name it that, one of my customers did. He and his girlfriend are regulars at The Freak Show. It is a 5AM bar a few blocks from my apartment. I’d never gone, so it was a risk to suggest it.

It was well lit and pretty empty when we arrived. After we took our seats at the bar and ordered the first round, the bartender asked if we’d come before. Of course not. I mentioned my customer, who was her customer as well. The owner bought us the next round. Around 3AM, The Freak Show began.

Who are these people? None of them eat ice cream. They are apparently all from the neighborhood, but not one person had a familiar face. It was wild. Jay and I talked for a couple hours. I tried to open up a little, but I still seem to be reciting my resume of cool things. T-shirts I’ve collected along the way.

I can’t say that I’m more afraid of him calling me tomorrow than I am that he will just stop calling or stop emailing. Why? I know what to do when he stops calling. That is what I’m used to. The fade, the fizzle, the disappearing act. I am trying not to analyze, but that is nearly impossible. Does he like me? Can I bear to care for him, in case it doesn’t work? What is it? Are these even dates? They feel like dates and look like dates, but might not be. Why can’t I relax and stop worrying?

I have some moments of zen. Some moments where I don’t need labels and am going with the flow. But I have more moments of worry. That is what years of crushes and first dates-final dates will do to a girl. I’ll try. That’s all I can say. I’ll try.

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