A Banshee is Born

"I asked too if he had ever seen the banshee. 'I have seen it,' he said, 'down there by the water, batting the river with its hands.' " ― W.B. Yeats
“I asked too if he had ever seen the banshee. ‘I have seen it,’ he said, ‘down there by the water, batting the river with its hands.’ “ ― W.B. Yeats

There are few things worse than getting back on the proverbial stallion after your heart has been broken. At a certain point ripping the Band-Aid off of the first post break-up date becomes unavoidable. In theory I should enjoy first dates; I am a poor social worker in an expensive city and a girl has got to eat. But in reality dating actually costs me more money than it saves me thanks to a growing group of ‘economical’ and non-committal man-boys that my mother calls the “Denver douches.” But I digress.

Last spring, a month after being dumped by Denver’s sexiest marijuana mogul, I decided it was time to go on a first date. My selection criteria was relatively relaxed since I was merely testing the murky waters of the fetid dating pool. The winning candidate was Ben, a recent Denver transplant who enjoyed mushroom hunting and played some kind of instrument.

Ben and I had a nice first date. We got burgers and beer while he told me about his collection of vintage graph paper and which poisonous mushrooms to avoid. I was surprised to find myself engaged with someone new, relieved to know that my ex-boyfriend had not forever ruined me. Ben and I had a nice second date, too. We ate pot-laced popcorn, held hands and laughed our asses off at a movie.

By the time our third date rolled around, I had more to celebrate than just the fact that I had a third date. I had accepted a new job and Ben took me to a jazz club for celebratory drinks. I gently swayed to the smooth sounds of a saxophone as I sipped a dirty martini. I felt happy, excited and just the right amount of buzzed. For the life of me I cannot remember what Ben said in that moment but to my tipsy brain it was fucking hysterical. I started laughing and I could not stop.

“Has anyone ever told you that you laugh like a banshee?”

My laughter  faded.

“No,” I said, “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that one before.”

“Well you do,” Ben said. “Come to think of it, you kind of look like a banshee, too. Yeah, yeah. With your big crazy hair. It’s like you just came out of the forest for the first time in all your life. It’s like you’ve never looked in a mirror and you don’t know how to laugh like a normal person because you’ve lived in the woods all this time.”

I chugged the rest of my martini as if it were a Natty Light and ended our date as politely as I could. I fumed with incensed indignation for the next three days.

But then I realized that a Banshee is not such a bad thing to be. In traditional Irish folklore a Banshee is a female spirit with long, unkempt hair. At her discretion she can appear as an ugly hag or a beautiful youth. And when she shrieks to warn of impending death, people listen. The Banshee is heard.

I too have long, unkempt hair. At my discretion I can reveal whichever part of myself serves me best in the moment. And I will continue to shriek no matter if people listen because as a Banshee I am free to wail all of my mostly tragic tales to my heart’s delight.

"I guess I just feel bad that I'm still going on bad dates when I should really be in a bad marriage by now."-Laura Kightlinger
“I guess I just feel bad that I’m still going on bad dates when I should really be in a bad marriage by now.”-Laura Kightlinger

3 thoughts on “A Banshee is Born

  1. Your laugh is one of the few that I find infectious and want to hear most often. Also, maybe he was trying to be poetic. The jazz got in his. Blood. Man. Poetry… in… motion. Bepbop. Bop. Scat-tat.

  2. Ben sounds like an “in the moment” type who lacks that thing they might call ‘social awareness,’ or something of that sort. Sounds like fun to me. Hope you didn’t write him off all the way. Just a thought. I’d date him, lol.
    Oh wait, I’m married.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *