It’s that damned Mrs. Maisel show on Netflix – I think. Amazon? I dunno. Anyway, she is all New York with excellent hats and a quick wit and I wish women still had the hat and gloves thing going on. Because accessories.
But I hate it because we started watching it together – it was one of the last things before The Thing that got between the Before and the Now. So I watch, I laugh (seriously – the slum girl agent playing a piano and tuning it? Priceless.), but not like I did. I decided hey, it’s the last night before the last night – why not drink one of those mini bottles of wine that you keep for cookery? Sure, it’s not fancy – it really isn’t very good for anything but cooking – and sadness. See, his bed – our bed – is now in some northern town with him in it. Maybe her. Doubt it. Doesn’t matter – cards played, kid. Anyway, he is there and I am here and he will never sleep here again. Our…cohabitation portion of The Thing is now over. And I am…half drunk.
Yes, it’s a small bottle – don’t judge. I had a bowl of damned squash soup today. Fuck you.
As I was saying…this is it – this chilly, echoing place is, essentially, all mine, now. And does it echo…it is as if all the life has been removed from it like a shell on the beach. Hold me to your ear and you’ll hear the ocean. And the wine making nice with old soup.
At one point in an episode a wife has run away to Paris to revisit her youth. Her child rushes there to fetch her home, telling her she missed her mother. “I missed me, too,” she says. Yes. I toasted the glowing truth emanating from some excited pixels. I miss me, too.
I miss the me of a couple decades ago. The one who had to rush to a Very Important Shindig that required attire more…how to make this palatable?…club-y. That one changed her blouse in rush hour traffic to the appreciative honks of fellow sufferers. That me didn’t care. A wave, some lipstick, changing shoes in the car before going in. (Never drive in heels, ladies – very dangerous.)
I didn’t worry about things as much as I do now. I strode about in my world with a kind of amazonian fearlessness. I thought I’d taken the most brutal blows a woman can take. How could I know it was merely the amuse bouche portion of the menu of my life? A tiny tidbit to caution me that the Main Course was coming and it was going to be en flambe, motherfucker. And here – this me – is wondering if motherfucker is too strong because maybe some really savvy prospective employer will discover me here and be shocked.
But will they be awed?
I was stunning, once. There was an absolute siren nature about me that was irresistible. I knew it. I wielded it with care, believe you me. After all, when word got out that I was…er…skilled AND made waffles…well, random invitations will come, you see. And I can remember one night when that God of a man was there and a knock came on my door. No one knocked. No one came. Ever. It was my haven, my fortress. I opened it to see a young, enchanted soul from the office. A knight errant I suppose he thought himself, come to save me. Until he realized I was not the damsel in distress. I was the witch in the woods or, my aptly, the mermaid in the sea. Come, drown! No? Oh, safe ashore with you then, boyo. And the door slammed shut. It was an interesting night.
What happened to her? Oh, sure – he had to up and die and remove any hope of that future. There was rather more wine, then. And a broken glass of great worth. And tears. And a curse. And like all faery tales that aren’t curated it had a darker tale to tell. A curse come to life with the most magnificent hands. Absolutely…what? like sculpture. But sometimes even the witch in the wood needs to suddenly take a vacation at the sea. There are beasts that roam there, too.
What happened to her, that me that once commanded so much in her life? It isn’t as though she isn’t a part of me still. But it as if she retreated to some far dark corner and is too tired to leave it, now. Oh, she showed her face briefly one day recently. Pressed too far the staid and predictable hausfrau was replaced with what once was. And a curse came to my lips but I strangled it, only letting out the hiss of it. Curses have blowback, you see. A price. I’ve nothing left with which to pay any price. And, in truth, he didn’t deserve what I might have wrought.
I do not say much ill of him here. What’s the point? His decision was about him. The impact on me was merely…referential. A kind of…acceptable civilian casualty. It isn’t that he is a bad person. More like one that is blinkered. A horse that refuses to see the full picture because the grass is quite green just over there. I know of many cases in which women utterly destroy their betrayer. Lies, using children against them. I feel badly for such men. I think it is a rather cowardly way for a woman to behave. One ought to be better than that – the fairer sex. But then men are not the honorable creatures they once were. No, the roles are all confused just like a nursery rhyme.
I miss me, too.
But I am not sure I want to be who I was, then, either. Perhaps the mermaid can burn like a phoenix with enough fuel at her feet. Perhaps there can truly be a rising from the flame and a return to the land with legs instead of fins. But remember – she walked on knives every day. Remember: a price – not just for every curse but also for every wish come true.
I will have to choose the path with care, mince my way back to the woods, and light the lanterns again. It will be awfully dusty and dank. But, in time, it might glimmer again in the light that once was. And, this time, not burn.