speaking of pretend, pablo likes to pretend he's an outdoor dog by looking out the window toward freedom. what a suppressed life that dog leads (not).
there was a man who called our house once convinced that someone else was on the other line.
he asked by name to speak to someone we did not know. and at first, we tried to explain. sir, you have the wrong number. but due to bad hearing or not listening or some combination of both, he kept on. he was thrilled to hear our voices. he had been wondering how we'd been. he missed us. he filled us in on the day-in, day-out happenings of his life. of cousins we must be thinking about and aunts he was certain we hadn't seen in ages.
and he called back, this man. left rambling messages on our machine. we'd huddle around it and listen as he breathed laboriously on the other end. sometimes, when we were there, we'd pick up, and engage him. be for him, in that moment, the family he needed us to be. he stopped calling after a while, but i never forgot it. maybe his memory failed him. maybe he truly thought my dad was his nephew. maybe he had pretended long enough that he forgot it was a charade and had succeeded in convincing even himself this was true.
i found myself thinking about him this morning while pouring my coffee. about how we morph into who someone thinks we are, sometimes without even knowing. and often, this is such a catastrophe. because the skinny jeans don't always fit and maybe the bangs aren't right for our face shape, or the book just doesn't excite that part of us that books are supposed to excite.
but sometimes this transformation can be just a little exciting, even fun. when you slip on the work pumps even though you sometimes feel just special enough for flats. when you curl your hair and swipe on the lipstick to become ready for friday night. or when you nod across the phone line that yes, you miss uncle billy even though you know full well that uncle billy is not your uncle billy and may not be anyone's uncle or even named billy. because pretend doesn't always mean pretense, after all.