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

Cocktail Hour
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. :)


Charles Gramlich said...

Everyone has that room. Yes, I think that's right. Pretty wise I'd say.

Scott said...


Another great installment. I hope you are doing well and recovering quickly. Take care of yourself, and get well soon!

Oh, another great pic,too! :)

Have a good weekend!

chris said...

I can now understand as you stated in the begining of this,Fact verses Fiction,when writing. You have a way with shining a light on a crappy subject in how you write.

I am as well as you are, healing now. Had my little out paitent surgery yesterday on the nose. The nose is healing and I did not wake up,but what the hell did they do beat me for being tattooed. All of the drugs went to my calfs,back and neck. Or I could be getting older but I will never admit it. I am Sending you an email on a subject we talked about a while back. I hope you endured Christmas while healing and still had a good one.

the walking man said...

When the inheritance of justice hits...what then? Sometimes karmic vengeance is just...not enough.

Anonymous said...

RIP Harold Pinter, even though I've never read you. I have read that you were a disciple of Samuel Beckett, not a bad writer to be a disciple of.--Hank Ibsen

jodi said...

Hi Honey, I learned a new word today--penultimate, thanks! Would it be possible to put that gnarly guy in a room with all the gnarly guys and mentally brick them in where they could never harm you again??

laughingwolf said...

well said, michelle :)

Jason said...

Glad to have you back and blogging again Michelle. Heal fast and well.

Great post and story. You've got amazing writing sucker punch that makes me scream,"That is fucked up!" whenever you use it.

Amber said...

Hey Lady! Not sure if you remember me from some of your writing classes, but I remember you!! Heh :)

I finally decided to (try to) start writing in my blog and I came across yours!

Great stuff, as always!

Hope you're well!!

~Amber Choike

Heff said...

That's o.k. I put enough thought into your photos for both of us, LOL !

sexy said...


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