January 17, 2017
She hooked herself to people who disappointed her.
Case in point, there had been a person once that she would have written about thus:
“I know an extraordinary person, a mountain of a man.”
It became, over time, harder to write such things. Maybe it wasn’t fair of her to require otherworldliness of the people who touched her. She expected them to perpetually move her. If someone impressed themselves upon her heart, she required that they march in place there, to deepen the imprint. When they simply walked off or away, she would wait–she would wait a long time. Sometimes they came back, but more often, they would find new people to inspire or care for, and she would feel the loss very deeply. It was not only the loss of the person, it was the loss of the image, it was the loss of the feelings the person had inspired.
It was hard to conclude that people with whom she traveled particular eras of life could forget her, or could sever themselves from the quality of the connection: so many laughs, so many insights, so much investment. For what? She supposed the purpose of such experiences had their own lifetimes, and it occurred to her that for others, this was adequate. She realized quite suddenly that she was perhaps unusual in wishing to be forever stirred by her relationships. And she wanted to appreciate the people who had been writ so heavy-handedly into her history, but had somehow, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, skated outward and away from her. She watched their departure, perplexed.
It was as if the mountain that had once loomed so large before her became, for better or for worse, an unreachable, far-away dot, a place she only remembered visiting.
January 16, 2017
She does a slow striptease, but in reverse.
Picture this: January. Cold in the morning, gooseflesh strutting. Her skin, lit up and cold…the chill announcing itself in italics. She shivers and belts her lavender flannel robe, tight. She had always pictured meeting for the first time in summer, never winter, but the calendar has tumbled open to this page in her life, thus. On this date, the number is circled in red pen and there, optimistically, is a note: Meet W!!! Coffee, Emp. Rulli.
A hot shower, where the pummeling sword of water tenderizes everything. Her body, her skin, injecting warmth over her. Thankful. She thinks, “That’s better.” Warmer is better.
Then, a towel. Dark hair scraped back and wrapped away from the face. The careful, but brisk and practiced, application of lipstick, the curling of the lashes, eyebrows brushed into groomed order. The ritual of perfume, two spiced black-tea sprays onto each wrist, move the hair aside so the exposed neck receives its aerosol allotment (two hits).W did talk once about vanilla, and she remembers the Nordstrom “fragrance stylist” noted this perfume’s sweet, vanilla-bean note.
Standing in front of her closet, the towel wrapped tightly. A skirt? That would give the better indication as to the real shape of her calves, that much is true. Her best assets should feature, she thinks. Yet, jeans send the better message, “this is casual. I am as casual as you.” Exactly as casual. And, heels, of course. That’s a done deal, because peering into her closet, there is little to choose from in flats: an old pair of slippers, neon green and maroon sneakers from when she thought she might get into exercise (she never exercised), some cheap flip flops. With outsized delight, she settles on a denim skirt, thick black tights underneath. Boots with their tall wooden heels.
Jewelry. On the left hand, always…fine jewelry, yellow gold and gemstones. On the right hand, always…costume jewelry, or silver. Check the ears and try to decide on hoops or studs or pearls. No, not pearls: too much. Not hoops: not worthy. This is coffee, three years in the planning. So. Diamond studs, the ones she has traded up for twice, cashing in smaller glinting pieces, adding a thousand dollars each time, to here have finally achieved a carat on each ear. Significant, but not overso. Apropos to the cause: this meeting. Meeting W.
A last smile in front of the mirror. The teeth? As brushed as can be, flossed to the max. Cleaned doubletime. Gums pink, some have bled.
Get in car. Drive. Find parking spot (good parking karma) and emerge, sleek.
Finally meeting W.
Deep breath, stand up straight. Emporio Rulli. Coffee.
January 15, 2017
As a child, I never knew I would spend my life falling in love with ghosts, one after the other, who would each rise up from the earth or descend from the trees about me, ghosts with mouths that released words out into the landscape of my life like a fine, cool mist searching for a fire to go up against. Words like I love you, I have met my soul mate, you.
Now ghosts come out like night animals in a loamy wood, first not seen, then as I look, I spy sets of eyes glinting in the dark. Two there, two there, two there. I see them slowly emerge and unceremoniously reveal themselves, and each in turn places a memory in my hands: my very first wine headache (age: 24). One gave me something like soaring despair (age: 37), one gave me innocent hope in diamonds and a home (age: 30), and one left me a lingering disgust in trite platitudes that lasts to this day (age: 39).
Because of my ghosts, my life’s string of love stories, I cannot:
listen to the song, “Lady in Red.” When you are 16 and the 15 year-old boy you love dedicates it to you in a dusky gym, you learn what it is to not breathe.
be a passenger in a Volvo without feeling slightly sick. I rode in your car after you taught me to appreciate vodka martinis, then gin martinis. So many martinis.
believe that “she just doesn’t understand you” while I listen and sympathize, wearing frilly underthings you chose for me. She understands you.
I cannot go to the little diner on the 101 in San Rafael where you ate ciopino, then we went home and made a child. (age: 31)
-later-after the ’til death do us part part came true-
I can, but won’t, listen to “Diamonds and Rust.” 37 years old – old enough to know better, but I still hoped.
And I cannot forget that there were those for whom I am now their ghost. As I made my way, I left pure, valuable love sit uncollected for no reason I could name or made sense. If ever I were sorry, here I am sorry. I am (still) (ever) (always) (not a big paragraph but it’s the biggest) sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry ad infinitum.
All the ghosts of my past lock hands and come forward, a procession that ends in the present (age 40 onward), where an angel now guards my heart. In the dark, where shadows make ugly stories and shame is alive, the angel enters and delivers a lamp. In it’s light, is his face. In it’s light, is his face.