cartoon from Gaping Void
DTW, again and always. Upgraded, a thrill for me as well as for Power Girl. Thank God we’ll get some sleep, and the little china houses filled with liqueur the attendants bring around at the end of the flight…yes, they give you gifts in business class, thank you for flying KLM. I am as happy as I have ever been – the universe is conspiring to shower me with blessings, as Rob Brezny might say.
I walk to the fountain, the massive black oval in the center of the terminal, the leaping water momentarily still. It’s time.
And as I call up each unforwardable photo living in my phone, I think, yes, that was a good time. And then I hit delete.
Pumpkins lined up to be weighed at a fair.
Waterskiing drag queens.
The mermaid I painted, now painted over.
Bruises on my breasts.
The time I dyed my hair Lola red.
The girl in Las Vegas.
Mary Magdalene with her jar of ointment.
An erection in jeans.
A fortune: You Will Pass a Difficult Test.
His hand in my ass.
The fountains start their arcing paths, catching the light of the sun over my shoulder. I realize I have lost my screensaver, this is still my phone for one more month. I follow the edge of the oval, the water reflecting my knees as it slides over, hugging the berm of the pool, and I snap facing into the light, the blackness of the fountain, the clearness of the water, the sun coming through it all, everything clarified, everything clear.
This is what I will look at. Until I get the new phone. And then I’ll snap something else.
This is the end of the story.
It’s not clean – there are still some posts in rough editing, ideas scribbled on napkins and pieces of paper tablecloth, plot lines unfinished, things left unsaid, some of them important.
Here there is a whimper – in my other life, the life where people see my eyes and my smile and my body all in the same snapshot, there is a bang. One big enough to need a pre-emptive removal of this particular risk.
It’s the end of the movie.
Beautiful Girl is on a mountain in Taos. She sends texts when she gets reception. She is clearing her life of alcoholism, laziness, and inertia – only a little of the last is hers. Someday you will hear her voice. Maybe you have already.
Power Girl is standing beside me, finding her power and helping me regain mine. We’re off to cities in Europe, Asia, Canada, and the next big thing. The blond and the redhead holding hands? That’s us.
Secret Scientist is scientist-ing and music-ing, with Hairline Boy, who is happy there weren’t enough pills in the cabinet and has appointed himself a future helpline.
Zurich texts me: Flights have just doubled everywhere – don’t worry, Mandy will get her mail-order booty somehow.
Fucked-Up Guy was good on Friday, and I was fine with it being too late for me on Saturday, and I knew on Sunday it would be too late when I saw the shot in his hand. But I needed the time to pack, no harm no foul.
Be My Real Friend is my real friend. We’re working on girlfriend-with-presents status, and I need to tell him, the thing that makes me a whore is asking for it. If you choose it, it’s a present. Even if it's cash.
Folk Rocker is on the other side of the world. We’re both looking forward to a future meeting, unforced and uncompelled.
Big City Lover has come through as a friend in surprising ways. We’re cool.
I don’t know where Ex-Lover is or what he’s doing, and I’m OK with that. I am at times a little wistful, but my mourning is done. And I’m letting go of feeling obligated to be good to him. The only thing I miss is being a muse. But I suspect that when someone else needs me in that role, they will appear to me (or I to them) and there will be more long conversations, more writing, more listening, more…
Husband is still imperfect, still trying, still next to me when I am home and still lonely when I am gone. He’s made some local friends. He’s planning home improvement and a trip to see me this summer. He's manning up, as Beautiful Girl would say.
And Mandy? Mandy has a big dream on the verge of coming true. And not that lame self-realization, use-the-zen, feel-the-moment crap but in a concrete way. In a big way. The best thing I ever made up ‘til now may be about to place second. True story.
There will be a book. I hope you will buy it. Even (Anonymous) if only to enjoy schadenfreude.
And so, Gentle Readers, goodbye, goodnight, and good luck.