Lost asked about my Halloween contribution. Since I’ll be on a plane bound for San Francisco that day, and pretend to be a business woman later in the evening, I won’t do any role-playing in public this year (in private is another matter), hence no material for the blog.
But maybe you’ll find this story interesting. It is mostly true.
“ So, what do you think about us being together? – I said and tried to catch his beautiful brown eyes, currently studying his big, strong hands. “I really would like us to”
I waited for several anxious heartbeats.
“The thing is- he finally said, – I don’t feel I can do this. I just can’t.”
“Why? – I asked, even as my heart sunk into my intestines and bile made its way up my stomach.
“ I don’t know. – He answered – I guess I have always seen you as my best friend and I do not want to jeopardize that.”
I tried to ask for more explanations, tried to plead and beg and throw a tantrum, but I could not. I had a feeling he would bolt at the first tear coming down my cheek. What on earth was I going to win anyway, except his loathing? I stopped the tears before they made it past my eyes and gulped on some more red wine. My head felt weak and I could see myself as if from a far away distance, frozen in place.
“I do not deserve you anyway- he said- If things go wrong, I won’t have your friendship anymore and I really need that.”
His words were like frozen hail upon my brain. I could not understand what he was talking about.
“Besides you hit on me every time you drink. –He said. Then, my brain shut down completely. There was nothing left to say, so he murmured some excuse and left.
It was 4.30 in the morning. I started gathering the dishes and cleaning up my messy living room. I worked until 6.00 AM, until I was satisfied that all traces of his visit were gone. Then I went to the bathroom and threw up for about 15 minutes. My face and chest were filled with little red-ruptured blood vessels, and my hair smelled of puke. I tried to take a shower, but my legs could not hold me up, so I just sat in the bathtub and let the water wash away the smells and the hurt. I fell asleep, but I woke up after ten minutes and dragged myself naked into my bed. I finally passed out.
I woke up around 6 in the evening. It was already dark outside. I had been out for the whole of the Friday. The apartment was clean at least. My message machine was blinking like crazy but I felt the need to go out and clear my head. I dressed and went to the only place I always went when in need of pacifying my inner demons or clearing up from a hangover: Barnes and Noble. I do not know who came up with the idea of the bookstore with a café within and reading chairs, but that person was a genius. I grabbed a grande mocha with an extra espresso shot, the latest tabloid and plopped my body on a wide velvet maroon armchair, miraculously still empty. I leafed through the tabloid uninterested and then stopped and simply stared unseeingly at the row of the bargain books ahead, sipping from my paper cup.
After a while, thoughts of him crowded my head and my lower lip started shaking again. I needed a distraction, but I did now want to give my wonderful chair up and go find a book. So, I started leafing through what other people had left strewn on the floor and the low coffee table in front of me, until I came up with a little lilac paperback called “Spells of Love, A History and Grimmoire”
What a big word for a cheap paperback- I thought, but I started looking through it anyway. Magic had always been a bit stupid in my eyes. I never even saw a magician, let alone believe in that crap. And some of the things this book described were downright crazy. I mean, using menses blood to keep a lover aflame? Ewww!
However, I spent the evening engrossed in that book, and I discovered a new interest within me, coupled with hope to try one of those spells out. Nothing fancy, because I could not even say some of the ingredients spelled there, let alone go out and buy them, but there was a little spell to make somebody love you, which cost nothing.The spell listed a white candle; a piece of parchment that I still had from my earlier artistic enterprises, and rose oil. I did not know roses had oil but there it was.
The overhead announced that the store would be closing in 30 minutes. Wow, had I been sitting that long? I got up, the book in my hands and started for the cash register. My legs were still a bit wobbly but I manage to get to the counter with only minor clashes with the tables full of books and the other buying clients.I handed the book to the cashier, which took one look at it and exclaimed:
“Ohmigod, this is such a good book! Are you Wicca?”
“Huh? – I asked. – No I was just reading it and it looked interesting” My cheeks were flushed and I felt as if she had caught me buying animal porn instead.
“You know, you should buy the spell starters kit-she continued and grabbed a big box with a clear top panel – it is great for newcomers. I used it myself and it is on sale.”
By now, I was deeper into shame, even though nobody else was listening in to our conversation. I needed to get out of there. I nodded quickly and she rung it up and bagged it before I could say, “Love spells”.
“You’ll love it, you’ll see.” She said as a parting shot and I left the store immediately.I got into my apartment and sat down in the living room. I opened the shopping bag and grabbed the book.The love spell was relatively easy. I wrote his name on the parchment with rose oil from the starter kit, I carved the same name on the white wax candle and waited for midnight. I do not know why it had to be midnight, but it had to be, so I settled on the floor and waited.I tried killing time by reading a bit more about love spells. Strange, the book cautioned all the time against love spells and potions. Apparently, if one did a love spell and it was not meant to be, that person would have to suffer dire consequences.
What would I suffer that I had not already gone through? I had lived with an anxious heart and sleeplessness for two years now. My heart was used to beating too fast, and I was overeating. I could not date or sleep with anyone without comparing them to my brown-eyed dream, and I went crazy trying to Google his name on the net or keeping my hands to myself if he came too close.In short, I was a mess and I did not see how it could get worse.Midnight was fast approaching.I lit the candle, put it on the windowsill, and sat behind. I had a snapshot of him looking at me and I concentrated on that. He was smiling, a bit ironically like always, his inevitable 5 o’clock shadow giving him that knowing and worldly traveler look. His voice started playing in my head, telling me little silly things, just as he would have been sitting in front of me. A prayer escaped my lips, like an eager prisoner, imploring true love and the powers that be for his soul to be bound forever to mine, and his love to come forth and never leave me. I took the parchment and held it over the candle flame, until it became too hot to keep it there any longer. I dropped it on the wide windowsill and I watched it burn, taking his name letter by creaking letter. After a while, only yellow-gray ash was left around the candle.I left the candle burn and went to bed. I was suddenly feeling very sleepy.
