Wednesday, January 16, 2013

in defense of pretending

 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.


kate said...

wow, this was absolutely beautiful courtney. it made my heart hurt for that man on the other line. i hope he did find his family. or that he had someone else there for him. but more than anything i am thankful you were there for him. your family. because sometimes families arent the ones we were given. they are the ones who we adopt. and it seems like you adopted that man into yours. and im sure your nodding and support made him feel loved. and thats what family is about <3 thanks for the reminder this morning. it was wonderful.

Amy @ AGirlCalledBeloved said...

Aww. I loved this post. I'm hoping that sweet man found his family members and talked their ears off!
And happy 2013 lady! Haven't been by in a while but I'm hoping your January is good so far!

Dorcas said...

There's such a fine line between pretend, and illusion. Thank you for writing this, it's just what I needed to read today!

Shay said...

You are the sweetest person in the world to humor this man- I bet talking to you guys made his day. Such a beautiful post!

Daydream Living said...

Beautiful post Courtney, you make me think with this one, thanks xx

chambanachik said...


annaKristianne said...

To the BEAUTIFUL Courtney,

Your words ALWAYS speak to me to the core. I think they are breathtakingly beautiful, and that they reflect who you are.

You're so precious to me, my beautiful friend!

Thank you for your blog. What a tremendous blessing it has been in my life!

Much love,


Cara-Mia said...

Love this. I think it's the sweetest thing.

Eleanor at Mirror Of My World said...

wow. loneliness can be a difficult thing, i feel for that man.
thank you for making us think more deeply about life! xx

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