|Photo by London Dream|
Outnumbered by Sanity
I decided to take my wife Joanna to a book signing of one of her favorite authors after being told countless of times that we didn't spend enough time together. The author stood before the podium and began reading an excerpt from his book, detailing his journey into an African wilderness and how it spoke to him about passion, inspiriration, and...blah, blah, blah.
I was halfway into dosing off when the blonde woman sauntered into the room with a group of black-suited men. They paid no mind to the author's presence and just stood by the glass viewport, looking out over the city.
I felt that I had seen the woman before so I decided to excuse myself and go to the catering table to maybe get a better look. A young redhead woman smiled by the table. "What can I get you, sir?"
"Do you have any beer?" I asked, knowing they didn't serve alcohol, and leered toward the direction of the blonde woman. Still, no recollection.
"I'm sorry, sir, we don't allow alcohol in the building," the caterer said lamentably. "We do have soft drinks."
"A Coke will be fine," I said.
I returned to Joanna's side with my drink. She turned to me with suspicious eyes.
"Did you get a good look?" she asked accusingly.
"You've been oogling that girl for the past ten minutes!"
I shrugged. "Just thought she looked familiar, that's all."
"Like your whore in Vegas?"
"C'mon, don't start with that."
A few months prior to that day, I was at a convention with a few associates of mine when the idea of going to a strip joint started to float around. Despite the fact that I had no interest in going, I was talked into it. Later, someone took a photo of a dancer with her hands over my shoulders as she asked for a table dance. It was later posted on Facebook and all hell broke loose after that. We were at the brink of divorce when I convinced her that it was all just a big misunderstanding.
"Well, don't do me any favors by pretending you want to be here," she said. "Go if you want."
"I want to be here," I said. "I told you that from the beginning."
"Whatever," Joanna muttered and said nothing after that.
Moments later, the Coke had filled me up to where I needed to go to the restroom.
Upon returning, I noticed a frame along the hallway. A security guard was passing by when I gestured to him. "Excuse me, who is that woman?"
"That's Bethany Ballard," the guard replied. "She was the architect behind the design of this building."
"Saw her a little while ago," I commented to the guard. "Got this strange feeling that I've met her before."
The guard frowned. "Well whoever you saw couldn't have been Ms. Ballard. She died thirteen years ago."
I was left feeling even more confused than ever about the woman I had just seen. She could not have been a ghost; Joanna had seen her too.
We were on the interstate, on our way back home, when I told her about the portrait on the wall and what the guard had said.
"You did see the blonde woman right?" I asked her. "The one you pointed out to? I mean I wasn't just imaging things, right?"
"What blonde woman?" Joanna asked annoyed. "I didn't see any blonde woman! I was talking about the redhead at the food table, you idiot!"
Once again, my world was edging toward confusion, outnumbered by sanity.