Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chapter 2: the convenient rock star

Chapter two the Convenient Rock Star

What the fuck? I'm so confused right now. I tried to reach my doctor but I can't get through. I called my therapist and she agreed to talk to me right over the phone. I heard that funny sound in her voice. So I knew right away that she must have heard about me.

I don't think I'm going out. Ever. Today was full mindfuck-clusterfuck. First of all, the lawyer? He is some guy from Albania or something. This is so fucked up. Part of me is thinking that this is really some kind of scam. That, somehow, the whole world is in on. As crazy as that sounds. It feels like I have walked straight into a surreal dream. Like that Ed t.v. movie. Is this a joke? It's a really fucking mean one, the fucking worst and cruelest thing.... to do.... to me. I don't like people. Especially fake people which seems to be about 90%.... just watch a commercial (I don't) they are my gauge toward evil. This is what stigmatizes cultural attitude because it's repeated and reiterated like a mantra that becomes everybody's expected belief systems; commercially produced; forget the hammer and the sickle. That is a world so foreign to me and I like it that way. Like Greta Garbo, I totally get that. That would be me.

So all this is seems I am being sued. If I wasn't so scared I would be thinking this is totally ridiculous. Before I actually was laughing thinking about it. Like, this is such a stupid dream. Does this not sound like the most obvious scam: There is some weird prince in some improbable place who is holding me responsible for maligning the throne. I feel paranoid as I actually look at the faces of my two roommates later to see if they would go so low as to do something like this to me. Not as a joke but because they thought it was a fun idea to be in a reality show. But they just never let me in on it. And maybe I am not supposed to know. I almost hate them now. Because I could see them doing something like this.

So now I feel like I can't trust them. Why would they do this to me? They know I'm shy and I'd never want to do something like this. I didn't know they could be this mean. It was the obvious explanation. I can't trust anyone. They both work for people who know people and work for people who are people.

I don't know. I mean, why would my therapist be in on it? Am I a political pawn or or ….. I'm feeling like fucking Neo or something. But I'm sure if this was someone else they would think it's cool because everybody wants fame, right? Get your fifteen minutes. Only not me. Unless it was for something I did and not about me; like a work of art or saving a civilization; finding a cure for a deadly decease....


I can't believe it. This is all getting so crazy. I'm in the bathroom, sitting on the floor with my back against the door even though the door is locked. This is really scary. The media.... like --CNN and BBC-- ! .... they are all taking this seriously. So I find myself in that fearful, terrible place of.... being some kind of.... of-what? a Monica Lewinsky or Amy Fisher or I don't know; the thing that becomes the trash you see on the ground that people step on …. wearing muddy boots.... you look down and there it is as you step off the subway; the headlines that are trash ….I am very freaking out. I'm so nauseated. There's been this taste in my mouth all day, like I licked a tin can or something that keeps making me want to vomit. And have twice.

I went to that Law office. Near Park. I was sitting there at the lawyer's desk and he's sitting there in front of me with all his stupid papers and I just want to say 'fuck off' and walk out. Only.... what's with the bruisers standing there all around? They all have accents. Not local.... you know? The lawyer, the one who they say is representing me-- only I don't remember hiring a lawyer.... he says in this 'comrade' like way, with a kind of chuckle,

“they just need you to sign this and agree to the DNA testing.”

He said it so casual.

I'm like,
“what are you talking about?”

He actually looked embarrassed. Only I can't figure out why. He shrugged and said,
“your father is insisting on it.”

So, I'm like,
“my father?”

But then he gets up and leaves.

“Can I go now?” I'm asking, but nobody seems to be in charge. I start to leave, walking to the door but some other guy in a white suit grabs me and turns me around. He's a doctor in a lab coat and he shows me his badge. Mount Sinai, blah, blah.... would I even know if this is real?

I ask,
“what do I have to do for the test?” and Dr. Levinstein says,

“you already did that,” he reaches for the glass I have been sipping from, “this signature is to consent to the test.”

“But you already did it,” I argue and I feel myself becoming hysterical. Outwardly, I pretend to be calm. But I'm really shaking which I hide by putting my hands in my pockets.

“Just sign the paper then we can send it to the lab and the whole thing will be over,” he says. His glasses are so thick, they are like the glass on an old time watch; like the kind a hypnotist uses for his act.

“If I sign it, can I go?” I ask. When he says, “yes,” I do it and they let me go. They let me go into the elevator by myself. I am still shaking when I reach the lobby and head out the glass front doors of the building. And then it's so cold out when I walk past the door, the air is frozen knives right away and the wind is making everything blow around. It was hard to walk down the street. I go straight, trying to rout my way out of here but I hear some voice say, “it's that girl in the hat with the red hair....”

I don't know why but this moment among everything else that's been happening stands out the most to me. Pivotal; like you believe it is possible to go back from such a point. And I don't know why but in that second I knew this should be a clue to me. I got that creepy feeling. And it made a chill down my neck. I had that chill another time recently and maybe that is instinct that heralds the warning. It was when I was with Nic. When the photographer took that picture of us.

….. and it hits me now.... shit.... it all feels.... like a warped reality .... like I've stepped into a wormhole.

I pass a line of parked trucks and then after the clear it is only then when I see the road is in chaos. There is a traffic jam being caused by vans with network logos. Instinctively, I know I have to get out of there and start to run because now I hear my name being called from every direction. When I turn I see down the block that there are about five people running towards me; I'm being chased. And then I heard this weird disembodied screech in my ears, something like an insane banshee .... which turned out to be me but then I can't see where I'm going, because my eyes are tearing. So I started to panic because I don't know what direction to go. And also, I'm fast reminded that I can't run for shit as I run across the street. Or had meant to, but instead I fall right in the middle of the street. And hit my head really hard.

I lost my favorite hat. I don't think I lost consciousness, but he did seem to appear out of thin air. One of those Mercedes limos. Black and shiny.

“You're Electra.” I see just his hand at first. It pulls me up. He is still talking, “they're after you, aren't they? Ha! Look at those idiots tripping over themselves. You better come with me, they're getting close.”

It's only when I'm up that I see who it is; tall, ghost pale, sharply pointed teeth with a shaved head. He's wearing a long leather coat. Obviously part of the dream. It's too incredible to actually think that I am really face to face with a rock star icon. I watch his head inflate as he sees me look at him with recognition. With time elapsed understanding his words trickle in and we both look at the open door of the limo he just got out of. We both run for it as the vans close in.

We slide across the seats and he slams the door as he's shouting to the driver to go, pointing out narrow streets.

So he tells me with a wink,
“Bruno is good, he used to drive those tester cars and never knock down a cone.”!

I remember thinking that was no comfort to me. And this is getting more surrealer and maybe it was the concussion that made me like this but I looked up at the ceiling of the limo and began wondering where they hide the cameras.

I mean who the fuck can I trust?

And then the fairy-god mother always says, “come with me.” And so you go. Because it is a way out....

So he is looking at me oddly, I remember.... Sean-fucking-Connel is looking at me oddly, before he says,
“holy fuck-shit! Bruno! We need to get to a fucking hospital. Her head is bleeding.”

Which explains the loud throbbing.

I don't think I want to relive that part of my life. Nine stitches in my head. I think, now, I will always hear Sean Connel's music differently than I ever had before this from this. I mean, it is weird to be bleeding all over the hospital stretcher sheets and having my head sewn together on its own.... but with a rock icon telling me to focus on his eyes as she did it.... it was intense, oddly –a bonding moment actually; a total stranger who befriended me in one fortuitous second from a crowd of descending vultures.... and that would have been enough but then he held my hand through the whole head-sewing ordeal.

The people at the hospital told him I had to stay awake. So we went out for coffee. And talked. He told me he was jet lagged anyway and was still on some other time. Not being able to sleep only made all this even more surreal. Nobody bothered us. I thought that was strange too until later when I noticed his entourage of inconspicuous friends who were all over six feet and were intimidatingly big with some noticeable hardware.

Bruno took us to Sean's hotel.

We go up to his suite and then he asks me,

But then I take too long as I consider his question. I was trying to remember my last meal. I could only remember the quesadillas. Some time after that, and it seemed surprisingly fast, room service arrived.

“So, is it weird for you?” he asked me. His non sequitur threw me. This question could be referring to so many things, especially as he was lighting a joint and handing it to me.

He laughed at me,
“you have no idea because it hasn't really sunk in.”

In hindsight, he was right. At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. But I started to get one when he took out his phone and showed me the CNN headlines. It said something like, 'Electra-shock rattles a principality.' I don't know why but it made me laugh. Oh, it had to have been the ganja. I was saying to him, “I know, these weirdos dragged me into some 'esquire's' office and …. that guy in the picture--? he was really pissed off about something-- like at me!” (and he was mumbling something like “I'm sure he was,” under his breath) “....what a psycho! I've never seen him in my life. You know, don't you? None of this is true and they're all fucking crazy believing his bullshit.”

This made him laugh. I get it now why. I mean, now I do. I think he must have thought I was some bad ass. Instead of some complete ignorant of anything going on in the news. But he was talking and telling me about this little tiny country.... where is it? I don't know, I think he said it was in the Mediterranean or near it or was it Greece? no idea and I never heard of it. But they had a principality. I forgot what that was so later after I got home looked up what that was. But then he didn't say anything more. He kept looking at me as if he wanted me to say something.

I remember that all I could think of to say of any relevance was,
“to be honest, it was invasive how they just picked up this glass I was drinking from and told me they had to do a DNA test on me. Don't you think? I mean.... do they have that right?”

I remember his expression was so odd. I really never saw anyone look at me that way. It wasn't pity, or stupidity.... no, it was something else.... maybe concern-- but it moved me.

He sat next to me and checked on my head wound. He said,
“you know, it's going to be all over the headlines that after I took you to the hospital you came back to my hotel with me.”

It didn't seem worthy of remark to reply.

When I got home I went to sleep. It was OK to by then.

The phone rang. Which is what woke me up. I have no idea what time it was. It was Nic's tone. Without hesitation, I answered it. Maybe I should have taken a moment.


(Why was he asking if he dialed me),
“yeah? Did you dial the wrong number?”

“No. I've been trying to reach you, didn't you get my calls?”

I look at my phone. Wow. I missed a lot.

“Why didn't you ever tell me about yourself?” he is asking.
“About what? I did tell you. But we only just hung out for the first time.”

I hear him sigh heavily. Then he is completely silent
“What?” I ask.

“It's just that.... did you not trust me enough to tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

“Who your father is.”

Only, it's not his words only, it's the sound of his voice.... you know. You know the sound when you hear it. You know. It feels like I just got stabbed in the stomach.
“What?” I say again.

“Electra! Shit.... you know that part I tried out for? Well, I got it.”

“That's great!”

“Is it? Do you know why I got it?”

“Because they liked you?”

“No, because of that picture they got of us walking down the street.”

I feel the concussion suddenly.

“Electra? Are you there?” he asks.

“Yes,” I say.

“Say something.”

“I'm sorry, I can't breath.... I'm having an anxiety attack.” Because I was. I'm very familiar with them.

I hear him take a deep breath and then there is a pause. Then he says,
“I'll be right over.”

He got the part he wanted because of the picture....and he needed a job. That he's not happy about it opens a venue of wonder …. maybe a prequel to my enlightenment. I am deep in the thick of it when I hear a creepy tapping sound at my window.

He texts me,
it's fucking freezing, let me in. I had to go around the bushes.

He taps urgently, so I open it. He stays with me, he is silent. I feel the departure inside his arms even as we lay in bed. He is no longer with me. The knowledge of this hurts. And confuses me. I don't understand what I did. But his chest is warm against my lips and I need something to hold onto. I feel his fingers in my hair.

After an hour, I ask,
“do you think it's true?”


“What they're saying.”

“What do you mean?”

“About me.”

This is followed by more silence. He shifts. Then tightens his arms around me. I feel him relax as he draws me to him,

And I know when someone sounds like that, when someone dreads telling you something. Only I don't believe it. I look at him,
Why?” And it is more than just the obvious why. But then I say, “do you believe it?”

“Oh God,” he turns his face away and shakes his head before he slowly exhales, “OK, this is the way I got the news: 'congratulations, Nicolas, you got the part. Do you know you joining our cast will be the best publicity for our humble little theater!'”
I don't answer. Why do I feel guilty?

Then he says,
“And I don't know what they're talking about until....I catch it on the news when I get home as its blasting from the living room because my roommate is fucking deaf.... and then I hear your name --so I'm like, what the fuck? and when I stand there watching this! There's a whole fucking story about you on CNN and an interview with the guy who performed your DNA test! But I'm sure you've heard and know all about this,” and there is that unmistakable note in his voice. I hear it. It's like he is saying: I didn't sign up for this.


It is after three a.m. And I can't sleep. I feel like I've been staring into space for days. Feeling stunned by everything. So vacant that it hurts. So aware of how alone I really am.

I've been playing this song all day, like it's the only thing keeping me sane, you know, the sound of it. “80 Windows” on repeat.... it feels like it has become the soundtrack of my life. Because it feels like my world is crashing. And I'm falling down with it. The walls are falling and I am falling with them into a pile of bricks. Laid out in a broken pattern.

I don't know what's going on. Or what I'm doing ….  I feel myself spinning... in seaweed and quicksand. On repeat. Swirling in spinning lights like a giant whirlpool. Sucking me in.

The thing about New York are all the lights at night; the City. But sometimes—or all the time, like for me-- they can make you feel sentinel... like feeling you are the only human in a microchip world. You can even taste the metal. Like right now looking out through a crack in the blinds from the living room. A tiny dot in the universe.

I think of myself as an artist. But my strongest art is words. I think of myself as a modern day poet. I spend all day in a world of words. But I'm dyslexic, so often the words have subtle misinterpretations creating the happy accident. But I can't get my words to go beyond my cave. And I don't know if that's good or bad. Until I stumble across the garbage out there impersonating as thought provoking good literature.

I just can't put myself out there. I mean, I don't want to. I would do it if I really wanted to. Ideally in my perfect world what would happen would go something like this: hand printer-press copies of my writings, like an organicly produced, Bloomsbury trade paperback, somehow scatter across a subway. Subterranean followed. Anonymous. Eventually shelved in a library, dusty on the shelves next to C. S. Lewis, long after I'm dust. That's perfect.

It's not just shyness-- it goes beyond that. As I've said, I don't like people but I especially don't like people in crowds. Social situations. Meeting new people. Holding conversations. And it's not even something I want to change because I know how to do it, I just prefer not to. I don't really care that I can often not be noticed because this is exactly my intention. Don't want to be seen. I like to watch people and write about what I see in faces. I see these stories. I write all these stories. When people find out that I do this they all tell me to try to publish them. Sometimes I thought about doing that. But it became a quagmire of double negatives in my mind. Like, would that not only make me noticed? I like to be alone. So that I can write. And quietly watch people. From afar. Even as a kid I would write for eight hours straight and then sleep all day. Sometimes I have gone days never seeing another human. I can't wait for all this to be over. I need to be alone. I need to withdraw. I don't want anyone to come near me.

There are times in my life when my mind goes back to someone I once knew, a musician in a band at school where we met. He was my first love. They eventually got signed. We broke up a long time ago but our last year at college we lived together and a few years after. And so, I think of him now.... and find a CD of his that I've kept for years. His name is Michael. We both grew up not in the U.S.; I grew up in Belgium and he grew up in Paris so when we met that was the first thing that bonded us. He's from a literary background—both his parents are professors. So, there was always something about him that was sharply honed. Not just intelligence, something deeper that came out when I would hear him play. And I would listen to him for hours.... writing songs. The sound of his guitar and his voice.... when we first met I didn't know anything about New York. Michael ....taught me everything. His family spent a lot of time there while he was growing up, they owned a brownstone and while we were going to the university, we spent a lot of weekends there before we moved in together. We used to go everywhere together so.... everywhere I ever go I still see him in my mind.

It was a mutual break up. And painful. But his band started to tour and it looked like their popularity was building. I guess sometimes you let go because you know you have to. Not because you want to.

We said we'd stay in touch. But excuses get in the way of promises like that.

I have not seen Michael in years. I miss him. We were once so close and.... you're supposed to move on. And so he went on to be the amazing song writer I knew he was..... and last I heard he was dating some DKNY model. By now maybe have kids.

I have the impulse to search for him. Like I have had so many times. And talk myself out of it. Like I have so many times. I look out into the darkness through the blinds of my window and silently ask, where are you? Like I have so many times.... and then I notice a flash in the dark on the other side of my window. And recoil.

All these people are in my face now. I don't know who they are. They say they are with some such and such newsmedia. Yesterday (or is it the day before now? I'm confusing my days now), I really thought some disaster had happened when I first saw those people. I just wanted to walk down the street and go home. It really is so stupid. When the media smells a story....but there really is more to the story than they will ever know 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chapter 1: Electra's dictionary; the final version

Electra's dictionary; the final version

Chapter one Mistaken Identity

I shut off the water and get out dripping. I don't have a towel. I shiver and pull the wool sweater over my head that hangs off the hook on the bathroom door. It gets stuck going over my wet skin. I grope for my glasses that I left on the toilet. There is no heat because we're late on the payment. I shiver stepping into my clogs that go 'squish' as I walk down the hallway over sooty cement floors. No light comes through the apartment but I know it is a gray day outside; I read the weather report. It's one of those mornings that I'd rather spend the whole day in bed. I flick on the kitchen light. Too much. I flick it off again. Should I make coffee? It seems pointless to as I can get it at work but my head is still full of clouds from sleep. Or lack of sleep.

I look in the fridge to see if there is any milk and the refrigerator light illuminates brightly, it's blinding. The fridge is empty. Correction: no it is not actually empty; there is a jar of face cream and a few plastic containers of homemade make up (one of my roommates likes to experiment). I shut the door again and dare to see what is beyond the kitchen blind. I see a snow flurry float by, besides that it is gray; concrete blending with buildings and sky. I go back to my bedroom to put on my work clothes that requires little thought: black trousers and white collared shirt tucked in with oxfords. Dry my hair.

By the door there is a rack where I know is my L.L. Bean driving coat ….somewhere in there. It's vintage and olive green. It takes a frustrating few minutes to find. It's buried under a slew of other familiar and mysterious coats and scarves that belong to my roommates --and their respective guests. To get to it I have to unravel the mess. Then build it back up again. I open the door, pulling on my newsboy hat, pulling it low over my face. But then I am stopped by my roommate who is wrapped in a fuzzy pink bathrobe, pale-faced and yawning, who says, “it's the first, honey. Tell me you have the rent.”

“Shit....” so I turn back, go back inside. “Sorry, I forgot.”

“So did James, but I know he has an early modeling job this morning, so I'll hit him up when he finally rolls out of bed,” he yawns again and with his nasal voice says, “jeez, I feel like the den mother here.”

Nigel follows me to my room, talking all the way in his tired, scratchy morning voice. He is telling me about the recent fight he had with his boyfriend. He wants advice. But my head is not in it; it's full of cobwebs. I try, digging out the rent money from my sock drawer, but all I can suggest is, the silent treatment.

He says, “thanks, honey,” and kisses my cheek. I am almost down the path when he stops me again and clashing with the lull of soft morning traffic, he shouts out,


I turn around. I see the odd image of his tall skinny frame wrapped in a fuzzy pink bathrobe with his bare skinny legs sticking out. He is holding my keys.

“Shit,” I run back up the path.

I take the subway from West Houston street to Prince street where I work at a coffee shop. Mornings there are reminiscent of Hell in a psych ward where the inmates have taken over. Best faced with drugs and a stake. But I'm fresh out of both; I rely on a sleepless brain and an artillery of caffeine. Which allows the morning to fly by in a blur of madness as the rush of people crowd in for their morning coffee to go to jobs they look like they hate. But it's not so bad today, I am only insulted ten times by ten o'clock; I tune it out. It's a public service, just doing my part for humanity.

There is a lull around eleven o'clock before the lunch rush. Alyssa says,
“can you go bus tables?”

But I am already reaching for the rag and tray to collect cups and plates and wipe down the tables. I hardly notice anything because I do this every day. But then I see him. He is sitting in the darkest corner of the shop and almost invisible. He always sits there. Something warm rushes over me. His face is hidden by his hat, long hair completes the disguise. It takes me extra long to wipe the table I am working on as I catch covert glances of him. His long, thin fingers are texting on his phone, he does not notice me.

I casually glance over at Alyssa and see that she is busy on her phone too. Her back is turned. I take the pot of coffee and put a chocolate muffin on a plate and stealthily walk to his table. I put down the plate and refill his empty cup. He looks up at me and smiles. But he is shy. I put some cream packs next to his plate and glance back again at Alyssa who hasn't looked up from her phone.

“Thanks,” he says. He looks embarrassed. He's so thin, he looks like he hasn't eaten in weeks, the bones stick out of his wrist. I sit down at his table, hidden by the wall so Alyssa can't see.

I used to take an art class at NYU which is where I know him from. He modeled for my art class. He kept his clothes on. But it is his face, you see, he is so beautiful; his eyes.... his bones.... and the kind of mouth you dream of kissing ....and there is something almost elven about him, like otherworldly. I'd always had such a big crush on him but had thought he was gay at first because of his beauty, and one day I found him crying on the campus and went over to him. He told me some girl had dumped him and he showed me her picture; definitely a girl. And I thought, who would dump him? Even with tears running down his face, he was the most beautiful man I have ever seen. After I stopped taking the class I didn't see him again for over a year and one day he came into the coffee shop and I found out he was really an actor. He had done commercials and been in some off Broadway shows or plays, he said he was in Our Town.

Usually out of work, though, of course. So he modeled on the side to make money. Or would do anything to make money.

Now he looks up from his phone and puts it down. His name is Nicolas. He goes by Nic. And now I think again how there is something otherworldly about him. Which, it suddenly occurs to me, people have always said about me. And not really cut out for planet Earth. I sense our worlds are similar. I think that every time I look at him but I am too shy to say. I always seem to shake whenever I see him.

He says,
“sorry.... I just lost my job.”

“Oh my God!”

“I was auditioning for a part and I got to the restaurant late so he canned me on the spot. Shit!”

“Did you get the part?” I ask.

“I don't know, they said they'd call,” he shrugs. He takes a bite out of the muffin. A huge bite. He eats like he's starving. He says, “thank you, I'm really hungry.”

“So you have no money?” I ask.

He shakes his head,
“I get paid in a day or so for my last week.”

I notice some people come in and stand up,
“I have to go but, here,” I write down my address, “if you need a place to crash you can come over.”

His face is suddenly transformed. I don't know how but he looks even more beautiful and somehow more masculine. I think it is the look in his eyes,
“what about later?” he asks me.

After he leaves and the noon rush rushes in, the next hours somehow escape me. The day does not drag at all. My mind is alive.

Of course I have doubts. What if it is that he just needs a place to crash? The see-saw of my thoughts keeps me distracted. My two diva roommates are in the kitchen cooking something for dinner when I get home. The air smells like a Mexican restaurant. I notice the coat rack is noticeably skeletal. James is wearing an oilcloth chintz floral apron, he says,

“Are you hungry, honey?” Nigel asks, reminding me of one of my Jewish relatives even though he models jeans for a well known designer.

“Uh--” but my phone receives a text. I already know it's Nic from the sound of the text alert.

I go to check and as I do this I look up and see I have an audience. They are both staring at me with their mouths exaggeratedly open. Fucking bitches. I turn my back to read it. It says: Got caught up in doing laundry, is it OK to come over now?

I start to reply “yes,” but consider Lucy and Ethel. I turn back around and look at them. Nigel shrugs,

“can't we be excited for you?”

“About what?” I ask, my finger hesitating over the send button.

Nigel looks up at James and shrugs at him. James says,
“we know the signs, sweetie. We can smell when romance is in the air.”

Right now it smelled like chili peppers to me. I shrugged back at them,
“I got a text. It's just a text.”

“Who from?” Nigel asks with an exaggerated expression.

“My friend, Ste--” I stop and then exhale, push send. “So I guess it's OK if he comes over then.”

The boys are excited now, and Nigel is saying,
“perfect! We made so much food. I hope he's hungry! Tell him we have dinner for him.”

James says,
“is he cute?”

Great, they will love him. More than I am comfortable with. This could go so badly, I am an idiot. Instead of answering I rush to my room to change my clothes and am throwing off my clothes as I walk in already crazy over what to wear.

But when he does show up, Nigel and James are on their best behavior, like Sunday dinner with Ozzy and Harriet.

“Take his coat!” Nigel shouts at me as soon as Nic walks in the door.

Nic looks at me oddly in a way that looks like he isn't ready to give up his coat. Which is actually a jacket and leather.

“You don't have to,” I say but he shrugs out of it and hands it to me. I hang it from a hook on the rack and he follows me in as I say under my breath for only him to hear, “meet my roommates. And no, they are not a couple, they just act that way.”

Nic is blushing and I glance at the way they are both looking at him. But Nigel says, rushing to the kitchen,
“Oh shit, something's burning! James, offer him a drink!”

“We just made some margerittas, do you want one?” he asks Nic.

He laughs,
“sure,” and looks at me.

“Can I have one too?” I ask.

“Well, you can make yours yourself, dumpling, follow me into the kitchen.”

I look at Nic and quietly ask,
“are you uncomfortable?”

He shakes his head,
“no, not at all.”

“OK, good. Sit down, I'll be right back,” I wave him over to the chartreuse velvet couch.

In the kitchen everyone is silent. I watch James prepare the margarita and when he's done I repeat what he did. Mine does not come out as well but it is good enough. I need the armor so I decide to take a healthy sip. They are both watching me. They seem stunned, as if Gandalf has turned them to stone or something. So they wait and I think about what I am going to say about the elephant in the next room.

“Who is this guy?” James finally asks me.

“Did you just meet him?” Nigel asks.


“You never told us about him,” Nigel is looking at me suspiciously. “Have you been holding out on us?”

“No, I told you about him. Remember back when I was taking that class at NYU?”

“The model?” James asks and gasps putting his hand over his mouth.

“That's him?” Nigel asks.

“Please, can you be more quiet?” I say and step out to glance across to where he is sitting.

“Oh my God, we didn't realize it was him! I'm sorry,” Nigel says.

“Here, take this out to him,” James hands me the other margarita. “We'll work quietly in the kitchen and get the table ready. We'll be good.”

For awhile Nic and I sip our drinks. Then we both start to talk but do it at exactly the same time. Then apologise at exactly the same time. I reach for my glass and finish it. He laughs and does the same. Then he says,
“so what finally made you come over and talk to me?”

This shocks me.

“Did you want me to?”

“Well, dahhh,” he says and looks at me in this way that he is saying he thought it was obvious, “why would I keep going back there when I work at a restaurant that serves coffee for free for me? Or did until today.”

That he tells me this is shocking in itself to me. It never had occurred to me that he would ever be interested in me. I shake my head,
“why? I mean, you could have talked to me.... too.”

“That place is always busy, I thought if I just waited there maybe eventually you would.... come and talk to me.”

It is only the drink that lets this quietly sink in. And it is the drink that also allows me to relax enough to really look at him. He has shiny, long brown hair that is always clean and healthy looking. He is well groomed which also adds to the impression of otherworldly but I am sure gives people the impression he is gay. This concern is once again dispelled when he reaches to touch me, he reaches for my hand and he runs his fingers over the back of mine. His touch is erotic. He lets his eyes stare back at me. I have never seen eyes like his before. I have never seen blue eyes so warm or so startling. Like poet's eyes, deep and quiet and brooding and then I don't know if it is his eyes or his mouth I want to memorize but I want to touch him. And then I do, I touch his hair, and watch it fall between my fingers like a waterfall. It feels like silk. When I realize what I have done I wonder if I should have and start to move my hand away when he takes my other hand and laces his fingers between mine.

“Dinner's ready!” Nigel suddenly bursts in calling from the dining room, “come on kids.”

And then we are all sitting at the big rescued wood table in the dining room, set with mismatched chintz plates having dinner. I think we drank more than we ate. I think that is the only reason I felt bold enough to say (sipping Irish coffee for a half hour on the couch having after dinner talk with Nigel and James as they are sitting opposite each other on matching velvet melon-sorbet chairs, and seem amazed when I say),

“do you want to lie down?” because we have been sitting close to each other on the couch and he has been stroking my hand with his elongated fingers as he had been over dinner under the table. Only the corners of his mouth give him away, he smiles and his eyes are bright. He doesn't hesitate and stands up still holding my hand and I am forced to stand up too.

“Which way's your room?” he says loud enough for only my ears.


I don't want to over think it. I sit on the subway to write this.... he stayed the night.... I can never sleep next to anyone, so …. at work now. Some sleaze sat down next to me on the train reeking of alcohol and took up both seats, cramming me up against the window. Have a few minutes, on a break....

I woke up this morning from such a strange dream. All I remember about it were the colors. I kept seeing soft and saturated shades of violet blending with iridescent, torquise, ecru and magenta in shapes like starfish, trees, snow flakes and a rider on a horse with wings. Or the rider had wings, I don't know... but I didn't want to wake up from it until it occurred to me that I had to get up and then I, like, bolted upright in a state of panic because I thought I overslept past my alarm. Or tried to. It's only when I hear his voice up against my ear saying, “what's wrong?” in a sleepy voice that I realized he was still with me. And then, I wanted to stay there and not move because he felt so warm.... I just wanted to fall back to sleep and he moved up against my back. His arms still around me. This leaves me confused, somehow even as I remember all the details from last night.... He came into my room and we watched a movie from my bed. No, we never watched the movie. And he looked so fucking hot in my bed. Like one of those men's cologne ads. And I can't keep my eyes off him. We talked for maybe half a minute staring at each other. And then he said, “come here,” and we kissed.... He held my head in his hands as he kissed me. He held my head like a Christmas ball.

We made out. A long time. We didn't notice the movie end.

We didn't have sex. I don't remember when we fell asleep.

He had to go home early to walk his dog, so we left my place together, walking with me to the subway. And something so strange happened on the way, some random person we passed on the street suddenly called out, “Hey!” so that we both looked. And some guy took our picture. It was weird.

“Do you know him?” I asked him.
“I thought you did,” Nic looked back at me oddly. But I really wasn't too concerned. I was still thinking about last night and how his arms felt around me all night, caught up in the electric blue of his eyes. And then he smiled and said, “maybe we just look good together.”

My day seems to be getting weirder. I was at work before and it was the lunch rush. Some guy suddenly appears and I'm thinking he jumped the line. But he scared me. The way he was dressed. All in black. He wore one of those hats. Like from a mob movie.

It turns out he was there to tell me I had to go to some lawyer's office. Of course, I'm totally freaked out. I have no idea what this is about. What the fuck! Am I being sued now? What did I do? I've been in this fucking office's waiting room for hours now. I feel like I'm under house arrest. There is a guy watching me too, he keeps trying to look at what I'm writing and he keeps walking by me. Like pacing. As if he is trying to act casual but he would never get a part in any movie because he can't act for shit. I'm scared. Seriously. Maybe it's a case of mistaken-identity. They are confusing me with someone who looks like me who did a really bad thing and now I'm being held responsible for it.

I started to text but the guy by the door told me that I can't use a cell phone in the office and pointed to a sign. This is creepy......

Friday, November 28, 2014


Days go by where I feel that I am OK. More than OK. Feel good again. And happy....

.And then.... I don't know what it is, but something is suddenly different. Something has altered --as if-- the lighting has changed subtly that it shifts my mood and perspective. It drifts across, wafting like an intangible, though tactile sense that traps me and clamps around my deepest self.

It is not that I fall back. Or that I even knowingly go back. Because, deliberately.... I boxed it all up. Literally and figuratively.

But.... something about him somehow enters my thoughts. And it isn't intentional, it is only some echo that feels to be calling me back. An echo that is returning from infinity from that wormhole. And it is like being pulled down into quicksand. It clings and sucks at me. It fucks with me. Sucked within seaweed, his voice and words that wrap around my head in a sleeping consciousness

almost like a scent.

Released from a box

that was meant to be forever sealed away.... and erased.

I was not OK before I knew him. I think I am more OK now than maybe I ever have been. I couldn't see the forest of my mind. Buried under the morass of interloping and heavy sea-logged weed. I was like drift wood or dead wood, sinking fast, swallowing and choking under the waves I had forgot to care or notice were crashing over me and pulling me down. I didn't even want to care anymore.... like that song by Nada Surf, that goes,

.You woke me from a long sleep/and I'm almost back/closer than ever to finding the hidden track/if I told you the truth/ You wouldn't like what I said/I almost believed I was dead....

I listen to that album on repeat for hours. How appropriate that it is called Let Go. It is my soundtrack. I don't move sitting on the wooden floor staring outside the window into darkness as I close this chapter of my life.

I am torn between guilt for leaving the shipwreck of my marriage.... like I am abandoning .... and feeling raw from how it was Bran who woke me up to see that my marriage was destroying me.... and then lured me to love him.

But I never wanted to hang on to some raft that would take me to shore. I always liked best those moments of inner calm when I was alone and just finding my own way. Like those times I have gone walking through woods, deep in solitude and stumbled over the inner, sacred grove.

And I was there until today. When he came to me. Like somehow he was physically with me and in the room ….and it hurt like a fresh open wound; I could feel the swell of my emotions rip me open from the inside. A jab leaping out from within like that creature in Alien. The Hole.

Encoded in dictionary form.

The apartment I am moving to is small. But the location is in the middle of a quaint, busy little village with independent shops and cafes. It is right by Jamie's school and next door to the library.

