When I see my face in eyeliner and red lipstick, I see the face of my grandmother the age of my age. Cheekbones, eyebrows, glamour, showboat.
A young man at the cocktail party, we’ll call him Sam, told me he was finishing up his undergraduate degree and studying for the MCATs. We talked about the older students in his MCAT prep course, and how he admired them for their attitude toward the tutor. “This one woman in the class, she’ll say, ‘excuse me! You need to speak more slowly!’ None of the rest of us have the guts to do that.”
I mentioned that my father is a doctor, and all three of his children are arty types, didn’t go into medicine. But my baby brother’s girlfriend is in med school, and it was really cool at Thanksgiving to hear her and my dad doctor out, my dad saying, oh yeah, we’ll get some raw chicken and practice sutures tomorrow.
“That could still be you, though,” said Sam. “When you’re 30, you’ll be that woman in the MCAT prep course, calling out the teacher.” I laughed and said it’s a little late for that. He looked confused and I told him that I’m 31. And, of course, flattered myself by asking how old he’d thought I was. “Honestly I thought you were my age—22!” he said.
Sam later lost favor when he kept accusing me of being drunk, or having drunk too much. It’s true, there is sortof a raving way I speak when I’m excited, especially at parties. It’s not a function of alcohol, it’s just me and how I am, like how I speak with a kindof funny accent to a lot of people.
“Son, I am sixteen months stone cold sober. I cannot convey to you just how not drunk I am, and for the rest of my life,” I thought and did not say. Later he said he was Bahà’ì.
“Really!” I said. “What would Bahà’u’llàh have to say about that drink you got there?” Sam was cagey and bashful. I only said it because he’d pushed so hard on me about drinking before. But then, considered that such social retribution is never necessary. He hadn’t been talking about me and my drinking to begin with; all things seen are seen in oneself.