It is as if I awoke from a truly miserable sleep – a mythic, unnatural sleep from which I awakened to find the world a miserable place, largely unchanged ... except in all the worst ways – except in the sense that my father is seemingly many years older, my house deteriorating as it never had before – as Beauty’s palace faded and disappeared beneath thorny vines, during her long years’ sleep.
There are no thorny vines, though the Old Black Man put chicken wire up on the front porch, wrapping bars and pass-throughs so that cats could not get in. My father hates cats. The chicken wire – rough and thin, rusted in places – snags my sweaters and tears at my shirts. It pokes out menacingly when cats, or those foolish enough to visit, attempt to come in ... and, given my very special allergy to Tetanus, threatens to kill me at every twist and turn.
I turn often, or am I twisting? I get myself out and about as often as I can, in the Old Black Man’s carriage – with the peeling paint and persistent, American-made whine. I get out often, and yet I run the risk of running into the wicked witches whetting whistles at all the usual haunts. Because I cannot seem to think of new places to go. Nor are there any.
the Frenemy and I wound up at a whistle-stop just the other day. I wanted to see if I could pull off ‘just one drink,’ and that Fat Mattress, largely reformed from her back-alley ways and attempting (shacking-up) bliss – give or take the restraining orders, wanted to sip, see and be seen. By way of the law of averages, of course we ran into someone he slept with ... but he wasn’t the only one.
Though I have neither been as carefree nor as energetic as the Frenemy, I have my share of former flings – a few of whom were fly-by-nights, and a few others who lingered – whether I wished them to do so – in my heart, or on my avocado green antique couch longer than they should have. And so it was that I was in mid-margarita when in walked the Hooker on my Couch, and his sugar daddy du jour. That last time I saw the Hooker, he was selling drugs and acting as a part-time hit-man for a heretofore unnamed mafia entity, who happen to think I ratted them out before absconding to the photo-shoot with Lindsay Lohan. He had the grace not to kill me, and he was still feeling gracious – apparently – when I ran into him the other day. He and his sugar daddy waved at me across the bar. We raised our glasses in a universal gesture of acknowledgement, and so that we could see that there were no weapons in anyone’s hands.
In accordance with the general rule of exes and bar etiquette (‘I was here first; you stay for one drink ... and then promptly leave and forget you ever saw me ...’), the Hooker on my Couch and friend beat a hasty retreat to the next new drug deal, and I kept looking for the bottom of my too-sweet margarita. So, it was only happenstance – and the Frenemy trying to convince me he was happy with his bed-wetting, bi-polar, bisexual beau by telling yet another ‘isn’t it cute how he ...’ story – that had me looking up when Mount Gay walked in.
I only managed one boyfriend in my 30 years. Some would see this as a failure. Some would see it an accident of fate. I tend to see it as a divine joke that my prince – far from charming – and I shared a mutual fondness for Ms. Lohan, and little else. My ex was in the closet, a rather impressive feat given that he is nearly 7’ tall, and his affection for me was based on a vague desire to recapture his long lost lust for the fat black man who molested him when he was 15. I nearly choked on my drink, but managed nonetheless to put on my best fairy-tale smile. We were civil, shared a lingering hug, adhered to the aforementioned etiquette – and both of us left that whistle-stop after the one drink and the obligatory glances from across a rather dead bar.
I may have been asleep for nearly a year, and things may have gone from mundane and mediocre to miserable and macabre, but my ex smelled like sex walking and got a promotion. He has a new car and a teenager. Talk about thorns.
the Frenemy says it’s normal that I wanted to know more. But then the Frenemy also thinks it perfectly normal to go through his beau’s phone and follow his tricks home. So, I take his concept of normal with a grain of salt, and yet I went to the next whistle-stop, where I knew Mount Gay would be – ostensibly to carry on a conversation. Mount Gay was moving on ... right there in public, with a man old enough to be my father, and there went my 'just one drink’ idea.
The overall evening was a blur – not because I was so drunk, but because it was like so many other evenings in the same spots. There are plans to revamp the enchanted forest that is the gayborhood, plans that include a wine bar, another dance club, and a wishing well where old queens will go to pretend they’re young princesses ... but Pegasus redux hasn’t happened yet, and that night was no different. I ran into a former customer who, on occasion, also lingered on my couch.
While I was dreaming, rumors mounted that I was dead; I may have mentioned this before, but the more I learn about my demise, the more intrigued I tend to be. I suppose death does that to people – well, assuming they’re not actually dead. A past paramour informed me that I was dead ... said that he’d heard from the Mad Man and the Crazy Russian that I died – in prison. Suicide. There was no word on exactly how – though I personally preferred the hanging theory, which – of course – indicated that I was ‘hung.’
But my former fling, who would surely agree that I was hung ... told me his side of the story, or what he heard. It seems I did not die in prison, but in a local crack den. Someone said he was sure I was dead, because he saw my body being carried out of said den. Someone else was equally certain, as he attended my funeral. I must find this yellow journalist and ask for pictures.
My sleep was miserable and my death merely a dramatic rumor; nonetheless, the world – though changed – is not all bad. Dragons have been slain, at least two or three witches are dead, and the Old Black Man went to a dance / fish fry this enchanted evening – leaving me to worry over both his sex life and his cholesterol, but giving me a damned good reason to smile.
And be jealous. I have not been to a ball in a month of Sundays, and while I was awakened by a prince – not all princes are charming. This one is – but his was a long-distance kiss, and in this modern kingdom, romance can blossom via Gmail – but doesn’t ‘happily ever after’ still require at least one slow dance, cheek-to-cheek?