Look at this little vixen, just THRIVING.
I cut off the dead weight and since then she has been growing so fast it’s like she’s in therapy. Look at this gorgeous troublemaker. She’s living off ice cubes, radiator heat, winter sunlight, and the carbon dioxide of my complaints.
Look at her new stem, cuddling the sunlight.
Eurydice, ever the metaphor for my life. For once, one I am excited about.
Yesterday I got glutened, despite my best efforts at due diligence. It’s the most gluten I have consumed since my diagnosis, and I was upset. I had been having a lovely day, and when I found a gluten-free cake pop I was just about nuclear with joy. But, after eating it, I realized it was too good to be true, and called the bakery to find out I was right. Oops.
I miss New York sometimes, but especially when I find myself crying in public. When a perfectly delightful treat has ruined what was about to be a perfectly lovely weekend. I miss being able to cry on public transit, without so much as a glance in my direction. Or, on the opposite end of the New-York-subway-manners-spectrum: a crumpled tissue and hug from a complete stranger,
“That’s right honey, you just cry it out.”
New York is a great place for mad public sobbing, everything there is both open and shut. The subway is a living room and a locked closet. Public and private, a woman applying her make-up, the mascara wand hovers in her hand while she waits for the train to stop.
I’ve done my fair share of sobbing in Vienna. It’s a cleaner sidewalk to crumble on, I’ll give it that.
On Saturday morning, I languished in bed with a new lover, discussing, as one does these days, the current plague,
“Yeah I had it last year, I got it in the hospital.”
“Wow, you just have everything, asthma, and your knees don’t bend. You’re a wreck.”
It’s not like I had a choice in the matter? I don’t know, it’s fine, it was just an aside. I am just annoyed he was right.
Well, I left Mr. Honesty’s place and made my way to a market in search of new artwork for my apartment. I took down the wedding photos, a long while ago, but there are still hooks hanging on the wall, like the empty frames in the Gardner Museum. Evidence of a robbery. I pushed the thoughts away, about the wreck of my body, and bounced about the market, enjoying my newfound health. And a delightful lunch: french fries in a dedicated fryer! Then a fucking cake pop proved to be my Achilles heel.
I’ve dated rather ferociously the past few months, as evidenced here in my various posts of Sunday night sex poetry. I keep a few handsome playthings in rotation for when my wreck of a body wants to be warm for an evening. They all have their nicknames: The Hunk, the Kid, The Chef. I rarely keep someone around long enough to warrant my friends learning their names. That’s not true, I rarely let someone close enough for my friends to learn their name.
I was furious at the bakery that told me the cake pop was gluten-free, and I posted about it on Instagram. How glamorous, how sexy, to announce to the world news of my poisoning. I am sure that anyone reading it could connect the dots of precisely how my evening turned out, and it’s not exactly glamorous. My stomach was so bloated, the boudoir shoot I planned for Monday would have looked more like a maternity shoot. Welcome to the world, baby Gluten
But, I was surprised by the outpouring of support I got. All the men I have dated who saw the post reached out to me with kind messages, Really kind. Even the ones I don’t talk to anymore, the Professor and such. What a delightful thing, to be surprised by a man’s compassion. Of course, my friends all sent me messages as well. The bar for men’s behavior is so low it’s a tavern in hell.
After what happened a few weeks ago with A., and the IUD, I was jarred. Hurt. It stopped feeling like fun. I tried to laugh it off, but I was furious and scared. I deeply questioned my taste in men. My doctor counseled me that the IUD isn’t 100% effective and I could still be pregnant. “Don’t worry, I’m one of those liberal Boston girls who get abortions” I had told him. It’s not true, and it’s a decision I am grateful I didn’t have to make.
When I was recovering from the procedure, everyone reached out to me, except him. God, what a fucking Saturday that was. Kind messages from my ex-husband and not a whisper from A. Then he dumped me over text on Sunday, with nary an “I hope you’re doing okay” or, I don’t know, “Let me know if you’re pregnant”. I would have settled for “I hope your okay”, a grammatical error befitting him: a mistake.
But, for now, it feels like A. was more an exception than a rule. Even if none of the nicknames has turned into a love story, perhaps my taste in men isn’t quite as terrible as I imagined. They all passed the “basic human decency” test with flying colors. Even Mr. H managed the feat, texting to say he was sorry. I admit it made me smile. I should know better by now. Here I am, seated at the Tavern in hell, drinking watered-down gin, convincing myself I am having a good time.
I won’t wait around long, sustained on bread crumbs. Your girl is hungry.
Perhaps I am unfair to these men, sometimes. Perhaps. It seems a fair exchange though, come over and use my body, and I will use your body: I’ll make you hang Christmas lights. I have somehow accrued a harem of giants. I should buy more high heels.
I know I should have stopped calling F. “The Kid'” a while ago, but when I do it makes me feel a bit like Humphrey Bogart. Say what I will about the Kid, who is unreliable for a rendezvous, he is the most reliably sweet thing to me. Always greeting the day with a “how are you?”, and such. Always rooting for me to find the right one.
“What are you doing tomorrow morning?”
Coffee with Mr. H, it seems. Followed by a mild poisoning.
“You should have come over, I’m certified Gluten-Free.”
I am anxious today, editing the final piece for my writing class and it’s tricky: vulnerable. The critique is more specific, and all the feedback I’ve been given is conflicting. Of course, the editing process itself is tricky, confronting demons and details and all that. A graveyard of darlings and the teacher prodding me for more honesty. More. More. More.
At last, the Christmas lights in Vienna are up. The city turned snowglobe and god, it’s a romantic misery of cold.
The covid numbers are daunting, and I am not sure what to expect. Winter arrived in full form today, announcing that the era of my leather jacket has come to an end. I will miss it, for it gave me power and pockets.
I’m feeling awfully vulnerable these days, but happy sometimes. I’m not short on company, friendly or otherwise, I have a bit too much time on my hands this week, it won’t last long- I should enjoy it. I should let myself enjoy things. I should let myself enjoy you. I have my guard up, it seems.
I am rambling, I am not sure who this post is for, it’s just thought spillover. If you’re still reading, my apologies.
The class focuses quite a bit on the great paradox: “Specific is the best in general”
I think I need to be held. I think I need a walk. I think I want to be held, but need to go for a walk.
I want you to hold me. I want you to spoon me and pull me close, and when I say “I should head home”, I want you to pull me closer and gently wrestle my underwear off as I try to put it back on. I want you to kiss my neck and leave a mark, so I can text you about it and pretend I am annoyed, smiling all the while.
Yes, on an island off the coast of Italy there grows a mythical olive tree. Countless men have died trying to reach it. Journey there, in the port, you will meet a raven-haired woman with a one-eyed dog. To the dog, you must feed a piece of your own flesh. To the woman, you must reveal your deepest secret. If you do so, she will provide you a map to the island. It’s a two-day sail from the harbor, past schools of sirens. The tree itself is atop a mountain, climb it, and find the tree. In the tree nests a silver dove, with her baby chicks. Each of the three chicks will ask you a riddle. Answer the riddles correctly, and the dove will allow you a cutting from the tree. Bring me the topmost branch.
Or, just bring me flowers, yellow roses are my favorite.