I stand here in between dimensions. Step out of one. In neither. I look in at either side and wonder if I should jump inside any or none or just stay here detached. In between. You know, I almost think I would be better off just staying here. Neither here nor there. Because I don't think I want to feel again. I would rather exist with only …. this sense or state of cerebral objectivity. This logical and very safe place of pragmatism, this place of disassociation. Not everyone is capable of becoming toughened with a thicker skin....

and for those of us.... maybe then the only adaptation to survive that exists requires ingenuity. To metamorphose into a new species or genus …. or something beyond organic.

But I have to get out of here. The capsized ship I have been tied to suffocates; an anchor that has been sinking me down. And now I have to throw everything overboard. Flotsam and jetsam. I want no more memories.

Like running from a house on fire.... and my hands cannot tie my boots up quick enough. But I don't know where I am going. I just need to leave this apartment with walls that have begun to echo like ghosts wails as I empty cupboards and closets and drag furniture to the dumpster. So at first I walk. But then turn back. I get into my car and drive. And then I find I have gone the way down Zack's road. And knowing before I get to where his studio is that.... this feels like a familiar old pattern of mine.

I shouldn't be doing this. Why am I here? I shouldn't be here.

So I just sit here hidden by hedges between his house and the one next to his. Only because it is somewhere to be. This is somewhere.... That isn't connected to what I am running from. Just an escape. A place, maybe, just to dive from.

It is now pitch dark. And creepy. But I need to be somewhere there are no ghosts where I can think. I think about Dean and that he is coming out of rehab soon. The sympathy I feel for him is far greater than the ability to forgive the fact that I could not go on trying to be his pillar. There is something missing in my intelligence to permit me ….anything. For me. Especially when I see how attempting to try this only causes me to appear cruel.

And I think of how giving into need, anyway, lead me to crash and burn over Bran. And just surviving.... does not fill the hours enough. Not when you are an artist with a soul that gets its inspiration from the pounding thrill of the highs of passion both poetic and physical.

I jump when I hear a loud tapping on the driver's side window next to me. It scares the shit out of me and I am nearly deaf by the pounding of my heart in my ears. It takes awhile to realize it is Zach leaning down to look inside the car at me through the window. When he sees I understand it's him, he grins at me that shit eating grin of his, the kind that causes grooves of his dimples to appear. He motions me to take down the window. I turn the ignition and press the window button down.

What are you doing?” he asks me, almost laughing at me. Blue eyes penetrating me with the same intensity as he uses his gender.

I look away.
I don't know. I had to get out of there. I was just driving around.” I look at him again.

He nods with a kind of satisfied triumph as he looks back at me,
mmm-hmmm.... so you came here.... is that right?”

I was....” but what was I ….?

Uh-huh,” he says and he is now, obviously, smirking at me, not even trying to hide it. “So why don't you come in then? Or were you just planning to sit in there all night freezing your ass off?”

I didn't really think about it. I guess I was just-- needing to run away.”

He reaches his hand inside and unlocks my door, pulling up the button. And then he opens the door from the inside with a kind of personal familiarity, as if he is digging his fingers into my sex.
Come on,” he says,“let's go inside,” and he reaches across me to open the seat belt and pulls me, taking grip of my hand.

When we get inside he draws me into his kitchen and pours steaming hot water into a cup. He brews me tea and then pulls me to stand by the heat of the woodburning stove, and wraps his arms around me.

You're freezing,” he tells me pulling me to lean up against him. And I wonder why it is that he is so warm in only a sweater and blue jeans and I am wearing a coat that he is now pulling tightly around me. He says into my ear, “did you come back for more, baby?” but he laughs when he says this, “how 'bout some body heat? Hmm?”

Is it the excuse to not have to examine thoughts? Because words often.... trip you up. They can be full of bullshit. All talk. No action. All talk and empty promises. Just such a lot of talk. Talk that goes no where.

You're shaking,” he says against my ear, “tell me what's wrong.”


We both know that's not true.... let's go up stairs, come on,” he takes the cup of tea from me in one hand and with his other, he takes mine and leads me up the stairs to his room that smells like cedar. “Here, have some tequila. It'll warm you up fast.” There is a bottle on his bureau and a glass. He fills it and hands it to me, holding it to my lips. He says in a deep whisper, “you have to drink it all down at once, OK—ready?”

In a few minutes the cold has gone away and the magic of tequila removes much else of concern which had been troubling my mind.

By now I have become well-acquainted with his bed. And in my state, there is no censorship to impede me from making myself familiar with the warmth of it. I reach for the tea he has put on his little table that is next to his bed and drink half of it. This is not the first time he has made me tea. I think he has mastered this art because I believe I prefer his to the way that I make it. I fall back onto his pillow and feel the room swim. There is now music playing. He shuts off the lamps and lights candles.

You've been packing,” he says as he lifts my hand. My arm feels like a heavy weight of iron.

How do you know?” I ask looking up at the ceiling where he has mapped the constellations in phosphorescent paint. And it occurs to me that I can feel the motion of the earth.

Because your fingers are all cut up. I told you if you need a hand I would help you,” he says but he nudges me over and puts his arm around me, pulling me close next to him. “So what is it, what's on your mind?”

He is playing some weird music. But I like it. I don't know what it is.

I have to tell you Zach....” I begin.


But I have forgotten what I had begun to say. Maybe it was important. But I don't know. Part of it is still there, but only vaguely. It is cottony and cloudy but I know I am close.... “the thing about being close to anyone is-- maybe it is an unnatural state, you know?”

He makes a sound, not exactly a laugh, but not quite a scoff as he examines my fingers and then says,
but how can it be unnatural if two bodies can give each other so much pleasure, huh? Tell me that, Beth.”

