Archive | March, 2013

Jewfro

21 Mar

This morning her hair was kinky curly, Jewish. She tried to run her fingers through it to no avail. It was big. Much bigger and longer than it had been yesterday, full of tiny loops. The kind of hair she’d always wanted, thought even, that she deserved, seeing that she was, in fact, Jewish, even though no one thought she looked it.

Yesterday her hair was quite a bit shorter, with a little more length in the front. She wore her bangs swept to the side and though her hair wasn’t kinky, she still called it a Jewfro, because it was wavy, thick, unruly. Usually, she oiled and flat ironed it.

At first she though maybe someone had put a wig on her head while she slept. She went to the mirror and studied it. She wove her fingers into the sides of her scalp and tried to pull up, thinking it might come off. But as she did this, she could feel where the tiny curls emerged from beneath the skin of her head, and this made her smile. Things do change over night, she thought.

It wasn’t that she had been praying for this kind of Howard Stern-ish hair, or even thinking about it lately. But it was in the back of her mind to try and grow her hair out, see what it did, maybe even curl it when it got long. Alas, no need. Here it was. She ran her hands along the sides of her new hair and gave it a flick. She decided she wanted to feel the wind in it.

The sun was shining and her bicycle sat beside the house ready and willing to take a spin. She got on her bike and started pedaling. For the next few hours she rode around, feeling the air coil around the spirals in her hair. The feeling made her laugh. Someone shouted at her, Shabbat shalom! Then someone else, Good shabbos! She didn’t even live in a particularly Jewish neighborhood. When she got home, her friends had made matzo ball soup and a quiche for Shabbat dinner. They were just about to light the candles. This was the first time she had come home to Shabbat dinner.

Tattoo

16 Mar

There is a brown toned space scene with flowers, tattooed on the top of her right foot. The flower  in the middle,  the first tattoo she got, is a poppy. For the first year, it was all alone. The rest has been tattooed around it, so the poppy looks more faded.

When she looks at her foot, she is always surprised to see it. Whenever people are around, she lifts her heel and points her toes to show it off. Each time she shows it to someone, the tattoo jumps onto her left foot, so she quickly switches her feet, lifting the other one.  She doesn’t question this, just assumes that’s what the tattoo artist intended. Artistic license. Too late now anyway.

When her friends talk about tattoos, she says, “If I could, I would tattoo my entire body with scenes, head to toe.” Justin Bieber looks at her like she’s crazy, so she says, “but I can’t,” and everyone laughs. This was before Justin was famous and had any tattoos.

In bold letters, shalom el Israel is written in Hebrew on her left hand, and there is some more illegible Hebrew on her right hand. She tries to rub the letters off her hands, worried they might be tattoos she didn’t remember getting, but they come off easily. Turns out, Justin had written on her while she was asleep. She didn’t realize he knew how to write in Hebrew, but she’s not surprised about her temporary tattoos. She’s just glad he is there.

My Famous Aquaintance

12 Mar

I was walking in a courtyard with Frances McDormand. She was tiny the way they say famous people are smaller in person. She was smaller than me. We talked about a book she wrote on biking in New England and I looked down at her washboard abs. She was wearing an old T-shirt, cut up above the navel. The courtyard was in the middle of an old university campus, brown brick buildings covered in ivy. It was fall but she was dressed for Florida in the summer. I couldn’t wait to tell my girlfriend how pleasant she was. Then I realized I’ve never told her how much I like Frances McDormand. That I would see any movie she was in.

I wanted to kiss her, Frances that is, but only because she was who she was, not because I loved her. So I didn’t.

I haven’t seen Frances since then. I thought we were friends, but I guess just acquaintances. No hard feelings.

Gay Water World

12 Mar

We all decided together, to close our eyes and jump. We were sitting on a curb in a dirty street in a dirty city. I said, I hate my life, I want it to be different. No one said anything, but I knew everyone knew what I meant. And I knew that if I closed my eyes it would change. So we did it.

We closed our eyes. At first nothing happened. There was a feeling of disillusion, like we were just acting like little kids who close their eyes and think no one can see them. A big truck passed by on the street and I yelled for us to move our legs, that we were going to get run over. But then I thought, what if that’s not true, that the truck would run us over? What if it was true that when we closed our eyes and jumped, we’d become tiny and float through the cracks in the concrete? I wanted that second thought to win, so, naturally, it did.

We became tiny, like a camera trick, and landed on the other side in a giant pool. We went into a gay water world. Everyone was wearing clothes, but we all walked around at a normal pace submerged in water. No one looked wet. We talked, made-out, laughed. This was the life I wanted. I didn’t want to go back to the other one. I knew I would have to, but I hoped I could stay, at least until the alarm clock went off.

