Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fear of the dark

After last Tuesday's post someone wrote to me asking what my mother did to become rich. The truth is I don't know, I asked her once but like with so many of my questions she wouldn't answer. "Talking about money is vulgar" she said and I never asked again.

What I know is I've never seen her work a day in her life. I know that she escaped from Russia as a teenager and that she only went back once, with my father after they had met in New York. She kept a diary on that trip and when I read it there were a few pages missing. I was never supposed to find it but I did and it made her very upset.

She's a master in the art of the adapting to social contexts and therefore an enigma, at least for those who know her well enough. My father was very different. "If you speak your mind", he said, "a lot of people are going to resent you. It's a price worth paying because in the end at least you'll know you stood for something".

Saturday, May 25, 2013

From dusk till dawn

Whenever I wake up to the sound of rain I feel as if he's still alive. The silk sheets are cold against my skin, the room spinning from last night's alcohol and my hair smells distinctly of cigarette smoke. Next to me is Henry, peacefully asleep, I have to touch his lips to see if he's breathing and he is.

He wakes up. "Why are you always so cold" he asks me. I tell him it's because my soul is cold, but deep down I don't believe there is such a thing. He puts his warm left hand between my thighs and goes back to sleep, I'm awake until the sun comes up and it's still raining.

Over breakfast we talk about dreams. I always remember mine but he doesn't, he says he sometimes wakes up with a certain feeling that won't go away and I know exactly what he means. It so often starts with a dream.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Most people confuse having money with being rich, I've been around mother long enough to know the difference. Those who think "my parents have a house in the Hamptons" is a pick-up line have money, they attend Sotheby's exhibitions for the white wine and wear their children as accessories. They are also the only people that are never unhappy, simply because they're one-dimensional, a pretty surface with nothing underneath.

The first thing you need to know about the rich is they never talk about money. They will never say things like "money can't buy you happiness" because they know better than to lie. What makes them really interesting is the perfect imperfections, the spotless fa├žades and the way they effortlessly hide their anxieties under layers of Chanel and sand colored make-up.

I wouldn't be happier if mother wasn't rich, if I didn't have her wardrobe wonderland to dive into whenever the heart threatens to implode from the weight of my panic. It calms me down and makes me forget the outside for a while, which is all I could ever ask for.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'll find you

My relationship with mother may be complicated but I love her unconditionally on Friday nights. It's in the effortless way she gets ready to go out: the precise Guerlain lips, the perfect fade of the subtle color around her eyes, her hair a solar storm held together by a single silver pin. Coincidental is never an option.

While I watch her in the corner of my eye Chloe is down on her knees begging me to go out with her. "Don't leave alone me with the ad men" she says, "they're at their most obnoxious after sunset".

I already know what it will be like. I will step into something charcoal black and disappear into the vapors and the noise, I will close my eyes in the chaos and right then I will feel his firm breathing on my neck, his arms wrapped around my waist and his lips pressed lightly against the back of my head as if in a kiss. I will be afraid to look back at him and he will whisper from behind, like he always does: "I thought I'd never see you again".

Monday, May 13, 2013

No surprises

It's slowly getting warmer, there are nights when I can sleep on top of the sheets in my underwear and pretend like Henry is lying next to me. I dream about him then spend my days trying to avoid him. It's easily done in a city like New York, but the thought of his slender silhouette following me across the avenues, dressed in black, forces me to look over my shoulder wherever I go.

Wanting him is a schizophrenic experience because of what I am to him. Another body to undress and touch with those proficient hands, another girl on the other end of a telephone line after dark, falling asleep to the hypnotic whispering of his voice.

If I could make it any less easy for him I would, I just don't know what to say that hasn't already been said by another.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Only the echoes of my mind

Chloe calls me from work, "they're talking about you again", she says. I know I'm awake but the sense of falling through thin air reminds me more of a dream or a nightmare. I'm walking aimlessly around my bedroom, listening to her hurricane breaths on the other end of the line and they sound just like voices.

She tells me how she showed my blog to someone at the ad agency and asked if it's a campaign for something. They asked about the "Chloe character" (it's not her real name) and what the purpose would be if it was. Mother walks by my room, "am I real?" I ask her. She stares at me for seconds that seem like hours, as if she's trying to make up her mind, then quickly vanishes from the door frame leaving a trace of her Cartier de Lune perfume floating on the wind like a feather.

I'm left alone with the unanswerable question, I should go outside but I'm suddenly afraid of getting lost. New York a raging ocean, I close my eyes and picture the flowery fields from a time when everything was different. I see the butterflies and the forest and it's all still so very quiet.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Chloe is talking to me again. Nothing scares me more than the thought of us growing apart, but there's still no need for excuses. We stayed in last night playing chess on my bed until the sun came back up over the city. She didn't say much but she was there, in drunken spirit and perfectly hourglass shaped body, dressed in innocence and turquoise.

Nothing ever really changes between us. We're older now but the way we hold hands in the dark is the same as when we first met. We'd stay out late together because nobody missed us, our bare feet buried close in the cold Venice Beach sand and the ocean a heartbeat away.

The fires came later. I remember the smell and the sounds of the flames and the silence afterwards. The charcoal and the black, Carl watching me through the rearview mirror and how he would look so much like my father.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The first morning of May, mother sweeps through the kitchen like an aging ballerina, a warm spring breeze draped in ivory white chiffon. Her mood has two settings, manically happy and apathetically sad, the invisible border is always just a glass of Madeira away.

I once swore I would never be like her, but in many ways I already am. We're both building cocoons around us to protect ourselves from the sunlight of the outside world, mother started before me and has lived in her emotional isolation for as long as I can remember.

Whenever I dare to look deep into her Russian eyes from across the breakfast table I can always see the contours of a butterfly, patiently waiting to escape from the sadness.