Saturday, December 27, 2008
Crying Ruins Your Make-Up
Here's the penultimate excerpt! Thanks for reading!
I saw two movies at the theater with my rapist: Fatal Attraction and
The Accused. What can I say? In a small town with only one screen,
you have to see whatever is playing. You don’t get a choice.
A record played during the attack, my favorite Paul Simon record,
One Trick Pony. I put it on after work while he hid in the house,
unbeknownst to me. I still love the music. The record playing long
after he left as I tried to reconstruct myself. The duct tape had left a
large angry red mark around my mouth. My parents would be home
soon! In those days, I did not wear makeup and neither did my
mother. I searched the house for something and found some of her
under-eye concealer. The thick, pasty kind in a color that used to be
described as nude. I lifted the wand out of its holder and started to
work. Since I had such a dark tan, I looked a little white around the
gills. It was late in the evening, Paul sang, and all the girls sat around the stoops. I did not cry. Everyone knows crying ruins your makeup.
The last time I saw him, I was in the parking lot of Voertman’s, a
bookstore near the college we had both attended. My ex-husband
had worked there for a time, as had another boyfriend who hanged
himself that year. The owner had been a closeted gay man who had
a penchant for hiring beautiful boys to work in the store. My rapist
looked scrawny and pale in the harsh Texas light. He was not a
beautiful boy; he was a piece of shit, an early love, my nemesis, the
reason I couldn’t sleep at night for years. The last present he ever
gave me I still had—a book of Bob Dylan’s song lyrics. We always
did feel the same, we just saw it from a different point of view... In a few months, I’d be gone, far from Texas, far from him. But I didn’t care about him and hadn’t for years. The bigger question was would I be able to get away from myself? I began to understand how the really scary movies always implanted the terrible thing inside you. So how are you? he asked. I’m moving to Detroit, I said. We looked at each other for a long time, all the years and friends between us, before I walked to my car. Hey, Michelle, he yelled out. Be careful. That’s a dangerous city.
My mother wasn’t big on children’s books. Read what’s here, she’d
say. Or nothing. She did enjoy telling one fairy tale, though, the story
of Bluebeard and his seven wives that he murders. The tale begins
with his room full of dead wives, a new wife who has a key. She
cannot contain her curiosity so he must kill her. In my mother’s
version, her brothers do not come to save her. Everyone has that
room, my mother told me. Only a fool would look into it. Nobody can
save you once something happens. These were the years of Ted Bundy, and I looked like all his victims—pale skin, black straight hair. Later I realized that Bundy had worked at a rape crisis center. The things you learn!
My mother sometimes picked up hitchhikers. One time she picked
up a man. He wore a black trench coat and hobbled around on
crutches. When he got into the car, she realized he wasn’t really
hurt. Nothing was wrong with him, she said. Nothing happened to her, but she never picked up anyone again. Sometimes he rides with me, his coat in a ball in the back seat.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"One's life has many compartments." Harold Pinter
Drinking music suggestion: Straight To Hell Hank Williams III (Just as good as his grandfather -- in this case, the apple did not fall far from the tree and I am glad.)
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday! Hey Heff, I don't put much thought into the pictures -- it's just fun for me, and I'm glad you enjoy them. I'm also enjoying reading Playboy during my recovery -- for the articles of course. :)