This Memorial Day weekend we rented our little house on an island to throw the IR's shower. It was pretty quaint and pretty weird: seven women in plastic old-lady rain-kerchiefs or wool scarves or Paddington-yellow hats crowded around a pregnant woman on a ferry in the drizzle, petting her wet hair because she was feeling seasick. It was me, and Iola, whom you remember was a stripper with me and was good friends with the IR in our salad days, and this girl Pete who is an urban photographer-type kind of like Jo from Melrose Place, only obviously cooler, and this girl Lotte who is I think the IR's best friend and who plays the sitar and has long, tragic hands and a long, tragic face, and this other girl Vivyan who is a well-lipsticked lesbian militant and fashion designer, and our friend Banane, who likes to cook, and the IR's best friend from high school, Norah, who is a systems analyst and rather baffled by everything everyone else does, but who listened to Vivyan proselytize with her game face on. Missing were the MB, who is in California, and the IR's own mother and sister, who live in that distant land from whence the IR has come.
At any rate, the IR recovered from her illness as soon as we hit shore and insisted that we go immediately swimming, despite the general damp and general chill. We compromised and took her to the beach, where she bathed her swollen ankles and we made a couple of sandcastles before heading up to the little house, with its silvery unpainted shingles and its vernal pond and its hammocks and its many warm embracing beds. Most of the weekend it rained and we played checkers and did puzzles and made up stories about the baby, who might be named Iris Milk now, instead of Isadora, if it's a girl. The IR drank hot milk with herbs and we drank hot toddies and lime rickeys, depending on the weather. We did her nails many times over. I gave her my ointments and Banane gave her a changing table and Norah gave her certificates to KMart and Vivyan gave her a whole suite of naughty baby-outfits and Iola gave her a vintage pram spray-painted black and Pete gave her a photo album that already contained several full-length nude studies of her and Lotte gave her a beautiful and ethnic-looking cradle and some funny-looking rattles and in general we had a good time and there was much weeping and laughter and the air was rich with lots of strange female hormones.
I had a glass of wine and smoked a clove cigarette and ate half a chicken and went peacefully enough to bed last night. I woke at seven PM today with red blood on my lips and fingers, a moon tattooed in woad upon my brow, a couple of claw marks and cabalistic symbols on my vanity table, and this shimmering upon my desktop.
I take absolutely no responsibility for it.
In other news I have slain some orcs, but only in a top-secret duelling forum being developed by an acquaintance. But lemme tell you, orcs are hard to slay. My new nemesis is named hoopster levittown. All caps, but no caps on her teeth, let me tell you!!!!
I bought a set of ointments for the IR's baby. They come in seven colors, like a rainbow: rose-red for diaper rash, orange for scabs, yellow for a different kind of diaper rash, green for cradle cap, blue for dehydration, indigo for depression, and violet for gas.
So, what do you think it means to feel love? As in, "When Ava found Drusilla's discarded scarf on the sofa, a sudden feeling of deep love surged over her," or something like that. One time when I was very young, around the same time when I was puzzling over how I knew I was a girl and not a boy, I became absolutely terrified that I didn't have any concrete evidence that I loved my mother. I was pretty sure I loved her, but I couldn't verify it by any scientific means--there was no lump in my throat, no extra appendages, no change in temperature I could measure daily to see if my love had lessened or increased. I stood in the doorway of her bedroom and watched her as she combed her long black hair and sang "The Highwayman" to herself, and just felt weirdly nauseous and confused.
And yet, in later years I've always felt that I could actually, physically feel love. At least I would feel something when I thought of someone I loved & it would be different from heartburn or fear or lust or hunger or pain. Like just now I felt a sudden wave of love for my mother, and it was this mixture of tenderness and grief and contentment and happiness that manifested itself in a sudden warmth and a tightening of my shoulders and a pressure in my throat like a bubble was rising up in it, kind of like how it feels when you're going to cry. But is that love, or is it some weird sense-memory of being breastfed or being cuddled as a baby or being in a womb?
I don't know why I'm talking about this, but I was just curious if anyone had any input.
