I notice it all around me.
It is Thursday, now, and a part of me feels like I have for days — maybe weeks — been saying words that mean things and words that don’t mean anything at all. I have been using phrases that previously would’ve intimidated me. I have been having conversations that mean something now that didn’t before.
It is strange, this empowering and intimidating vocabulary.
It is Thursday and I have meetings. Meetings and meetings and I am wearing the same suit I was wearing on Wednesday afternoon, and no one is going to notice, and I really don’t care.
The meetings last for days — or what feels like it — until it is finally cocktail hour, and I find friends and sink into a Sauvignon blanc stupor. I say semi-stupid things, because I am tired, and frustrated, and I have been going and going and going for weeks.
And I am wearing Wednesday’s suit, and I really don’t care.
You’re so different than when I met you two years ago, my one friend says.
But what she isn’t saying is that I use different words now. I use the right words. Until it is Thursday night, and I have had a few too many glasses of wine, and I am heartbroken over the things over which I will never have control. And then I privately use all the wrong words in public.
We go and go and go. We go until I forget where I am going and why.
We go until it is 2.00a, and I find I am accidentally at Armani/Prive with the guys, and we are talking about Annie Hall when someone brings us a bowl of gummi bears and marshmallows.
The gesture is aspirationally shady, as if to suggest something is Bright Lights, Big City on the opposite side of the world. In fact, the circumstances are very much above 14th Street.
We talk about muses, and shiksas, and fathers and daughters, and being a parent. Which I am not, but sometimes I think I wish I were. In another life, I would’ve been. If I hadn’t been in just this spot; if I hadn’t come to Hong Kong just five years ago, I probably would’ve been by now.
Er, could’ve been.
We finish the conversation and part ways, and I retire for the night, shedding the big girl clothes, but keeping the grown-up words. The authoritative; parental words. It is Friday where I am, but Thursday afternoon in New York. I reply to the Thursday afternoon messages in my serious voice before retiring for the night. Morning.
And I change into my nightclothes so I can sleep.