saturday night

You get in your bathing suit and go sit in the hot tub. It’s dusk. You bring the new book you bought earlier but don’t read it. Instead you sit there thinking about your dead ex-boyfriend and of how proud he would be if he could see how mature and stable and sober and responsible you’ve become. You start to cry because you miss him, because you feel lonely, because it’s saturday night and you wish you were somewhere else, doing something fun, not sitting here, alone. But what if spilling tears in a hot tub is what your heart needs now? What if this is how you heal? Maybe sitting in silence submerged in water without any substances in your system will finally give you the clarity you’ve been seeking. God knows you tried all the opposites already. God knows you’ve tried to outrun all these thoughts already but you’re never fast enough.

You recline your head back and look up at the now dark sky, sprinkled with stars. You try counting them and get to fifty, unsure if somewhere in there a plane or satellite snuck its way in. Apparently you need glasses now. Still, you see three of the stars that make up the big dipper and that brings you comfort because you remember spotting them in Brazil as a child. Maybe not that much has changed, after all.

When your skin folds in like an old woman’s, you leave the hot tub, shower, and feed yourself popcorn and a frozen entree for dinner as you watch a series about an orphan girl called Anne who is all alone in the world.

It seems appropriate.

Around ten p.m., you drift off to sleep as Anne finds a family and falls in love in the background.


“What planet are you from?” He asked, grunting in between breaths.

She smiled cooly, timing her hips to the rhythm of her words, as she answered almost in meow form: “The same one you’re in now.” Lowering her chest slowly against his, she turned her lips into his neck as she whispered “Welcome,” leaving a trail of kisses behind on his skin.

That’s who she was. At least sometimes. And Lord knows she needed nights like these. She was, after all, a great performer. And like any performer, sometimes she needed a stage. Slithering against his body, licking his shoulders, neck, thighs… She knew how to move, knew how to push his buttons and how to hold the sole undivided attention of her audience. In fact, she thought, she never had a problem getting a standing ovation. The thought made her laugh and think of how clever she was. Then, sitting there, laughing out loud alone, she thought of how dorky she was also.

Alone on the couch on a saturday night, she sat eating Trader Joe’s boxed pizza and drinking a great glass of Tempranillo wine, thinking of him and last night.

Sure, she was a sex kitten- but she was also a marching band nerd. She liked to think it was all part of her magic, to be such opposing things all at once- to be adaptable, fluid in the flow of life. Nothing was black and white. No, not to her. There were colors that perhaps sometimes only she could see. And inside, her beating heart ached for the weak, the poor, the sick, and she absorbed their pain as if it were her own, as if it in a mud bath- it all just seeped right into her skin, down to her soul and bones. So when the newspaper came, she learned early on to skip right to the comics. She needed fantasy because reality was at times just too much. She wasn’t dumb, by no means; she had more scholarly merit than she’d care to speak of. It made her uncomfortable to boast. “Let who I am speak for itself,” she thought. She read people well, and figured they’d be able to do the same right back to her. But maybe they couldn’t and maybe that was her gift. In the dark, she could transform into the woman he needed, before he even knew exactly who that was.

But tonight who she needed to be was the girl with the night off and no plans, except to maybe polish off that boxed pizza and maybe finish that bottle of wine. Why, she had never done that before!

Looking at the city below, seeing the cool weather wrap itself around the clouds, she searched the sky for hummingbirds. She needed frivolous beauty tonight; to see strength and fragility combined; she needed to grow wings and fly, because her imagination was too big for this simple kind of life. She needed nights like this. Because sometimes the fuze in her kitchen-in-a-closet blew if she tried to cook two things at once, and not too long ago, all she could afford to eat was green lentils. That $4.95 pizza and $10 bottle of wine were a luxury. No one else but her knew that tonight. No one else but her felt privileged with this meal.

And as hard as life sometimes got, it would never change her mind: Life was beautiful. She was blessed. She had enough, and enough was plenty. When these thoughts flooded her head, she was glad to be alone, sitting and writing in the dark, while occasionally peeping to see the skyline ahead. She wouldn’t want to prove her theory to anyone tonight, or to argue with a pessimist about the beauty in life. Alone, her theory stood as absolute truth. Satisfied with her train of thought, she reclined back, listening to music she thought was cool, until she traveled so far into her mind that she forgot who and where she was.

“Lovely,” she thought.