But that's not what I mean. I mean.... you know.... Mars and Venus, there is no way even if the survival of a species is.... ensured because-- you know-- look at how we've overpopulated this planet, right? Because—”

People like to fuck,” he finishes my sentence.

But I'm pretty sure that was not what I was going to say. I mean-- don't think it was. Maybe vaguely. There was a deeper point I was reaching for. I realize I have lost the thread of it. I say,
I think that tequila shot got to me because now I can't make sense of what I am trying to say.”

That only means you need more,” he says and sits up and reaches toward the table. I hear liquid slosh into the glass. “Sit up,” he laughs because I only get half way up.

I'm driving.”

Not right now you aren't,” he assures me and pulls me up, pressing the glass to me. “That's it....easy there.... here, I'll share it with you.... You know I was going to ask you something but maybe now isn't the right time 'cause you're not going to remember any of this.” He is laughing at me.

The way he laughs makes me laugh too. What is it about laughing that makes everything else feel better? The candle light gleams gold in his hair. And then I remember,
I don't want to feel anything ever again, OK?”

He stares into me with a blue that is as warm as the Mediterranean. The kind that gives you gills and makes you a mermaid.

Mmmm,” he says thoughtfully pealing away my coat and wool sweater. “I'm not going to try and change your mind and I'm not saying you have to but.... some things aren't so bad to feel, you know? So why don't we just start with that for now?”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Electra's Dictionary; Burying Agamemnon

As I sit in my therapist's office, I find myself wondering where Electra has gone. It is the reflection of self, you see. The way that I call my diary 'Electra's dictionary'.... it encapsulates a million fragments of cells of self. Celves. In regards to 'self' this personification of a Greek heroine is the mirror I use because.... at the center I know I first became lost when I did not know what to call myself. Electra.... or What?

Beth who is What. What? Bastard, or unwanted, discarded child was my very first role. I used to think I should have been aborted. I'm sure this would be appalling to those people who advocate against this sad procedure. But I remember the first time I ever heard of this as a kid and I thought: it would have been better that way than to live unwanted. And so I journeyed through life in search of some place to belong. I guess it was a blind, unspoken yearning to belong to someone.

And here I find I am actually past all that now. So am I still Electra? The heroine who mourned for father....? As I sit there talking and responding to Margery, I hear myself say things that are true but that I cannot imagine that me ever saying …. only six months ago. What has happened? I have outgrown the need for father. And it is because I realize now that this void I tried to fill was always what was holding me back. I have always been stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I never needed any father. What I longed for, really, was complete acceptance of me. But I can do that for myself, can't I? I don't need anybody to do that for me. I see now that I always changed to be accepted because I wanted to be loved so bad. That was the mistake. Only it was a child's mistake that kept me blind all these years and it came from the harm that occurs from being not wanted. There was no way to see this until I finally stumbled and fell so many times and only now can I shed this old crutch. I never needed anybody and every time I thought I did was when I faltered.

So I think of Bran and …. yes, I still miss him. My heart has not let go of him. The father figure, even as he is the same age as me, it was the brand of his affection that pulled me under his spell. His compassion and feeling and the way that he instinctively gave protection through his method of love. And this was the most dangerous to me. I couldn't help but be mesmerized by this, but it was deadly to my Self.

Suddenly, Margery says,
What really happened with Bran? You never said....”

I do not know how this woman can read my mind. Even as I told her about my new lover, she watches me now as I tell her about our hike on a snowy, frosty trail. And then she says this! She knows when I think of Bran. My mouth says Zach, but my heart still says Bran.

I look away because I knew this would have to come up. Since I have been back from Amsterdam, I have skirted this issue. Even to myself. But to lie to yourself is stupid, isn't it? Especially at this stage of my life.

I got scared,” I finally say out loud.

I haven't even written this. I've been running from this.

She smiles at me and raises one eye brow and waits.

So I nod. I search for where to begin and plunge right in.
I do what I do and have always done when somebody gets too close. I sabotage things....”

And I knew when I did it. It was a moment where I took flight. His telling me that he had to return to Wales, to his life, his family because Clair was ill-- it was like being …. left to the wolves. And the feeling of panic made me so angry. Because I trusted him. And he was turning me away. It was irrational, I know. But it set off some explosion in my mind, like a mental trigger. I had to protect myself before I let him reject me.

Finally, I say,
I started a fight and I told him he was using this as an excuse. And I believed it! At the time. In that moment, I did really believe it. And I needed to lash out at him. I know I was wrong, but it was a knee jerk reaction. And I told him I never wanted to see him again. And I said a lot of other things that I.... regret.”

No, I have not written about this. I don't know why it's been so hard for me to confront. I know he was doing what he had to do and I reacted childishly. It was like some demon leaped out of me and words just came out of my mouth. And I was that stupid girl that I was each time my father rejected me and I kept going back, always expecting a different outcome. I was angry at myself for being back in that place again after years of avoiding a true attachment to someone because I can't trust closeness. It always ends up …. dumping me on the side of the road. Left for dead, like some little squashed thing; road kill.

Maybe I am safer without closeness. I don't know. I do not know how to let someone in without it compromising the place I built within. Not that I mean to be a coward, but-- I cannot seem to get this right without fucking up. I fear dependency even as I long for it only because I never really had it but I know it is dangerous for me. Why? Because it should have been something I long left behind but instead I learned to be defensive and always awake, staying watch for the first threat of danger. And then I destroy any possibility of …. ever being forgiven. It has always been my way. And it also perpetuates the self-fulfilling prophesy: I do not deserve love, I do not deserve anything good, I do not deserve shelter, just devastation.

As I explain this my therapist nods. She says,
I thought so. But don't be so hard on yourself.... but maybe you should tell him this.”