Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where is the Love?

Primordial Love

“It’s like standing on a high dive,” your mother says, “and there’s no water in the pool below, but you insist on diving, believing that there will be water when you get there, even a little water to save your fall, but it’s just concrete, it always is.”

Phone call for Mz. Wagner

You are with your family on an enchanted island. Your mother’s house, a Japanese fortress of glass and wood sits on the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea. Beyond the lanai there is a bright green lawn and purple bouganvilla spilling down the cliff. This is paradise, a chance to take a break from your worries, your anxieties. You were glad to get away and especially from certain dramas back home. The salty, sea air will be healing. The ocean waves will be baptizing. You’ll have sex with your husband, lose a few pounds, take a break from the ensuing drama of your lover’s wife. Beauty and bliss surrounds you. So why are you checking your cell phone and your email?

Where is the love?

In the supermarket in Waimea you and your husband see a young, curly haired woman who has a purse just like yours, only not hot pink like the one you have, but beige. It’s a hard purse to find because it’s only made by this woman up in Canada, and so you chat the woman up and find out that she has been flown to the island from Seattle to cook for a family who lives near your mother’s house on the beach. “Who is the family?” you ask, wondering which family is rich enough to get a catering staff for three weeks. “I can’t tell you,” she says, “I’m not allowed to say.” Rock star, movie star, politician. Could be any one of them. You’ve seen Neil Young on the beach before. Michael J. Fox too. Suddenly a trip to the beach or to the gym is filled with promise. Maybe you’ll see one of these important people and more importantly, they will see you.

Are you my mother?

You are pumping free weights and he walks in. Is it Dana Carvy? Beck? You can’t tell because he’s got his jacket covering his mouth, but the messy, sandy hair seems right. He’s so small. Beck, you think. The aerobics instructor is playing his music in the next room. Maybe she has seen him too. Your arms look so good today. Hope he looks over. Who are you? Who is that woman with the blue bandana and the lean, tan torso? Does he see how hard you’re working out? Has he noticed how you do the whole weight circuit and then run on the treadmill, and then do the whole thing again and then again? Has anybody noticed? Who is this marvelous, important creature that is you?

Soups On

Your mother has brought back chicken soup from Costco because you felt woozy all day. Everyone else is eating salad and chicken for dinner, but the glutenous, thick soup is for you, her first born. It doesn’t look very tasty; all goopy, with huge pieces of white meat and thick slices of carrot and celery bobbing in the broth, but you’ll eat it anyway because it is a gift from your mother. As you’re preparing to take the last of the dishes out to the lanai so you can all sit down to eat, you, in a very prompt and grown up way turn to her and say you, “You know, I don’t feel like the soup tonight.” And it’s not that her face falls, and it’s not that it’s turned hard either, in fact you don’t wait to see her expression at all. You simply realize, in an instant, in anticipation of her possible upset, that you can’t afford to say no to her offering. You will drink the soup.


He wants nothing for Christmas, he never does. Sometimes you bring him books on the Middle East because that’s his real interest, but even then, he’ll have already read them or he’ll say a light “thanks.” He’s a hard man to please. So you tell him, “My gift to you this year is a walk.” You sacrifice your morning workout, your chance to see Beck or Dana Carvey or whoever that sandy haired person at the gym was, just to walk around the hotel and the beach with him. He is slow. He’s older and there’s a paunch around his middle. But you love your dad, you always have, and every staggered little step he takes you take too. Screw your glutes, screw the sweat, you’ll work out later. And it’s not that he doesn’t ask about you, he does. And it’s not that he puts you down, he doesn’t, never has. But somewhere along the walk you both fall silent and you realize, this is it, this is my relationship with my father and it’s just what it is. He loves me enough, but even his love, the love that’s supposed to save me, won’t.

The boyfriend

You’ve been meaning to tell him that you want to spend more time talking, being together to balance out the fucking, but the first thing he tells you when you call from the enchanted island is how much he enjoyed the sight of you sucking his cock last week, the way your hair hung down around your face, your little ears, how beautiful that was. The conversation turns light, it always does. You manage to tell him toward the end of the phone call that you don’t just want to just drink and fuck, that in the New Year you should vary the dates, do other things. “But I took you to the opera!” he shouts in mock protest, referring to the date with his son and wife, the two hours of tedium in the opera house and the family dinner afterwards. You laugh, “sure you did,” you say. He agrees to more proper dates but you’re sad after the call. You wanted something and you’re not sure what it is. You wanted something and you’re pretty sure he can’t give it to you.

Glutes Away!

There’s that Beck, Dana Carvey guy again. He’s speaking to that woman by the free weights. She’s kind of pretty with wavy blond hair, nice enough body, but she’s not special, not rock star special. Maybe it’s not Beck. There’s another guy by the leg weights, he looks like somebody from t.v., Can’t remember his name. Ray something. He’s looking at you. Maybe he’s a movie star. Maybe they’re all movie stars. Maybe they think you’re a movie star too.

The family dinner

If you can just manage to keep it to two meals a day, no, a meal and a half, you’ll still look trim for the family party on Friday night. If you look fat you’re sunk. If your dress is wrinkled, forget it. Hope it’s a good hair day. You’ll wash it the day before so it’s slightly distressed for the party. No time for a pedicure, maybe mom has some clippers and polish. The idea is to look tight, together. The idea is to look perfectly beautiful wonderful. The idea is not to give anybody any reason to gossip about you, your hair, your dress, your body, any imperfection. The idea is to be adored, admired, envied. If you can manage this you will stay safe. You will get the love.


Maya Stein said...

Dweez -

This is so good. Revelatory. Real. Honest and true. Love the riffing here, and where it leads down to, the self-love, the self, where it needs to begin, and where it needs to be sustained before any of it can move outward, and how difficult that is, loving the self, loving the self that is already the self, loving the self regardless of the flaws, the imperfections, the wants, the needs. Of course, isn't that what makes us so beautifully human - that curious bundle of things that we are and the things that we are not? Thank you for this, for spelling it out so well...for saying it out loud.

Monica C. said...

Wow, you're an amazing writer!

Anonymous said...

Remember, beauty comes from within. A pretty package is nothing without a gift inside. Work in the inside and the outside will shine from your inner beauty.

Dale said...


Yes. Never enough. I think that the problem has never been that I wasn't loved enough, approved of enough, protected enough: I think the problem was always that I didn't love enough.

But that's only a theory, really. All I know for sure is that it's not enough, and never has been.

Burning Woman said...

God, I was going to say the honesty was heart breaking, but I think back breaking is more like it. I mean, to throw it down like that, to detach from caring how 'they' will see me. It feels like the inside of a People Magazine, if only it told the truth.

B. said...

Damn Girl! Can you say Mrs Dalloway? You're rocking my casbah.