Friday, September 26, 2014

a man

he said, 'in this age of unbearable 'NOW', it's up to me to cultivate patience.' he started to pour me a drink and I put my hand up and shook my head to indicate 'no'. he smiled and ignored my gestures as he dropped crystal clear cubes of ice into two glasses. i stopped my protest and decided to simply let him finish and leave the liquid untouched while we conversed. he mixed the drinks with the fluidity and slow reverence of someone performing a japanese tea ceremony. i began to relax as i observed the ritual. he held a glass in each hand as he rolled the ice around inside. he emptied the glasses of the imperceptibly melted cubes and one drop of water from each glass followed them into the sink. he then picked up silver tongs and gently placed one perfect cube into each glass and then placed the glasses onto the granite bar top without a sound. i looked through the leaded crystal tumblers and ice into the warm light shining from behind them. the light fragmented in a beautiful way and it made me smile. he caught my smile and returned it. i found myself exhaling and only then realized that i had been quite tense. i shook my head very slightly and smirked at the recognition of it. he reached for a very revered brown liquor that  (to my surprise...) was familiar to me and poured a perfect shot in a fine, unbroken strand over each cube. he then added several other ingredients and gave the contents of each glass a swirl with a glass rod before he walked back over to me, slid into the seat next to mine, carefully placed one drink in front of me and held up the other in anticipation of a salute. i tilted my head in thought, reflected for a moment and then picked up my drink and touched the rim of my glass to his. the sound was a small, bright bell. we both smiled and took a sip at the same time. it was warm, hot and then invisible as it traveled down my throat into my body and radiated through me. we looked at each other and grinned.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

kardashians



i was at a party at the kardashian's beach house. there was no ocean view from any vantage point and the mansion itself was 'shabby chic' to the point of crumbling. everything was whitewash over peeling paint and even the banisters were loose. i'd arrived mostly on time since it was a late lunch indoor/outdoor gathering but EVERYONE else was late which immediately made it excruciating since i had to interface one on one with each kardashian. i knew from previous experience that it would be nothing but painfully vapid chatter, artificially cheery posturing to the point of nausea and a display of excessive consumerism that would ultimately leave me with a hopelessness for the human race. i plastered my impenetrable work face on and moved among them like a wolf in sheep's clothing. after an hour or so the other guests started to arrive. i thought it would bring me relief, but it was only wave after wave of expensively dressed sycophants. at that point i knew i couldn't even have a glass of wine because i had to start planning my escape. the house began to fill. everyone was loud- not from unbridled joy, but from trying to grab attention. i felt my brain sliding out of my ears. i started to migrate room to room with my fake smile and untouched wine glass so people would see me and think that i was still there as i sped away down the hill. i finally made my way full circle and wound up in khloe's room. she was drunk and kept putting her face too close to mine as she was talking. i examined her veneers as she spoke to me and marveled at how poorly they were done. i could also see the faint scars of her nostril reduction and the mask-like effect of the juvederm pumped into her lips and cheeks. she looked like a young monster to me. when she turned her attention to someone else for a moment, i put down my wine glass and started down the steps. everyone gasped and it stopped me in my tracks. i looked down and the stairs just stopped with a 20 foot drop to a deck below. khloe said, 'oh no! you almost died! use the other stairs!'. i held tightly to the rickety railing, carefully turned around and made my way back up. word of my near death spread through the house like wild fire. soon i found myself in the out-dated media room smashed onto the couch with bruce and several other people. he was speaking with a serious quality to his voice but made no mention of blocking off the stairway so someone else didn't actually accidentally die. simon kept putting his arm around me and i kept sliding out of it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the church


the water was rising but they would not move into the church because it was 'holy'. i tried to convince them that no deity lived in the long-abandoned hilltop stone building, but they would not be convinced. i hired locals from another village to help me 'de-church' the place. we ripped out the pews, used some of them as seating and turned the rest into raw stock to create walls and bunk-beds. i somehow wound up with white and orange paint which i applied in large color blocks. when i was finished it not only looked like a cheery scandinavian preschool but was big enough to safely and comfortably accommodate all. i brought the villagers up the to the sturdy stone building on the hilltop but they would not even step inside the door. they clicked their tongues in disapproval, crossed themselves and backed away with mumbled prayers falling from their lips. they turned as a body away from the church and snaked down the muddy path toward their ramshackle hovels. i felt so furious at their ignorance but the chattering teeth and weak cries of the children echoed in my ears. i bought up every gypsy wagon within a hundred miles so they could at least move from the rising waters. one by one, we filled the caravans with their shabby belongings, exhausted children and enough food for at least a week. i made simple maps that described a route to safety and handed them out to one and all. one by one the caravans followed each other into the rising waters as they moved along the paths they had always moved along. one by one the caravans lost their footing, floated for a short while and then tipped over into the icy rushing water.

i did not realize for many minutes that i was crying.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

not trans


i was born into a community of transgendered people. no one identified according to genitalia and in fact it was expected that at some point shortly after puberty each individual would 'discover' their 'true' gender after some sort of vision quest. i knew i didn't fit in because from my earliest memory i had no desire to be other than what i was, but my friends and my family were lovely and so entrenched in the colorful and joyful rituals attached to 'coming out' that i simply fell silent on the issue and let them assume i was nothing more than a late bloomer. as my teen years passed i would occasionally feel my heart and stomach flutter when i met a special boy only to have that flutter drop into a dull thud once he transitioned. i knew without a doubt that i was 'straight' and there was nothing i could do to change it.

i found myself being ushered into a marriage. my bride/groom was a perfectly lovely person but i felt absolutely nothing for him/her. i felt worried that i would ruin the hopes and dreams of the person i was betrothed to once it was known that i was not transgendered and so i began to give voice to the fact that i did not want to be married. everyone kept assuring me that it was just nerves and as soon as i received my 'special package' all would be as it should. finally the wedding day arrived and that morning with great ceremony and smiles all around i was handed 'the package'. as i looked at the bundle in my hands i thought, 'this is it- here is the thing that will put my questions to rest and let me finally look at the world the way everyone else does'. i untied the cord, unfolded the tissue paper and saw in my hand a vaguely phallic hand sewn leather pouch. i opened the flap and found it contained nothing more than a 'new age' potpourri of sage, rosemary, some glass beads and a couple of quartz crystals. i closed my eyes, placed the pouch on the table and said, 'i am so sorry, this is not who i am or what i want.' everyone began to cry. i was filled with sadness and simultaneously flooded with relief. i walked out of the room and into a world where i was a stranger. i felt an unfamiliar comfort.

Monday, September 1, 2014

luellyn

 
the costume house was huge and dark. there were 7 floors, i needed something from each one and the freight elevator was wheezing, ancient and seemed to be moving in actual slow motion. i could feel my body flooding with stress hormones as i checked my phone for the time- as usual there was not enough to do what had to be done. i stood still. watched the numbered floor indicators light up lazily one after the other and organized my mind while i made a conscious effort to unclench my jaw. to my left there were period stockings hanging in a dense tangle at eye level. i turned my eyes up to check the crawling numbers above the elevator and then immediately back at the stockings. recognition had pinged in my brain and i realized the writing pinned to some of the stockings was my own. how could that be? i was in texas in a house i had never visited, right? i shoved my arm into the curled vines of dead silk and grabbed several tags pulling them close so i could read them in the dim light. yes, yes and yes...all my writing. my head started to spin. where was i again? texas, yes. so how in the world- just then a voice behind me said, 'it is your writing, shandra.' i jerked my head toward the voice and saw luellyn staring at me with the same crazy glen close fatal attraction expression that had kept me away from her for years and years. suddenly i felt trapped. the giant warehouse felt like the inside of an iron maiden. i felt the muscles in my jaw snap back into bands of steel. i glued my eyes to the amber lights above the freight elevator and wondered if i would ever feel relaxed and human again.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

the endless struggle

she seemed to know me and it was awkward because i did not recognize her at all. she began to reference past projects and people that were familiar to me but i could not fit her face into any of them. when i stepped into the elevator she followed me and kept talking. she peppered me with updates and information and seemed to know that i had been working on location. i examined her features and mannerisms as she spoke and tried to extract any vague recollection but it was futile. someone passed in the hall and even said her name as she stepped into the elevator behind me but it only sounded like a dull thud to my ears. i suddenly realized that all her chatter had distracted me from the simple task of remembering my floor and i stepped off with her to get my bearings again. i then found myself being ushered through her project. room after room packed full of the best and the brightest all brainstorming each facet of the job. i recognized almost everyone and realized the magnitude and intensity of the project was simply more than i wanted to take on. she kept saying, 'so, when are you coming on board?' i told her i hadn't wrapped out yet and most probably needed a breather before i dove into something so intense.

i finally shook her and as i made my way to my room i found myself in a boxing match between my need for immediate sleep and what it would mean in the long term to turn away this level of work.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

the spy

she looked like louise brooks, wore a black and white toile cheongsam made of linen, strappy pumps from the 20's and smoked an unfiltered cigarette from a cocktail length ivory holder. she was taller than most of the men in the room and stood alone near the champagne glass pyramid. her reputation was that of an outspoken atheist and there were whispers that she was a spy.

i could tell she was memorizing faces and who spoke with who. i wondered who she worked for and if my face was on her radar.