Monday, October 21, 2013

jordan, never down and out

i said, “good morning.  how are you?”

she said, “fine.  but it’s evening here.”

morning in portland, oregon, i was just beginning the day with a cup of coffee and a newspaper.  jordan, in england, was drinking wine in a library.

jordan reminded me this morning that it has been ten years since we first met.

that first fall together in college, jordan and i spent hungover mornings on the steps to the new men’s dormitory with coffee and black & mild cigarillos we had obtained from the anxiety inducing gas station down arkadelphia road.  happy groups of students and families strolled across the quad, avoiding eye contact, worried by our troubled languor.

i met jordan one night when my friend ryan took me to her dorm room.  jordan stood over her bed, looking at a dress laid out over the covers, a contemplative frown on her face as if she wondered whether she could bear to put it on or not.

jordan always maintained an easy elegance.  she did not like to be seen where her sweatpants.  she did not want to be caught with her hair down.  she liked shirts and a nice pair of flats.  she wore large sunglasses, like a starlet from the fifties.  

on friday night she seemed at home greeting the owner of our favorite restaurant, bottega favorita, as if he were an old friend.  the young college going friend to an established chef with three restaurants.  

while not a sister herself, all the sorority sisters loved jordan’s company, her attention, and she floated between all the social groups as a freelancer.

we were nineteen then and twenty-nine now, but jordan always seemed a little older than so many of our peers at college.

jordan could keep up with the parties and the twittering of sorority socialites, the flirtations of fraternity boys.  she could act like the perfect hostess, a veritable madame de guermantes of young birmingham-southern society.

jordan stayed with me at my apartment for thanksgiving our sophomore year.  we made dinner together.  drank wine.  watched movies.  sighed at how exhausting our classmates could be.  laughed about how much we loved our art  history professor, dr. spies.  frigid that year, we opened a window, dressed in sweats, our throats wrapped in scarves, and blew cigarette smoke at the screen in the window.  as adverse to the cold as we were, the smoke refused to drift out the window.

i loved our downtime together.  i love how snarky she could be.  and then with a flip of a switch, a smile, and some grace, she’d be clever and lovely.  a hostess.

No comments: