…don’t even ask me if I wanna see you tonight. I just get that text that says you’re coming. What, is it because you’re 27 and gorgeous you think I’ll drop my panties whenever you get here. Honey, I stopped wearing panties a decade ago. Had you asked if I wanna see you, I’d have said no. I’d have said “I’m bloated & I need my nails done”, but you didn’t ask. You don’t ask.
So I got dressed, and then I got the text saying you can’t make it. You rascal you. Obviously I’m not at the top of your to-do list, & someone better came along. But I’m not going to take the makeup off just because you don’t wanna see it…took over an hour (and a double espresso) to get ready. So I’m going to have dinner & see what shenanigans I can get into.
You’re a good-looking man, Sonny…remind me of a young Chazz Palmintieri. Charismatic, too. Sitting across the table from me with those hazel eyes. Not brown, not green, but hazel. In your Nike shirt from Modell’s & your not new jeans, you command as much respect as some men put on a suit for.
And I won’t lie…I felt all kinds of electricity run through me when you touched my hand. When you said you’ve been sleeping on the subway, my first instinct was to say
Come to my place this afternoon, you can shower & I’ll feed you
And I wish you had kissed me on the mouth instead of on the cheek.
But those hazel eyes of yours aren’t clear…they’re glazed & red. That guy in the Mercedes with the tinted windows who picked you up from the coffee shop, he ain’t your nephew.
I wanna be a friend to you, & maybe more. But if you don’t clean up your act, it can’t happen.
“Every time you get your nails done,” she screamed, “every lunch with your friends, everything you put in your mouth, I’m paying for.”
“Send me a bill and I’ll reimburse you,” I told her.
“It’s not about the money. I don’t want the money. I WANT YOU TO APPRECIATE ME PROPERLY!!!”
“Should I kiss your feet while saying I’m lower than shit?”
“That would do for a start.”
the several thousand dollars I worked for that you unceremoniously took from the bank account (without telling me), the reason I can never again have a joint bank account ever again (because trust issues); yet another thing it’s hard to forgive you for, Mother, & another reason I can’t trust you any further than I can throw you (and sometimes I really wanna throw you). You helped yourself to that money because you didn’t approve of my spending habits. I was a woman of thirty-five years old at the time, and it was my own money, but you didn’t give a rip. Your friend the bank teller told you that because it was a joint account (something I’d agreed to years ago to shut you up) you had every right to that money. So you took it, but not to spend, no. To put I don’t fucking know where. To fucking show me who’s boss.
And it’s fine. Really. I don’t want the money back. I want you to keep it. I want you to leave it to one of your other daughters when you die, provided you leave a note explaining where it came from…so they know what you are as well as I do. I don’t want the money, Mother, I just want no more secrets.
Nearly twenty years ago (was it really that long) a college-aged me toured a Tuscan vineyard (owned by the Marquis d’Antinori) with a bunch of classmates as part of a study abroad program. They wore sneakers as we walked among the grapes & they thought me fucking ludacris when I took my sandals off & squelched my bare toes in the moist earth. “What are you doing” they wanted to know.
I would strip naked and lay down here if I could
I said, thinking who the hell are they to tell me how to be at one with nature. Of course I didn’t actually strip, not for those prudes (they wouldn’t have appreciated it) but on a nice day like today, I think I might like to go back to the vineyard and lay, and be laid, in the moist, rich, fertile soil.
“You’re cold,” my mother once said, “the way you just cut people out of your life as though they’re nothing.”
She was referring to the way I cut Vinnie out of my life. Truth be told, I had loved Vinnie, loved him a way I didn’t think I could ever love a man. I had wanted to be with him, lovers in the flesh. But he didn’t like me that way, he saw me as one of the guys (a guy with boobs). So he thought nothing of introducing me to his good buddies James, Anthony, & Pasquale. And because I wanted to show him that I wasn’t one of the guys, I fucked all of them.
