The Two Yvonnes
By Jessica Greenbaum
For help he said I should read the new translation of a Gogol story called
"The Two Yvonnes," but after I wrote down the title
of course I realized he meant "Ivans" which brought me to the two
Two Yvonnes, one male, one female, whatever her story might be,
now that both of her exist in ballpoint on a line of notebook paper.
And because, at my age, facts tend to switch out with mere notions
like star actors being swapped out for lesser-paid stand-ins
the same day I got the time wrong for a friend's book party—
and what could be more spazzy than arriving early for a book party?
Not being an important actor I stayed on the scene and talked
to my friend's husband: Paul, I said, I love your painting, "Ezekiel's
Dream," which I saw on that postcard you sent out—how big is it?
He air-sketched a rectangle, tall as an old school window,
and I said, Oh, I thought it was more wide than tall,
at least from the postcard. Oh no, he said, it's more tall than wide. I
didn't believe him but I wasn't going to argue. How's your painting going?
he kindly asked. I don't paint, I said, barely wanting to admit it
since it's so rare to be asked about work. You're too modest!
he said. We had only met a few times so I explained, No, really, Paul,
I only write. Go on! he said, imitating me, I only write. Ha ha!
and this sort of exchange continued for some volleys, Paul's guffaws
escalating with each of my more earnest denials. Karen, I said,
finding my friend who was needed across the room because some heavy
guests had started arriving, Paul is mistaking me for another friend of yours
and he thinks I'm a really good painter! This is Jess, Karen said
into Paul's good ear, a thought that went directly to the voting booth
and pressed the lever. He nodded, remembering, and then Karen said to me,
Your hair! It's so much darker! Darker? I asked . . . Hmmm, I stalled,
trying not to embarrass anyone. Yes! she said, happy to be her honest self,
much, much darker! You used to have much lighter hair! Who
was she, I wondered, this sandy-haired painter who doubled for me
in their imaginations—the second Yvonne in the new translation—
and who are you? You who I thought the star of my story?
Adam got me up early so we could go Superpoke shopping together -- he now has his very own penguin, rather than the one he created on Paul's Facebook account, though he is still playing with that one too so it doesn't get lonely -- and I am now the proud owner of a rainforest, pet shop, pub, and princess bedroom. (Hey, stop laughing, I had a canopy bed growing up.) The plan was to send the kids to the pool after Daniel finally hauled himself out of bed and did his homework, but a massive thunderstorm hit not long after they left the house, so after they changed, we went out for ice cream and sat out the worst of the storms in Baskin Robbins since Adam had a coupon from his birthday for a free scoop. By the time everyone was finished, the sun was out again, so I took them back to the pool. Later it began to pour again while the sun was still out, and this happened:
In the evening I had to watch the second part of "Unification" to review on Friday, and then Daniel said, "Can we watch Diefenbaker?" by which he meant Due South. I cannot believe I put off watching this show for so long, considering that it is the best thing since...okay, Slings and Arrows, and I suspect it's just as well I watched them in reverse order because I don't know if I would adore Paul Gross so completely if not for Martha Burns (I adore David Marciano pretty unconditionally at the moment though I can't recall ever seeing him in anything before this). On top of the awesome guys, though, I love Chicago in this show, the politics of the underclass, and just how really positive about humanity it is, at least so far. If that changes when Callum comes along, it will bother me a lot more than just changing Rays.