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From The Vaults: The Heart’s Dandelions

(This has another part somewhere. Check the archives for the bit about opals.)

My roommate came back from vacation outraged about a friend of hers, a boy who had been to her parents’ at Thanksgiving and had apparently been flirting with two of her other friends… had actually gone so far, in fact, as to try to hold one’s hand as he was already holding the other’s, a vignette she repeatedly brought up. He had apparently already slept with one, under her roof. She seemed to think this was disrespectful.

It sounded familiar.

She has told the boy he is “no longer welcome in her house,” in those terms. I could sympathize with her one the hand-holding thing, but I had to work to muster even a little tepid agreement about the sleeping together at her house thing. Once I heard her repeat the story a few times it became clear that this, not the bigamous hand-holding, is what she was worried about…

Her and the shit [a certain high-powered friend of mine] have been throwing up lately — when I said “standards” to this friend, “high standards,” she agreed that yes, she did have high standards, and made no bones about the fact that she wasn’t about to give them up. She anxiously re-arranged her tofu on her plate, drowning piece after piece in a bowl of murky brown sauce like so many unwanted kittens.

I don’t know if it occurs to her that it goes both ways. I don’t mean to say that anyone would have standards too high to go out with her. I was trying hard not to tell her that she was looking for a god.

I miss Lauren. I miss the Lauren I have a picture of, in her pajamas and bare feet standing outside the mod with a cigarette in one hand and a seedy dandelion in the other, and her tangled hair spilling over the phone on her shoulder. Even all rumpled-faced as she looked, she still radiated the most holy sex appeal. Imperfection was her best medium, and I loved her for that. She got neurotic and twitchy at times, sure, and uncomfortable with the messes she made of her academics and emotions, but she was never one to hold back on some revolting fact about her body odor or impulses regardless.

I miss being around people who wholeheartedly embrace being human, even its ugly sides. My mother is one, usually. Evan, I think, is another, with his almost autistic lack of attention to other’s perceptions of his cross-dressing and sleep habits and mold cultivation. A few of my aunts also hold my respect along these lines, and I should say President Clinton does too. Or at least, that’s what I would guess from the way he comes at his most apologetic speeches. How nice to have a president who grew more and more human as I myself began to realize I couldn’t live up to my ideals.

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