And she stood alone at the edge of the cliff overlooking the drop off that had recently formed after heavy rains. Her tears washed over her face until her whole body was sobbing. She willed the world to swallow her into it. It didn’t matter if she were here, of this earth, one more day, she was invisible at this moment anyway, he didn’t want her any more and she didn’t know if she even wanted herself. Clearly she had to decide if what he saw in her was perhaps more than she saw in her own self? IF she were so selfish as to hurl herself into the unknown feeling, and sucessfully disconnect from the physical world-ripped from the people that gave her the gift of heartache, would that day that they trickled holy water over her head….would that moment prevail? Like a grand shield, negating her decision, simply by having waved a hand, and calling her life “symbolic” Frankincense and Myrhh inciting her first sneeze.. ..” God” seeping into her infant pores through her angelic white satin dress, would that be the clincher? Is that what does it-a hand reaches out through the air, just before her heart is pierced by some metal debris jutting out. Would this crevice instead cradle her in a hug as luck would have it? She’d felt other-worldly embraces before-that summer as a child, she swam in two confused angry torrents of undertow pulling her under…..”deception pass,” like that weren’t a red flag! Eegads… this is true…. She would undoubtedly only puncture herself on the creamy skin of her face, her FACE….her best feature, and forever have to explain this awful puncture scar long after the bloody scabs had dropped away and the tears had dried and the twigs were removed from her hair-only her heart remaining forever bruised. That is the story that could live inside her in shame? How does one carry that secret with them? …..how would she tell that story- as luck would have it, she would indeed stay undiscovered for just enough time to realize she DID want to live and then some senior citizen dressed as if she were still middle aged in her designer matching sweat suit and pants in some unfathomable color like, turquoise, would come along with her perfectly manicured hands, matching her outfit, and her cloud of white toy poodle, whom she was just sharing the exquisite view with…she would be the one to find her! That is how life works. And in her surprise she would have to befriend this woman who had “saved her” whose surprise didn’t show on her face due to the success of her many Botox sessions-robbing her of any expression. She’d peer out over the oblivious eagles and grand rolling hills in the distance and happen upon my body, twisted in a heap of despair on that cliff side, leaning over she’d say to me in that perfect Betty White sugary tone ” oh honey, why do you let boys DO that to you?
I love teenagers they keep my ego in check. The other day, I was enjoying lunch my with preteen and teen kids, man my kids are mean, do they take after me? So-my mom and my dad were there, Dad-who despite being in a wheel chair has all his hair and fewer wrinkles than me, despite those Pall Malls, we’re logging some family time. My kids proceeded to tell me that I looked older than my mom-Damn the wine and steroids. Damn the Ban De Soleil ads. Damn my mother prodding me to get out of the sun why didn’t she just say “Lisa, spend another hour or two out their in that 2:00 O Clock sun sweetie.” My kids secretly clicked away as I told stories at lunch. The click was my phone- they had slid it outta of my purse undetected. My forehead up close has serious wrinkles. Each one having a different story for all the seven wrinkles stacked like ripples in the sand perched above my brows. They giggled…which caught my attention. Teenagers don’t laugh. I realized they were taking photos of me, good and close up, making sure to get the dry texture of my skin and the freshly puffy eyes from sleeping in. I had thought I’d looked good when I left the house? Then….they took photos of the forbidden zone. Yes-my forehead! The ripples are deep as deep as the unfortunate life episodes that carved them there. Each one a mark of time, a tear-filled, anger filled, episode -that one most prominent had to be where they cuffed me and put me in the back of the car. I don’t drink anymore……but indeed the ones on my forehead made me want to excuse myself from the table and demand Cherie my hairdresser come right over with her scissors and snip me some bangs -NOW. My wrinkles matched the ripples on my textured olive green sweater. The sharpness of the iphone photos are incredible. My forehead looks like Gordon Fucking Ramsey’s! Shit, less coffee, more night cream. Suddenly I wanted to get home so I could have some Chevy Chase frozen faced unnaturally blonde facial lady inject poisonous shellfish toxins into my forehead and end this discussion. But then what would happen? Like Pandora’s box, I’d be like the celebrity addicts Michael Jackson, Joan Rivers, Carrothead….top, whatever-I would turn into one of those airbrushed addicts who then look at their lips and suddenly think they should be bigger? Then their boobs, then their mouth starts talking to them in slow mo looking like Mick Jaggar’s -everthing looks distorted and imperfect. Id feel like a teenager stoned for the first time sitting on the sink looking with panic into the bathroom mirror. Then the lines around the lips reveal every imperfection looking like a cigarette must have plugged that fumarole nightly and cocktail hour must have lasted until dawn. I mean wrinkles are like worse than belly fat! Thanks god I don’t have fat issues. Eegads. The wrinkles spoke now like that man’s boil in the movie “How to get Ahead in Advertising.” My appearance would taunt me. I would demand my eyes be pulled tighter until I looked like Connie Chung and I was craving Oxycodone hourly. Later I asked my uncle if I looked older than my mom, he answered, “it depends on the lighting. ” I decided surgery might take me down-the remedy would be bangs, Mexican potency advanced levels of Retinol and rose tinted glasses everywhere just like Jack Nicholson. Cause quite frankly there is nothing less than genuinely real about me. I’d surrender Lisa to the knife, why now? Besides, I really am prettier inside. Some day when my kids call me to borrow money, they will have my entire plastic surgery fund, the one I didn’t use-at their disposal!