Saturday, my phone rang like crazy until I picked it up.
How are you? He asked, concern in his voice.
I am fine, just sleeping. I said. What’s up?
He never called me twice in a week.
Well, I called you several times yesterday and today, and I got no answer. He said.
Oh, I was asleep. I said. I must have not heard the phone.
I was worried, he said. How are you feeling?
I said I am fine. Why are you asking?
Well, you were in a pretty bad shape Thursday. He said. Remember?
Yeah, I answered. I do. Now, I am fine.
I am sorry, He said.
I do not want to talk about this, ok? I said, a little too sharply.
Ok, ok, he said. His voice sounded so relieved. Wanna see a movie today?
I’d rather not see you for a while. I said quietly. I need time to myself.
I see. he said. Call me tomorrow, ok?
Ok. I agreed and hung up. I went to the bathroom and cried again for a while. When I came out, I saw the almost burned candlewick still aflame and started to cry again.There was the end of my big love hopes.
He called Sunday evening again.
was afraid of this. He said. We are drifting apart.
What do you mean? I answered.
You haven’t called me. He said. I waited for your call all day.I
can’t pretend I have no feelings, I said. I can not pretend I do not hurt.
Don’t you see? He asked. We are good as friends. You tell me your troubles, I tell you mine, we help each-other. Since Thursday we have just been so awkward. The easiness is gone.
It has always been awkward for me, I said. I have just been pretending otherwise.
So you were just pretending to be my friend? He asked. You never really were my friend, were you?
I hung up and went back to sleep. He did not call for a week and I did not call him either. At the end of the week, I was miserable. I missed his voice and his soft brown eyes more than anything. And we always used to talk on Saturdays. I picked up the phone almost without thinking and dialed his number.
Hey, he said, how are you? I missed your voice.
I missed your voice too, I said. How are you? What is new?
Nothing much, he said. Are you going to Ben’s party on Thursday?
Maybe I said, are you?Yeah he said. I think I am. You should go too. The whole gang is going.
I’ll think about it. I said. I have to work Friday.
Wow, he said. You sound so sexy when you get all professional. Come on lazybones, we all have to work Friday.
Ok I said. I’ll go then.
Thursday was a flurry of activity. I came home from work, showered, blow-dried hair, put on makeup, pantyhose, miniskirt, platforms, backless top, perfume, and my lucky black lace panties, no bra. I was telling myself that I was doing it because I had not been out for such a long time, but the truth was, I was getting ready for him. He had sounded so cool on the phone. Maybe he’d take a look at me and understand his feelings, and kiss me right there and then. The thought just made me giddy and I applied another coat of lipstick, just as the cab pulled outside my apartment. I got to the club and I found the party was already in full force. Ben was sitting on top of one of the tall tables, looking up the nonexistent dresses of two hoochie mamas dancing their little hearts away. I’d have been appropriately judgmental but the sneaky breeze down my own thighs reassured me that there was nothing to resent from those little sprites. And it was Ben’s birthday.I saw him, standing on the corner, a drink in his hand and a scowl in his face.
“Hello” I screamed in his face, but he saw me more than he heard me. We kissed each other’s cheeks. Boy did he smell good.
“What’s up with the face?” I yelled again.
“The face, you look upset.”
“Oh,” he said “No nothing. Just thinking how stupid people look when they let themselves go like that” and he pointed in Ben’s direction.I was too surprised to speak. Usually, he’d be the one giving Ben more drinks and cheering him on. What was going on?I had my answer as soon as the petite but curvy form of one of the girls who’d been trying to be my friend for a while, showed next to him. Understanding hit me the same time as disgust and I made my way out of there, hot humiliating treacherous tears wetting my burning eyes. There were mad people I elbowed aside or trod upon, or collapsed head-on but I made it out finally, breathing hard and wiping my mascara-blackened tears.The thing that really got me mad was that he dared play judge. Here was another side of him, I had never seen, the one that explained the surliness, and his refusal to be with me. He’d rather have a two faced moralist. So be it.
I cried until I got home, but then I was done. My feelings were dissolved, like they never existed. I was glad, even if I recognized what a fool I had been. Suffering for love indeed!It was she who called me the next morning, apologizing for not having told me before.
“We never wanted to hurt you – she said – we just fell for each-other.”
“I wish you all the best – I said, more sincere then she knew – You will do well together.”
“He respects you very much you know – she said. That’s why he lets you do his dirty work I thought but I grunted something else in reply, and it was over. Yet it wasn’t. The connection was still there, buried in a corner of my mind, turning sour.I opened my book again and this time followed the instructions on cleansing. Dry sage, unraveled love cord, shredded pictures, it went all in a big bowl and up in flames. I threw the ashes in a quiet little gutter next to my work place and felt the empty brain with satisfaction. The new moon Friday was coming and there were so many more spells to be explored in the book. And there was this cute UPS driver I rode the elevator with almost every day.