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Thursday, April 25, 2019

16: Space. Get it?

            To Mindy and Jasmine’s surprise, their definitive “Better than sex” proclamation was witnessed by five wait staff, two waiters and three waitresses, standing behind their table.  With an embarrassed smile, their own waiter apologizes, “I’m sorry, Mindy, but our performance won’t be ‘better than sex.’”  “But,” he adds smiling, “we hope you’ll like it anyway.”  Turning to the wait staff, he snaps, “One, two, three,” and the five begin singing happy birthday.  A sixth waiter arrives, joins in the singing, and is carrying a generous brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and tall sparkler candle.  Jasmine had cued their waiter to Mindy’s birthday, but she didn’t know they’d do it up like this.  Was today Mindy’s birthday or the Fourth of July?
            Once again, Jasmine and Mindy’s table has attracted the attention of everyone in the restaurant, but this time, it’s for the talented wait staff.  Each are singing their own part, jazz vocal style.  These guys had practiced this song.  After the lyric, “Happy Birthday, dear Mindy!” their own waiter breaks into percussion.  Jasmine thinks she hears drums, bass, and a synthesizer coming through his voice.  In jazz choir harmony, all six finish it off: “Haaappy birthday to yoooooou!”
            The two couples at the next table over give them a standing ovation.  One of them, a 30-something male with a deep, low voice of his own, shakes their waiter’s hand, saying, “That was pretty close to sex!  That was orgasmic!”  Laughter rolls through the restaurant, as Jasmine and Mindy throw their blushing faces into the  palms of their hands – until the two break into laughter of their own.  Still holding her abdomen, Mindy asks, “How can I eat that? My stomach hurts too much!”

 Even while making their way through a delicious hot fudge dessert, Mindy can’t quit “thinking around” Justin.  “I suppose I should be happy he broke it off,” she says, “since he wasn’t always ‘amazing’ in how he treated me.”  Mumbling now, she adds, “But, you know, ‘boys will be boys.’”
Jasmine’s not sure she does “know” and thinks sometimes boys need to just grow up, but she keeps that to herself and asks, “What happened?”
“He said he needed his ‘space.’  I asked if that meant another girl, and he said of course not, it means ‘space,’ and don’t I get it?  I said no I don’t get it, and he walked away.  We did that a few times and he never told me what he meant by ‘space,’ so I figured ‘must be another girl.’  One Tuesday night in my apartment, he suggested we meet up again on Saturday, once he’s had his ‘space,’ and I asked him for the twentieth time what he meant, and he screamed, ‘Space!  Get it?’ I said no, so he got red in the face and yelled, ‘If you don’t know what it means to need ‘space,’ then you’re not the girl for me!”  I screamed back, “So you want a girl who’ll let you play around?!”  He screamed back louder, “No!  I want a girl who gets what ‘space’ means!" He walked away, stopped at the door, shouted, "Maybe I want a girl who wants her space  too!” then he slammed the door, and drove away.  I was fuming too, thinking he must want some stupid, ‘open’ relationship that I don’t want, but I didn’t know what to do.  The next morning, I was in a better frame of mind and texted him.  Here it is." Mindy shows her phone to Jasmine:
"I still don’t know what space means, but I love you and want to make this work."
It’s the last message on their thread – until the mysterious one that just arrived, “Happy Birthday.”  Mindy shakes her head, looks at Jasmine, and points to that last text, “Still don’t know what to do with this.”
Jasmine doesn’t either, so she’s grateful for the interruption of their waiter.  “How do you like your birthday dessert?”
“Delicious,” Mindy beams. Then pointing her index finger at him, adds her disapproval, “Dangerous!”
“Glad you like it!”
“I liked the song too,” Mindy smiles back.  “How did you learn to scat sing?”
“I made it into Vocal Jazz at CU Boulder,” he smiles.
“Ohhh!” Mindy beams, “They’re the best!  Good for you!”
“Do you sing?”
“A little, not like you,” Mindy replies, ducking her head a bit.  “I’m not sure I caught your name.”
“Tony.  Nice to meet you,” he holds out his hand to shake it.
Tony.  Uh oh.  Is Mindy thinking what Jasmine is?
“Tony,” Mindy says slowly. “Nice to meet you too,” and shakes his hand.  “So a jazz vocal singer waiting tables . . . ?”
“I know,” Tony nods, “Starving artist, trying to make it into show business, waiting tables.  Yes, I’m your poster child stereotype.”  He opens out both of his arms, motioning ‘take it or leave it.’
Mindy learns he’ll be performing in Colorado Spring’s summer show, South Pacific, he’s saving money to move to Denver, and hasn’t yet decided on what he’d like as his “final” stop on the show business ladder.  He doesn’t want the chaos of New York, nor the traffic of LA, but is considering San Francisco or Miami.  “For now,” Tony smiles, “I’ll ease on down the road, until, look, a new day has begun!”
The Wiz and Cats!” Mindy exclaims.
“You know your musicals!  Have you been in any?”
“I played Liesl in Sound of Music at college.”
“You’re sixteen going on seventeen,” Tony begins singing.
“I am sixteen going on seventeen,” Mindy sings in reply.
“What do you mean you sing ‘a little’? You have a beautiful voice.”  Then, noticing the tables waiting for his service, he apologizes, “Gotta go!”
Once he’s out of earshot, Jasmine smiles at her blushing friend, “Make you wanna get into show business?”
“Maybe,” she smiles, “Maybe just into his arms?”

