Friday, September 28, 2012

In the gray

Mother doesn't invite me along to her parties anymore. She dresses up and puts on her make-up behind closed doors, then tries to sneak out so I won't notice. I caught her once in the hallway on a Saturday night. "I'm just going to the movies" she said but the white mink coat, Rouge Allure Luminous Satin lips and telescopic mascara lashes gave her away.

I'm alone tonight. Mother carelessly forgot to hide her invitation to a fundraising event at The Bowery and Chloe is in Chicago with the ad agency. Henry went back to California for the weekend to spend time with his family, and then there's Carl.

Thunderstorms always make me want to call him so he can tell me about the fires, those moments I tried to mimic with him after we met again in the Gauloise haze. I'll climb into bed naked, get under the cold covers and listen to his voice like music in the dark. Sometimes I fall asleep and when I wake up again he's still there on the other end of the line.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Keats and Yeats are on your side

Henry goes to NYU. "Join me in class tomorrow" he says late Sunday night and I wouldn't do it for anyone else. The look on mother's face when I tell her I'm off to school is priceless. They sent me home once in ninth grade for being drunk, I don't think she will ever get over it.

I'm in the back of the auditorium blogging, a blonde row of perfect pony tails lined up in front of me. Sometimes I think I envy them but the truth is I don't. Just like them, my father knew exactly what he wanted in life but ended up in the ground at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery.

It's not that I don't believe in having a dream, but if you know what your future is going to look like then what else is there?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

There are people who have money and people who are rich

Chloe comes home after her day at the ad agency carrying three Chanel shopping bags and a new Missoni scarf around that slender swan's neck of hers. It's an expensive form of consolation but we never talk about money. She doesn't work because she has to, she just wants to prove that she can.

She doesn't say it but I can tell from her impulse buying that her father (his name is Jack) hasn't called yet. "What do you want to do this weekend" I ask. "Drugs" she says. "Opium cigarettes don't count."

I'm writing a letter to Henry but I know I'm never going to post it. When the ink dries I will put it in an egg white envelope with his address and a stamp and hide it in my night stand drawer. When we have sex in my bed I will know that whatever I want to tell him is only a few inches away, so close to being revealed and the tension in my body feels like electricity.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Never again

Henry's dried daffodils are so fragile now. I'm afraid of opening my bedroom window, the winds from outside would blow the petals off one by one. He loves me, he loves me not. I sleep on top of the covers in my underwear but still wake up with a thin layer of sweat covering my skin. Since May I've been longing for the fall and I think it's close now.

Chloe contacted her father, he agreed to meet her later this week. I can see what it does to her but at least she's dealing with her ghosts. I dreamed about mine, that she was on her way back to America from her summer escape overseas. When I woke up I saw that she's already here, calling out to me in silence from across the wasteland.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How does it feel?

Oh, my birthday. Carl would always call me when we were little, and then, suddenly, he didn't. He was there with me the year before, in our summer house, we took a long walk in the middle of the night and it was getting colder. We found another house, abandoned and sad in the middle of a meadow. "Come with me inside and I'll let you kiss me", I said, and I wish I hadn't.

We lost six years together, six birthdays with a silent telephone and the memories. He would call me flower and ask me how my day was. After the Gauloise haze, everything else went back to normal but he just called me by my name, and I called him Carl. Someone burned down that abandoned house the following winter.

When I woke up this Monday morning Chloe had left a present on my bed, an adorable little Juicy Couture necklace. Later I got a phone call, it was Carl. "Happy birthday my flower", he said.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gramercy confessions

It's one of those light rains that feels like the first day of fall, Chloe and I at the Rose Bar on Lexington after dark but before midnight. "Let's go out tonight" she says over dinner earlier, mother is home and secretly wishing we'd stay in with her. The only thing she hates more than being alone is admitting it, she'd never actually ask us to stay.

With a Rose Martini in front of her, Chloe is constantly looking over her shoulder, checking her phone for missed calls. "I sometimes envy you", she says, "you don't have to worry about any of this". There's no need to answer, I remember telling her about the guilt and I thought she would judge me but she didn't. "I've never talked to anyone about this" she says, "but I will, with you. I just need to see him first".

We order another round of drinks, then walk north through the damp, the Chrysler Building like a candle in the distance. I know how much my father loved it and the memory of it makes me smile.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Parts of her

Chloe's father, it's one of those things we never talk about because we don't really have to. Everything's already been said through the little gestures, how she won't take his calls and the way she falls asleep leaning against my shoulder in a taxi going nowhere at 3 am after seeing him on 7th Avenue.

It still hurts her but you can trace the contours of whatever stereotype you like, none of them are true. I know what I saw when we were little, how he was never around, but it's like she told me one night in the attic bedroom of the summer house years ago: "At least I have a father".

Sunday, September 2, 2012


In a taxi just north of 10th street she leans against me, Chloe, her tousled hair like waterfalls on my shoulder. "What if we'd go somewhere" she says, "anywhere but here". She smells of Allure Sensuelle and malt whiskey, her body draped in velvet and silk. Minutes earlier we laughed together on the asphalt, in the back seat it's all quiet and forgotten, city lights dance around the car like fireflies.

"I saw him" she says. "Who?" "My father, here in New York", and everything suddenly makes sense in our alcoholic intoxication, the way she's been acting. I tell the driver to keep going, we pass Penn Station and exit from Manhattan through Lincoln Tunnel. It never really gets dark in the city, only in our minds.

She falls asleep somewhere along the river, her silent breaths and the sound of the engine keeps me awake. I remember nights like this and the fires.