today's episode is brought to you by the letter, "A", and the numbers "5" and "2".
5-star resort. 2nd-class citizen.
a crystalline parade of teas salute from the corner of the spa, sparkling with custom cut cubes, twirling in the shape of dollar bill signs; tinkling with whispered promises of deep-soul cleansing and captured youth found squirming under a hair net.
my mouth mists with moonlit sentimentality.
pretentiously, gingerly, i sip, then guzzle gulps as prayer, my rice paper goblet soon pulp by fist, then flat by foot, all in spa-hushed desperation that this tea might work as elixir for me - sedating my fury, tranquilizing all fears as i lace up my Nike sneakers, lay a purple square across my face, and board a spaceship straddling the tailwind of the Hale-Bopp comet; drifting into permanent shut-eye with visions of aliens dancing in my head.
i wait and i wait, holding my breath, less out of anticipation, and more out of fear of riding the collective, patronizing wave of "ssshhhs!" from the ladies who lunch - all the way out the door, past the valet parking onto the pavement with the plebs.
but, there comes no exhale with ease. no quivering release of limbs and lies.
Heaven's Gate does not swing wide for me.
irritable. restless. discontent.
please. separate me.
separate me like a band aid. peel away the paper from the pad, and let the sheet flutter to the floor.
i am riddled with boo-boos. they sting and they burn. slap me silly with a second skin. cover me. smother me. latex. elastoplast. snoopy. all kinds. any kinds. just cover the skin i am in.
sick. in pain. freak.
i am drenched from my downpour, dripping with zen exertions.
to buddha's milk-baby body, i cling, clutching with fists jaundiced-tight.
when i finally towel down, soaking up skepticism, and wringing out my moldy, bacterial-infected sponge as brain, my algae-clogged vision clears.
only to see that the moment has passed.
then, i am sprinting, howling like the wrongly convicted sentenced to life.
"WAIT FOR ME!!!", i cry.
i am the child, promised, PROMISED an ice cream cone if i did all my chores. i say my prayers, am kind to others and grateful for my health. but, the bucket of bolts is pulling away from the curb, jangling its eerie, tinny ode to Elysian evenings - running naked through sprinklers, trading jacks and marbles and a nuclear family of 4.
"WAIT!!! FOR!!! ME!!!..."
i am the awkward, chubby girl, anguished, desperate for that sugar rush, the jolt on a javelin ride, quick and directed, far, far away from the cage of childhood.
[do as i say, don't do as i do. hypocrites.]
i am still a child.
financially dependent. physically obligated. and emotionally uncaged.
at the four seasons, i shiver, snowbound by winter.
i smear on lipstick, passing over widened eyes so black with panic, they need no kohl embellishment.
i reach for my glass. it is water. soda water. soda water with lime. the citrus sparks scrape my throat; the cleansing exfoliation mocks.
carefree laughter sticks in my throat like a chalky pill that hasn't dissolved.
[but, all the pills have dissolved.]
i am unable to sit on a couch of the finest, french upholstery. unable to perch with sophistication, swing my goblet, sip with snooty, european elegance. unable to purse my painted lips and burst with glossy giggles about the delicious details of my life,
unable to put down the glass and walk away.
please. separate me.
separate me from the person unable to work, work-out, work-up to anything called integrity.
i stand in the marble stall, tiles lustrous with luxury, and shower in my own tears. i shave and i pluck and i condition the sad tuft of hair that remains, massaging $40, coconut futility through threads undead, too tired from years of medications to resurrect. i scrub with Silkwood furor, unable to unstain the letter "A".
useless. old. sad.
sad that you love me.
i loved the lovely lunch, the afternoon delight, the titanic tub where my toes don't touch.
and i love my birthday boy blue.
but, i refuse to throw my arms around the little red haired girl.
please. separate me.
in your soft-focus blur, the edges would disappear, and you'd softly encircle me whole. in your liz taylor limelight, i'd blow out, starring as a fuzzy, fabulous version of myself.
a untouchable, loaded legend.
i lift and step out, as my thin tamale shell unhusks, crinkling to the floor. i place one, then the other foot down, and stare at the me beside me. i strain.
i can't hear the slurring song.
i can't smell regret like skunk.
i can't see the ego crashing.
[we're sorry. please hang up and try your call again...]
no. bottle service is discontinued. for life.
bottles that clink melodies; anthemic xylophone tones.
the uncorked bottle of wine, pungent, smelling of relief.
the bottle of pills rattling raucous, the noise that calms.
"you've got to get some self-esteem".
if i knew where to get it, i'd raid the store shelves with the panic of a bank run; stock a pantry that would keep me safe for the next 50 years.
but, in that shelter, i would be bombed.
for in that underground womb of supplies and silence, i would separated.
please. don't separate me.
"A" does not just stand for the word everyone whispers...