While Mindy and Tony were flirting, Jasmine was musing over the opposite of her question about why “desiring her man” should be a curse, and whether it relates to that longing to be “completed” by one.  Mindy complaining that Justin “wanted his space” turned Jasmine's question upside down. What about the guy?  According to the story in Genesis, he was not “cursed” to “desire his woman.”  So, maybe, instead, he “wants his space”?
With Mindy in a good mood, Jasmine takes the plunge to ask: “I wonder if Justin doesn’t want a girl to ‘complete’ him?”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe Justin feels complete enough on his own and doesn’t need to feel ‘completed’ by a girl?”
“What’s that got to do with him playing around?”
“But he didn’t want to ‘play around,’ he wanted ‘space.’”
“So you’re on his side!” Mindy fumes.  Jasmine wonders how to straighten this out, but before she gets a chance, Mindy continues seething.  “It had been a happy birthday, ‘till now, ‘till my best friend takes my ex-boyfriend’s side!”
“Mindy, stop it!” Not sure what to say, Jasmine rolls her eyes, crosses her arms, shakes her head, and looks away.  It’s Mindy’s birthday.  You can fix this.  How? Jasmine wonders.  By saying “sorry?”  Jasmine’s not sorry.  She believes in what she said, and maybe Mindy needs to hear it.  Maybe hearing it can help Mindy heal.  She said it, in part, because she loves Mindy.  Then tell her that.
After a couple of deep breaths, Jasmine responds, slowly, “Look, Mindy.  I love you.  You know I wouldn’t say anything to hurt you.”
Mindy nods.  A tear is almost forming in her right eye.  “I know.”
Jasmine decides to take a different tact.  “Do you really think he wanted to ‘play around’?  Was there anyone else he seemed to be interested in?  Does he seem like that kind of a guy?”
“No,” Mindy admits.  “He didn’t seem like ‘that kind of a guy’ at all.  Not at all.  Maybe that’s why I was so mad at him.  I was sure he wasn’t.  And then he goes and acts like he is.”
“By saying he wanted ‘space’?”
“Yeah, why else would he want ‘space’?  He already had plenty of time for his theater, for his dance and music classes, for fun with the guys.  Isn’t that enough?  If he needed even more space than that, he must not have really loved me.”
“What if he didn’t need to be ‘completed’ by you?”
“All right, your mind seems to be working out something I’m not following.  What are you saying?”
“Have I shared with you that verse about Eve that has stopped me dead in my tracks, that’s behind my obsession of women and romance and wanting to be ‘completed’ by their man?”
“No. You’ve mentioned the ‘you complete me’ line, but nothing more than that.”
“Did you know that in the story of Genesis, the character of God gave Eve two more curses after pain in childbirth?”
“No.”  Mindy looks confused.  Where is this going?
He did: ‘you will desire your man, and he will rule over you.”
“He will rule over you?” Now Jasmine has Mindy’s attention.  “The Bible actually says that?”
“Yes, the Bible actually gives Eve a third curse that Adam ‘rule over her’ in Genesis 3:16.  That one scares me so much I haven’t been ready to take out a pole to even start poking at it.”
“No kidding.  I’ve got chills running up and down my spine right now.  Why don’t churches admit this?”
“Oh, don’t get me started!” Jasmine has been holding this very question within herself and feels like she is about ready to burst.
The two friends sigh and let the silence rest them for a moment.  Finally, Mindy breaks the silence.  “So how does this all relate to Justin?”
“It’s about the second curse to Eve, ‘you will desire your man.’  Read the way the church teaches us to read the story, with Eve representing women and Adam representing men, that curse was given to women, not to men.  Women  desire their men.  It’s not sexual desire either.  The Hebrew word for “desire” in that passage, teshuqah, is about a “longing,” not for sex, but for the man himself.  The verse says, ‘you will desire your man[1],’ not sex with him, as some have thought.”
Mindy laughs, “Doesn’t everyone know it’s not the women who are desiring too much sex?!” Instantly, both Jasmine and Mindy look through restaurant.  This time, no one’s looking at them.  Whew.  “We’re learning, Mindy.  You didn’t say that too loud!”
After more giggling, Jasmine continues, “According to this story that Christians put so much stock into, that story says women were cursed to desire their man!”
“Wow.” Mindy takes a moment to let Jasmine’s words soak in.
“OK,” Mindy says slowly, still confused.  “And how does any of this relate to Justin wanting his ‘space’?"
“Because, if you read it the way Christians have been taught to read it, men were not given that curse.  Men were not cursed to desire their women.”
Mindy takes in Jasmine’s thought and slowly works to form her question.  “So you’re saying Justin wants his ‘space’ because he doesn’t have a curse that compels him to desire me?”
“That’s what I wonder.”
“And I don’t want him to have that space because I’m cursed to desire him?”
“That’s what also I wonder.”
“Level with me, Jazzie.  Do you really think God cursed women?”
“I don’t see it like that, but I do think the story reveals some profound truths about humanity.  I also find it very revealing that whoever wrote this story in Genesis actually admitted that men ruling over women would be a curse to women.”
“And what’s revealing today is that we’re not shown this.”
© 2019 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use only with permission from the author.
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[1] (Also noted in previous chapter’s footnote) Although most translations use the word “husband” (your desire will be for your husband), the Hebrew word, AYSh, associated with Strong’s H376 is the same word often translated as “man.”  AYsh is also used in Gen 2:23 (taken out of the man), Gen 2:24 (a man shall leave his father and mother), and in Gen 4:1 after the birth of Cain (I have gotten a man).  For more, see The Blue Letter Bible’s explanation: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=h376