So I forgot to mention that after I spat in his coffee cup that time, Stephen left a brief adorable message on my answering machine that said, ever-so-succinctly and with a little bit of a whine in his voice and a little bit of a chuckle, "So you spit in my coffee and I am still charmed. Still charmed. What do I have to do, lady?" My knees dissolved, as they are known to do, and I felt a hot flush of something and had to bring my hands up to cover my face in delight, and in a moment of weakness called him back but absolutely hung up when he picked up the phone. He has not called since. I am relieved but also kind of full of agony--checking e-mail a little too much, staring with angry but submissive eyes at the jade-green screen of my cellular phone. Naturally most of the friends consider this silence to be wise & healthful--everyone except the IR, who said, drinking some kind of weird herb-infused organic milk that her neighbors make for her & lolling against the counter in her apartment: "I don't see what the big fucking deal is. Why do you need to be fucking beautiful? It's like, he's a prick or whatever but I'm totally always fucking guys who think I'm really ugly and shit and who think I'm really stuupid and it's like, fuck it, who cares? I mean, they're stupid, too, right? They're fucking ugly as sin, they got blue teeth and shit, I mean, shit, they got, like, a fuckin' lazy eye, it's crazy shit they got, I still fuck 'em anyway." I noted that perhaps that was why she was seven months pregnant. "Whatever," she said, "You've always been all fucking virtuous, that shit is retarded, you know? I mean, who gives a fuck if Isadora's daddy thought I was beautiful, you know?" Then she said something profound: "You know you fucking hate it when they think you're beautiful anyway, it's like, oh I could look at you for hours, baby, you're so beautiful, whatever. It gets fucking pathetic. Hey, I had this idea. Do you think I can smoke herbal cigarettes like your friend Lucille or whatever smokes, the lettuce ones?"
This is entirely true. I fucking hate it when people think I'm beautiful. I like hearing it, I eat it up, but moist-eyed reverent men are totally retarded. Oh, Ignominious Redhead, you will raise a very wise baby.
Meanwhile the erotic fiction is on hold while I write some mini-biography of Beckett for a colleague of my father's who is doing some anthology of Irish writers. Dull, dull, but my grant money is running out ever since I bought those diamond-plated ice skates.
My recent comments about Lucid Billy have elicited some questions, & to them I say: L.B. was the charismatic front man for some dynamic local ska band with whom many of my stripper friends liked to hang out for some reason, and one time we were at someone's house smoking pot and sitting around making macrame or something & Billy (who was straightedge) had all these troubles he was telling to me, and by the end of the night I was making him some Chef Boyardee in his filthy apartment and listening to scratchy records of nature sounds and telling him he would be all right. Somehow I ended up giving him a brief and unspectacular pole-smoking; afterwards we watched cartoons and played Spin-the-Bottle with just the two of us and then played Boggle. The next day he had breakfast with everyone we knew and referred to me as a "no-account chickenhead" & made various references to my promiscuity. Therefore I launched an elaborate, eight-day plan to convince him that I had turned into a chicken. Several of my girlfriends got involved & made up old wives' tales about girls turning into chickens after unreciprocated oral sex or something ridiculous like that, and I started letting little feathers fall out of my sleeves and from under the hem of my skirt, and started eating plates of millet in a peckish way in public, and bleached my hair platinum-white and got a feathery haircut, and then disappeared for three days, at the end of which we released a white chicken wearing a little cloche hat into Billy's apartment, and the poor kid was so haunted by remorse (because it really was a tender sweet evening for which he was boundlessly grateful) & by his bipolar disorder that he really snapped, and wept, and screamed, and was hospitalized. But his band's album sold pretty well for a while afterwards.
The weather has been so incredibly gorgeous and terrible with its gorgeousness. I went once again to my park with its cougars & flowering trees on Monday, and I'd just turn a corner & get hit with a wall of scent, or little vapors of fragrance would slip carelessly into my nostrils, and then the streets of my neighborhood were warm and steaming with people & food & hope and this sudden profusion of leaves, and goddamnit I said, goddamn the sex and the privateers and the alien races, because I want to be out in this very evanescent world. God.
Today I was forced to go to my friend Polly's new apartment in a beautiful chicly bohemian neighborhood & I coud have just died of jealousy. Oh green snake in my entrails, I said, calm down and let me eat this pad thai & talk about the future on a carpet. This other friend of ours was there & all she wanted to talk about was money, and how she wants to sleep with this guy who won't let her kiss him.
Other news: I had some friends over last night to make exquisite corpses & one of them (friends, not corpses) turns out to have dated that guy who said I have regular features, which I thought was delightful. She, too, had regular features. We want to play tricks on him but I don't know if I play tricks anymore, not since I convinced poor Lucid Billy from that ska band that I had truly turned into a chicken from giving him oral pleasure. O the poor kid, he is entirely in an institution right now.
And finally: I will steal a page from Laura Redcloud's e-book & say: I would love to get comments if you give 'em. All this sitting-hunched-up-in-my-apartment-typing-erotic-fiction-into-the-wee-hours-and-not-getting-drunk-with-anyone-and-missing-cherry-blossom-festivals is very bad for morale. I'm not usually someone who needs to feel loved, but.