Friday, August 10, 2007

Damaged, As Is

Dear readers, I'm going to post the next installment of Something To Do In Bed for the next few days. Thanks so much for reading!

Damaged, As Is

The ecstasy Mark gives me makes me want to touch everything, a reaction that he predicted and then vomit, which he had not. For years, people had given me downers, the type of drugs that allowed your inner bodyguard to handle the world, a way of not engaging, Buddhism in a small water-soluble dose. Mark and I have been seeing each other for almost two months and while he is comfort, the sex has become routine, all those ways in which we disappoint each other constantly in bed with us. I lean over the toilet and feel everything come right up. Our relationship, such as it is, seems unfortunate.

So there’s the story that probably isn’t going to have a happy ending, although I imagine we’ll keep it going through the holidays, if only to avoid the misery of having to break things off in the midst of all that relentless cheer. Despite all the hassle, I love Christmas, with its corny red and green. The only part I dread is that Josh and I will have to endure our parents for a few days, and I’ll be forced to call upon Roman again for more pills to get me through those predictably long hours and to take the edge off their reactions to Josh’s facial mutilation, his most dramatic action to date. That is their real Christmas present, although I will do what I always do -- a bottle of perfume for my mother (one of those heavy eighties scents she wore when I was a child) and a gift certificate to Borders for my father. I will tell him -- this way, you can get what you want. Now that he is an old man, it doesn’t sound quite as ominous when he says, getting exactly what you want, now that’s the best kind of present a father could ask for.

Josh comes home from work before I do, the day at Planned Parenthood stretching well into the evening, even though we stopped letting people sign the list at four. Two people quit this week, most importantly, Rebea, an aspiring voodoo priestess who has saved up enough money to move to New Orleans to become an official religious, the training taking almost an entire a year. On her last day, Rebea came to work dressed in a blindingly white cotton dress and white turban, an outfit way too thin for the bitter Detroit cold. She smoked cigars at her going away party, a half-hour affair tucked in between lunch and our weekly staff meeting. We drank Vernors out of paper cups that someone had decorated with a magic marker and a cake from Farmer Jack’s with thick white frosting that said, "We’ll Miss You, Rebae," the last two letters transposed, proving that even in fifteen years, nobody has to learn to spell your name right.

People toasted her with our thin cups and Rebea said, To Oshun, may she guide me on my journey. Nobody knew who the fuck Oshun was except me because they sell candles for receiving her favor at Knight Light. Oshun is the voodoo goddess of love and her color is bright yellow. Rebea lit another cigar and even though we aren’t supposed to smoke in the break room anymore, nobody said anything. Rebea has worked here as a nurse for almost fifteen years, the one who gets called in the room when the doctor was examining someone because there always has to be a witness to make sure nothing untoward happens. My mother was a nurse for thirty years, and I’m sure she had to do the same thing many times. Too bad she never thought to bring her work home.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"I am against nature. I don't dig nature at all. I think nature is very unnatural. I think the truly natural things are dreams, which nature can't touch with decay." Bob Dylan

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music selection: Tomorrow's Sounds Today Dwight Yoakam

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!


eric313 said...

Great reading. Have a wild summer vacation.

Paul said...


the walking man said...

In my humble opinion the last line about her mother not bringing her work home sums up the underlying dysfunction of the lives of the kids, now adults.

Nurses trained to be observant and at least put on a show of caring, which so far in the tale never once has come out. Only how much the parents and the children are happy not to see each other.

I think it makes for a very compelling underlay to the the story as it moves along Michelle.