Cancer

10 Mar

What I understood was that my breasts were full of cancer and I was going to will it away. That’s what I told her, the woman who no longer had breasts. She wasn’t my friend, just an acquaintance of sorts, sitting in front of me on a soft bench. It was something I had always known, that I was full of cancer. I’ve always had fibrous breasts. My mother and her mother and my mother’s cousin all had breast cancer.

I knew people would think I was crazy for not having surgery and radiation, like my mother and her mother. My mother’s cousin died because she did nothing. But I was not going to do nothing. I always knew if it happened to me I would not go the allopathic route. I always knew I could think it out of me the way I did with a toothache once, and that sciatica I had. With yoga and tea and visualization and candles.

I felt nervous but I was afraid only of what my mother would say. I thought, perhaps, I shouldn’t tell her. That I shouldn’t tell anyone, just let this breast-less acquaintance hold my secret. I thought, if anyone else knew, the cancer would have power to grow. If I gave it nothing, it would die.

Shooting

8 Mar

The first thing I saw was a syringe filled with clear liquid. And her hands and my hands both holding it. I said, you’re supposed to shoot under the breast because the fat holds the drugs so you stay high longer. She seemed impressed that I knew this. But that’s not what we did. She positioned the syringe at the base of my thumb and pressed the needle tip in. It pinched. I had sliced my thumb earlier that day on a piece of broken glass. Then she shot a syringe full into her index finger. Then again, into my index finger. Then into her middle finger. Then into mine. I knew it was meth and that I should feel speedy, which I did, but also I felt high like I had smoked pot, foggy in the head. I was anxious. It occurred to me that we were sharing the needle, and also, that the needle stayed consistently full. Both of these facts brought on more panic. She didn’t seem to get high at all. I tried to say something, but nothing came out, so I just looked at her and she smiled in a way that I knew she loved me. Like I’d never have to say anything. It was like looking in the mirror, the feeling of being accepted, her inside of me, knowing what I felt and who I was.

I Dreamed I Got Breast Implants

6 Mar

 

 

It was an outpatient surgery, local anesthesia. When she arrived at the office, the nurse gave her the implants to hold. They were square and wrapped in white canvas cloth, but squishy underneath.  She was surprised by their shape and look, and wondered if it was a good idea that she hold them with her bare hands, seeing as they were about to be implanted inside of her body. She kept these thoughts to herself.

The nurse had her lie on her back on an operating table and injected the anesthetic into the side of her breast. Then, a middle aged, slightly gray, TV style doctor came in. She looked at him and he smiled. She told him she was nervous about the pain, but he said, “you’ll just feel a bit of pressure,” which was, in fact, how she felt. “It’s really no big deal,” the doctor said. He made a quick cut across the top of her left breast and pulled the flesh up to make space for the implant. She took a breath and tried to relax. When he finished the left side he sewed the top of her breast with one quick motion, as if drawing a line with a pen, then did the same on the other side. The whole thing took about three minutes.

When it was over, she got up off the table and started walking around the doctor’s office. Her breasts felt heavy and tender. She felt her nipples through her shirt. They were situated much higher on each breast than they had been before, and felt harder and perkier. “Now you don’t have to wear a bra,” the doctor told her. She remembered her sister-in-law letting her feel her implants in the back of the car on the way to the theater. “I never wear a bra,” the sister-in-law said. She envied that part. But she wondered what people would say when they saw her the next day with her new, giant tits. She hadn’t told anyone she was going to do this. In fact, she couldn’t remember when or why she had made this decision in the first place. She started to panic.

She asked the doctor if he could take them out. She worried her original breasts would be stretched out, but thought that would be better than fake canvas ones. He told her she’d have to wait a month for the insertion points to heal before he could do anything. She’d have to walk around braless and buoyant for a month. She tried to think of something positive about the whole situation but the worry that people would think she was crazy overpowered any thoughts of comfort or fun. She touched her new rack again. She gave a very gentle squeeze, fearing they would pop. And the weight of them, though spry, felt heavy, pulling against her body. They felt painful the same way her breasts hurt when she was pre-menstrual. Only now, there was more mass to hurt.

She realized there was nothing she could do but wait, that she had made her bed, and now she had to lie, perky and braless, in its consequence.

She sat down in a plastic chair in the waiting room of the doctor’s office and thought about what kind of clothes would cover up the bad decision she had made. She thought about baggy shirts with high collars, dark colors, hunched shoulders, and zigzag patterns.

She leaned forward resting her forearms on her thighs and looked down at her new deep cleavage.  She sat in the chair and looked and thought and waited.