Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not Nirvana--A Christmas Story from Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction)

 Thought you might enjoy a Christmas story from Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) to get you into the holiday spirit...some kind of spirit anyway.

 Happy Holidays!



                                                      Not Nirvana  

            “I see the world in Technicolor. Your world is black and white.”
            The last words he said to me.
            I toss my black velvet dress onto the bed, the dress I won’t be wearing to the Davis-Harrison’s Christmas party.
Who needs champagne and caviar, when you can have tomato soup and a Velveeta sandwich?
            Roxy blinks her headlight eyes, meows. She leaps onto the bed, circles my dress.
            “That dress cost me a paycheck.”
            She settles in, wraps her tail over her nose.
            I stare at the telephone.
            Snowflakes hurl themselves against the window, committing suicide. The rest of them are having a party, getting comfortable out on my driveway. Who cares if I can’t get out tomorrow? I’m not going anywhere. Where is there to go in Colorado, anyway? If I were back in New York City I’d call a taxi, head downtown to somewhere fun.
            I kick my shoes, strappy with stiletto heels, into the closet. His empty hangers rattle.
            What if he called while I was showering?
What if the lines are down and he can’t reach me?
He might have deleted my numbers from his cell. Who memorizes numbers now?
 I lift the receiver, listen to the dial-tone, until a recording informs me, “Your call can’t be completed as...”
“Dialing is archaic—” I say to the recording.
“...Please check the number and—”
“No one dials these days!” It feels good to shout.
I click off. Check caller ID. My heart revs then sputters. My mother called. I punch in the voicemail code.
“That’s what we do these days, we punch.”
I listen to my mother’s voice, “Why don’t you return my calls? What’re you doing for the holidays?” I hit 7 to delete, and slam the receiver.
Roxy watches me through slits of eyes and yawns.
I’ll check my email, just in case. Haven’t for the last ten minutes. New mail. A coupon from The Body Shop. Oh, look at this—I’ve inherited a hundred thousand dollars from someone in Africa. And, boy-howdy, do I need penis enlargement.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Delete this year.
Where’s my cell? Must be in my purse. Lipstick, mascara, keys, Advil, gum, notes on scraps of paper. Here it is.
No messages.
I hurl the phone, and Roxy beelines for the closet.
If I stay here one more minute, I’ll go crazy.
            I throw on my jacket, head for the front door. Cold air blasts my face. Standing on the porch, I watch snow swirling, cars sliding, windshields slapping. There is no color in this world—except for tail-lights, red and bleary eyed, destined for the Davis-Harrison’s. And the neighbor’s Christmas lights.   
I tell myself exercise is beneficial, helps holiday depression. Lowering my head, I trudge along the icy sidewalk. One block. Two blocks. Three. The wind picks up and slaps my face. I’m breathing icicles, but the snow has stopped.
Through the clouds, I see a patch of stars. I turn in a circle, and try to practice gratitude: I’m thankful that he’s gone, thankful that I’m all alone for Christmas, thankful I won’t be gaining weight tonight at the Davis-Harrison’s. I’m so thankful, I’m crying. Suddenly, I’m skating, sliding. Sneakers have no traction on ice. I’m falling through the Milky Way, and when I land galaxies explode. I lie on the sidewalk, staring at stars.
“Anybody out there?”
If anybody’s watching from a distant planet a hundred thousand light-years away I’m living in their future. For them, my life won’t occur for a hundred thousand years. This is a great remedy for middle-age. Should I consider dating men from other planets? Is that what John Gray meant about Martians and Venusians?
I feel the pull of gravity. Damp seeps through my sweats. Tears are pooling in my eyes. Have I twisted my ankle? I get up, carefully. My ankle holds, and I keep walking.
Snow begins to fall again.
I’m traveling through a bardo, the place where souls hang out between lives. I’m waiting for a new assignment. It’s like I’m flying in a plane, headed for a destination, but I don’t know where I’m going, and the landscape keeps changing. Maybe we’re all in a bardo and don’t know it. Maybe the universe is one big bardo open house. Everyone’s invited—the dead, the living, the becoming. We’re all in transit all the time.  Coming, going, living, dying—what if I get lost? What if I take a wrong turn land on another planet in a galaxy a hundred thousand light-years away? What will happen to my karma? Can I make a transfer? Do I have a karmic debit card? And, if I do, who keeps track of it?
This junk runs through my head all day. All night. I’m sunk in this black-hole. I’ve been trying to get out, trying to think positive. I’ve been listening to meditation tapes by Pema Chodron. Her name sounds Indian, but I think she’s from New York or maybe Berkeley. Pema says Bodhichitta, an awakened heart, is achieved through suffering. She says Bodhichitta feels a lot like unrequited love—longing without resolution.
I must be half-way there.
My eyes are tearing up again. Squinting at a blur of lights, I realize I’ve arrived at the Davis-Harrison’s. Didn’t know I was going. Strings of neon icicles drip from the eaves of their stately Victorian, flashing like they’d got their wires crossed. Rudolf and his gang race across the lawn past a blow-up dough-boy impersonating Frosty.
This is not Nirvana. Looks more like Vegas.
A Beemer pulls into the driveway. The door swings open and high-heels click against the heated asphalt. A body follows, slender and elegant, crowned by a halo of curls.