James was an actual relationship, one that ended when I decided I was tired of him. Pasquale was…an incident of skanko-Roman wrestling, followed by me being mad he didn’t call the next day, and an incident of angry sex some months later. Anthony was…Anthony wanted a blowjob, I didn’t want to, he tried to forcibly push my head down there, and I bit him (yeah, there).
But I didn’t show Vinnie I wasn’t one of the guys like I wanted to. I showed him I was a slut (and a sloppy drunk), and, my grand plan having not worked, I cut him out of my life like none of it happened.
(seriously, it’s called lazy Sunday for a reason) BUT today I was showered, dressed, & out the door by 11:45 am. I walked 7 blocks to my local subway station, carrying four books, and took the train to Park Slope’s High Dive Bar (and no, no one there actually performed a high dive or a swan dive), and attended a book swap on the bar’s patio area.
It was magical. Beautiful day to be outside (even if the bar’s proprietor had a “no smoking” sign in the outdoor patio area. Lovely people there also attending the book swap, and they brought an interesting array of literary works. I brought four books I read for book club this past year, all books I’m rather happy to part with. I left with the find of the century, four volumes of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates (nobody else wanted them).
As we sat out there & discussed literature, politics (there’s a Bernie Sanders rally today), movies, & our lives, music wafted out from inside the bar. At one point I heard Ville Valo singing Summer Wine, and I said, “this place even plays good music”. I very quickly realized I was the only one who knows that song…no one else there had ever heard of Ville Valo (I blame the American MTV).
On the way home, I stopped off at the Rite Aid and picked up new eye makeup and some new lipsticks.
I tell you, it was the most productive Sunday I’ve had in a long while.
I stepped out the door to get the papers (The New York Post, New York Times, and The New York Daily News) and found them sitting on the brick work and sprawled on the front lawn. The local teenagers. I live on a corner, and apparently my front lawn is a kick it spot for them…I’d love to say they were en route to the local public high school, a couple blocks away, but I knew better. they were probably cutting, as evidenced by the joint they passed back and forth.
“You know that structure you’re all sitting on,” I started, “it’s the front of my house.”
“So the fuck what?” A Hispanic-looking female stood up on my lawn, turned and faced me to say.
“So get your asses up, get off my lawn, and move it along, that’s what,” I said without missing a beat. I reached for the bat I keep beside the door, in case these little whippersnappers decided to get feisty (I may be a woman of 38, I may not look like I can fight, but goddamn it, underneath it all, I’m still an Italian-American). “I know you don’t belong here, you know you don’t belong here.”
“White bitch,” the Hispanic-looking one said as she jumped down off the lawn. She walked down the street and one by one her “crew” followed her.
on such a grey, rainy day
mommy dearest. Your narcissistic borderline personality is showing. Of your three grown children, I’m the only one who emailed you the pictures of your grandchildren from Easter. And after I transferred all 48 pictures from the camera’s memory card to the computer & sent them, you bitched that I “can’t do anything right” because you thought I didn’t send you ALL the pictures (when really the problem was you didn’t realize you had to scroll down to actually SEE them all).
I’m also the one who installs the updates on your iPhone (fuck, I got you the iPhone); I spent forty minutes explaining that you can’t send a text message to your hair stylist’s landline phone (or any other landline phone, for that matter). You want to go shopping, it’s me who goes with you, not either of your other daughters.
You’re either putting me down or making me your sidekick. Or maybe you keep putting me down BECAUSE you need someone to be your sidekick, to drop everything and run to Roosevelt Field mall with you. The fact that I have my own life, my own shit to do, inconveniences and enrages you.
Tell me, what would you do if I went to Penn Station & got on an Amtrack train and just went…Arizona, Colorado, anywhere really. Because the thing is I could live without you. Hell, it would be a nice change with no you squawking about how I can’t do anything right AND SIMULTANEOUSLY asking me to help you put a new contact in your cell phone. But you, you’d shrivel up without me, see, because you’d have nobody else. So remember that the next time you’re getting ready to tell me I can’t do anything right.