The woman makes her lover scrambled eggs with garlic and mushrooms. The lover, of medium height and well-defined muscles, tan with light brown hair, eats them while she reads the paper. The lover kisses the woman and promises to call her later. Don’t forget to lock the door on the way out, the lover says.
The woman is alone in her lover’s apartment. The smell of garlic is in the kitchen. The smell of sex is in the bedroom. The woman looks through the lover’s mail to see where the lover spends her money, what she likes to read and who she wants to save. The woman turns on her lover’s computer to see what programs she uses to entertain herself, to make her life easier, to keep things private. The woman, a generous three inches shorter than the lover, opens her closet and looks at the shoes she wears, feels her shirts, peers into the boxes above.
On her third Pernod, she asked me to play something slow and cheerful. With her goblet in hand, her dancing changed from comical to fluid. She skimmed her legs across the stage rhythmically, her left arm snaked up above her head and her hips swayed from side to side. She glided on her tiptoes with her eyes closed. Madame Villion and I watched her goblet, which she held up like a priest offering a chalice, looking for the opal waves to splash onto the stage. She sipped and floated with a dreamy smile that cried of sweetness. When she turned, the stage lights reflected off the rivulet of wetness from her eyes. But a tear never fell, and a drop never spilled.
The saloon was full now and the men ceased hollering and wassailing. Their eyes followed Marilee dutifully, respectful of the graceful tragedy still alive on the stage before them. I saw her for what she was--a boneless girl falling from above and bouncing off all the pain she crashed into on the way down, never breaking. She had landed at Le Chou, not quite the bottom.
How do you know when enough is enough?
Rarely have I taken the time to deeply ponder this question. In the past, I operated based on the fact that it was never enough. Some call this addiction. Not me. I call it the mistress I can’t give up, the reason to ignore the pains that call out from almost every crevice in my body each morning, the holy goddamn grail of redemption. I call it football because that’s what it is.
But now, as I stand here on the 37-yard line in front of 65,000 Super Bowl hungry fans, and just before I launch one downfield for a score, the score, I think I have definitely had enough. I have said this before, I know. Some may even doubt the authenticity of this statement. But believe me, after I win this game, I will gladly tell anyone who will listen that Brett Favre has finally had enough.
I am a voyeur. I observe the sordid for my own selfish means. I see the pain in others pulsing beneath their everyday movements. I see it when they tip their glasses back, full of liquor, and let it course down their throats. I see it in their raucous, hollow laughter. I see it when they walk down the street and catch their own reflections in a store window. I steal their pain to create a story and then I use it to make myself cry for money. Truth is, all the stories are real, even if I make them up. And the truth is, nobody wants to feel pain but nobody will let go of it. So I feel it for them.
But that is what I am, a Heart.
I started to cry at an early age for money because my parents said I had a talent for it. From ten at night until two in the morning, I sat on a glossy, white, cylindrical, Formica platform stationed at the end of the bar and I cried the gamut of sadness from misty simpering to full throttle sobbing. Seated on my stool, I was visible to everyone. The Brains lined up below me and asked me to cry about hurtful things that happened to them. They paid me to cry for them because they could not, did not want to cry. Not only did it embarrass them because they weren’t able to, theirs was the unbearable pain that began with hand tremors and ended with blinding migraines.