I regret that third scoop of Moose-track ice-cream I had earlier.
Pema Chrodron talks about demons. There must be one around because I hear it use my voice to shout, “Regina!”
            Shielding her eyes from the barrage of lights, her hand sheathed in Italian leather, Regina turns and squints at me. “Who is that?”
            “Me. Your good friend, remember?”
            She steps toward me then stops. “What are you doing?”
            “I’m practicing gratitude. I’m grateful you’re such a bitch, because you’re helping achieve Bodhichitta.”
            “What?” Regina wobbles on her heels. Maybe I should show compassion, but I’d like to see her slip.
            “You’re perfect for each other. He’s a jerk, and you’re a slut.”
“It’s over,” she says.
            “You dumped him?”
            “He dumped me.”
This news cheers me, even if I drop a notch from achieving Bodhichitta.
Through the frosted windows of the house, I see a collage of color. I can taste the salt of caviar, feel champagne bubbles bursting on my tongue. Regina, the ice queen, is turning white with snow. She shivers in her cocktail dress, wraps her coat tighter.
            “Face it,” she says, “you didn’t make him happy.”
            “Guess you didn’t either.”
            Regina glances toward the doorway, done-up with a wreath and holly. “Are you coming to the party?”
            “Not invited.”  
            “Well—” Regina starts up the steps, the heels of her fuck-me pumps leaving stab wounds in the snow. She turns back to say, “Happy Holidays.”
“Happy-frigging-holidays yourself!” the demon yells.
Regina’s finger, clothed in dead Italian cow, is poised to ring the doorbell.
I charge after her, sneakers slipping on the steps, and grab a fist of curls.
“Let go, you crazy basket-case!” She kicks me, but I hold on, drag her, bouncing down the steps, onto the lawn. Her heels sink in the snow. She frees a foot and kicks again.
Ignoring the pain I tackle her and we crash into Frosty. We wrestle, tearing at each others clothes. I grab hold of a spaghetti strap and hear it rip, exposing Regina’s tit. She punches wildly with one fist, trying to hold up her dress. I yank the other strap. We bounce off the plastic snowman, Regina’s boobs jiggling like a Vegas dancer. Frosty teeters, hits the ground, and bounces back into us. I lunge at Regina. She stumbles, tries to gain her balance, and falls on top of Frosty. I charge both of them, and the three of us go down. I hear a whoosh of air. Regina’s heel has punctured Frosty. I stagger to my feet, hoping to escape before the Davis-Harrisons notice that we’ve murdered their dough-man, but Regina grabs hold of my leg, manicured claws digging through my sweats. I try to shake her off and can’t. She’s sprawled across the fast deflating snowman, cocktail dress around her waist, yelling obscenities.
I can’t help laughing.
“What’s so funny, psycho?”
“Poor Frosty.” Regina’s nails dig deeper, but I’m laughing so hard I’m shaking her. “Poor, poor, Frosty,” I say, tears running down my face, “he’ll never get it up again.”
A smile plays on Regina’s mouth. “Maybe if there’s two of us.”
“In his dreams.”
We crack up.
She tugs my leg, and I collapse on top of her.
“You look as bad as I feel,” I say.
“You look worse.”
“He really dumped you?”
“He did, the swine.”
We turn on Frosty, laughing, crying, punching the air out of him until the dough-boy is a wad of mud and plastic. More guests arrive, but we keep slugging, not just Frosty, but each other.
“Ladies! Ladies! What are you doing?”
It’s him. He’s coming toward us, offering his hand.
“Screw you,” Regina and I shout in unison.
            Music bursts into the night as the front door swings opens. The party pours out to the lawn. I stand up, look him in the eyes, and run.
It’s snowing. So hard I can barely see. My sneakers crunch and slide. I veer into the street. An SUV turns the corner, swerves to miss me. Too bad. That would have solved everything.
The driver rolls down his window, yells, “Get on the sidewalk.”
I yell back, “Why can’t you be drunk?”
I run toward the river, suck in icy air. It set my lungs on fire, and I’m sweating, but I feel frozen. Numb. The riverbank is steep and slippery. When I reach the water, my sneakers are soaked. If I could transport myself, make it through this bardo and cross the river Styx, my world might come to life in Technicolor. Instead, it fades to black.
I watch snowflakes as they hit the rush of water. Sink to my knees, breathing hard, forcing air through my throat and deep into my abdomen. Memories flood through me, things we did, things we said.
I cry and cry and cry. After a while, I stop.
My sweats are caked with ice, but I don’t feel cold. I feel a calm emptiness. 
I start walking.
Cars whisper as they pass, motors muffled by the snow. I turn on to my street, my porch light shining, white and solitary. When I reach the door, I see Roxy sitting in the window, waiting.
The house is warm. I pull off my soggy sneakers and fling myself onto the couch. Roxy hops on to my chest, settles on the ache. I stare through the window at the frozen world, take a breath and let it go. I’m so tired of fighting, so tired.
Roxy meows. And, finally, I understand what she is saying. For days now, she’s been trying to get through to me.
“Thanks, Roxy. I get it.”
I stretch, arching my back.
Nothing matters. Not my ex, not Regina, not the Davis-Harrison’s party. The bardo fog has lifted. It’s like I’m in a plane, descending through clouds, and suddenly I see the landscape.
I meow at Roxy, she meows back.
All my problems will be solved, in my next life, when I come back as a cat.


Karen Cantwell said...

This was FANTASTIC reading, Suzanne! Loved it. Makes me want to get to that book even faster . . .

D.B. Henson said...

Great story, Suzanne! I just bought the book.

Merry Christmas!

Suzanne Tyrpak said...

Thank you Karen and D.B.

Merry Christmas!