I didn’t set out to be a “problem child,”
Terrified by the word “Goodbye,”
Nor did I know why I felt alone
In a room filled with people.
I didn’t marvel at the creatures at the zoo
Like children do,
I wasn’t clamoring for my mommy’s hand,
Or reaching through a swarm of liquid bubbles
Marveling at how wondrous life could be,
In a world I barely knew
Early on, I felt as if I knew,
And as I grew, the world I barely knew
Came at me like galloping horses,
Rearing back, wild and temperamental.
Life seemed to whisper it’s secrets to me
I chose not to inhale deeply; filling my lungs with more
I learned to hold my breath,
Perhaps so my human presence would go undetected.
Every inkling, every life moment pressed at me;
Ideas bursting like sunflowers
Hanging their heavy heads
Knowing deep in my belly….if indeed I blossomed
I would be the only one
To ever pick me.
My sister takes sugar and cream in her coffee. I only learned this recently. I only take cream. If you ask me, my sister needs a little sweetening. I often wonder if my mom blasted punk rock at her belly when my sister was in the womb. Then I realize, punk rock wasn’t born yet. Plus, my mom was more of the times of blasting nothing more than the Hollies or the Stones and actually playing music would have distracted her from sucking at her cigarette….think January Jones in Mad Men that was my mom, only shorter.
What doesn’t equate for me is why neither one of us got into any sort of real trouble knowing that my mom was way more into herself than either of us kids. I mean, lots of women back then wanted little replicas of themselves to dress when their moms couldn’t afford dolls for them to play with while growing up. I am not sure how I feel about my mom’s admission that they would just leave us in the back seat of the car while they were in the bar having drinks. I am not sure why a woman who was repulsed by the first man who stumbled home wreaking of whisky and bar fights would gravitate towards a father figure much older than her that also chose his martini over her or us. But that was our childhood. At the time it seemed life was a party. At least in our basement….which smelled of cigarettes and never of stale beer, it was clean and ready-a full bar equipped with neon signs and a fridge with a tap on the front. Go figure why I only knew to climb into my beer bottle when things went good, bad or otherwise. My mother of course checked in with me, she’d say, “I don’t raise dummy’s so- No, I don’t worry about you.” As for mothers’ advice for me, it was “don’t leave the house without lipstick on” and “go to college to marry a rich man.” Wow, she really didn’t have too much hope for me. Its too bad I didn’t know until much later in life, when the fog was lifted and the brain recouped itself from being overly saturated in wine’s magic façade that I was actually pretty remarkable, lipstick or no. The thing is I don’t feel mad at her. I figure she thought she was doing good seeing as her parents left them for the entire weekend while they were in Reno. Plus the neighbors who played sports and went camping and wore ties to work and who all became cheerleaders, well she doesn’t talk to her sisters either. Don’t question experiences as right or wrong- It’s supposed to happen this way.
Several projects are calling. Pick me, pick me. I scan the table around me, pale pink sunglasses, a clear footed glass with imprints of bees fluttering up the side, a straw probing the air, a straw, brilliant if their is a giant whole in your gums from where an aching tooth was removed. A Black ball point pen rapped in three colors of yarn, my little girl has been here, a picture of “Paris and Faces” a collage of “Dark Stars.” The end of May the students strip the walls and make the school look lifeless for when they leave and the beaches call them. It’s a Thursday in May. I sit with a moment of thought. How lucky I am to wake to a new day. How lucky I can sit at my laptop. How lucky I am to sit here in a clean pair of underwear not taking for granted I have cream for my coffee, I can use my own washer, no quarters, no waiting. I can use the shampoo that makes my hair silkier yet, I still keep in check by alternating when it runs out, choosing the shampoo that is on the Safeway Club card special. In this life I have tasted AA coffee, I have seen a large pool of blood spilled on pavement in a church parking lot, I have felt love so devastatingly deep it ached to be anywhere but next to him. I have felt sadness so deep I yelled towards the sky. I have felt joyfully speechless as a warm surprise pink faced bundle was swaddled and presented “A GIRL!” against all predictions. Today, I observe the gentle messages around me. I open my heart to the way Thursday is not just another day, but one with meaning if I live it as if it matters.