The Blue Peter
“The flag that ships flew when they were about to sail, and it had the pleasing associations of fresh departure, new regions, new creatures of the world, new lives, perhaps new life.”
Patrick O’Brian — The Surgeon’s Mate
She was always flying the narcissists blue peter: the inviting smile, the overvaluing gaze associated with potential mysteries to unfold, just for you and you alone.
She was a professional hostess in the restaurant industry, had owned a restaurant, I’d been acquainted for 30 years as I liked restaurants at one time until I got sick from eating in them often enough to finally quit. A single man’s lifestyle disease.
I ran into her at a specialty store I like to frequent for treats, like English cured side bacon, nothing but hickory smoke, none of the chemicals of the North American curing process. She was standing there at a table selling her ‘product’ a concoction of ‘nutrients and botanicals’ made to mix with alcohol it would seem. ‘What’s a botanical?’, I asked. Flowers and 20 other ingredients she replied then moved on to another bystander. I walked away, an obvious scam. Probably a conservative anti-science cult member.
I returned later when she was alone and I asked if I knew her and she quoted my name and 30 years of restaurants where we interacted. She caught me up on her employment history, yet made no inquiry's as to me and mine. I mentioned that I had a stroke and doing rehab the past 5 years. She stared at me with that steady unblinking lizard gaze, no “I’m sorry to hear that” or any other form of commiseration, just an internal evaluation of what use I could be.
I gave her my website reminding her to take her checkbook, confident that I would never hear from her again.
I thought about her blue peter smile promising people onto the rocks of narcissism, pirating the holds of their self worth to leave the broken hulls of shattered lives in her charming conservative cult wake.