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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Your True Colors Are Killing Me

T’ai Chi.
Chai Tea.

The duality of T’ai’ll be doing a move called “Needle in the Sea” and it seems so graceful and then you find out you’re learning how to break someone’s arm.

They always play ‘True Colors’ at the supermarket. How do you think Cyndi feels about that? Once I saw her live in concert. She had Big Bird yellow hair and leather pants and in her sweet, non-offensive voice she squeaked, “I know I’ve gained a little bit of weight, but I’m still rockin’!” Tonight I wandered around for two hours to get just two cans of soup, a bottle of water, and a new toothbrush. I couldn’t decide on anything. Then I realized I wasn’t hungry. Just sad. It was raining and I’d just left my T’ai Chi class where I thought about how strange it was that I could “Ride the Tiger” but not “Sweep the Lotus”...

I was strolling the frozen aisle on the phone with my also-sad friend telling him I had a dream he was married to an Al-Anon section leader and then suddenly we were at his grandfather’s funeral and I was putting white make-up on my face and this film producer with an 80s haircut turned me toward the mirror and I saw that my head had become a pyramid and it split down the center right between my eyes. I turned toward my friends and said “I never knew it was like this” and we looked at my head in the mirror and there were all these doughy white perfect circles and squares. The producer invited Steven Spielberg to travel inside my head, and when he arrived, my head grew bigger and bigger until Steven was tiny like an action figure and wearing a space suit, and a beam of rainbow light shot out from inside my head as he entered.

One of the store employees passed by my conversation and only heard, “My head became a pyramid and split down the center.” She gave me a look you’d see on a show like Girlfriends.

I wanted to stay at T’ai Chi tonight. I didn’t want to be let out into the world. Something about the rain sucks when you’re not in love. The thick drops splatter in palm leaves and you feel you’re not living out your full purpose. I took extra long in the locker room. Qtipped my ears. Picked through the hair binder bowl for two more of the pale pink ones and shoved them in the pocket of my hoody.

I found out my T’ai Chi teacher is married to one of the students. I think it really irks him when she checks her Blackberry during class. Before I knew they were married I often saw them walking sweetly together and I imagined she was his Martial Arts prodigy. That he said things like, “You must learn that it is less about control and more about intent.” Now I wonder if their conversations are more like, “What is so important that you have to keep checking your Blackberry?”

There’s another lady in my class who’s an Energy Worker. Once I was stretching before class and she came in and said, “How are you today?” I said, “I’m okay,” and she goes, “Are you REALLY okay?” Followed by, “I’m an energy worker. I know these things. Did you know your energy goes seven feet beyond your physical body?” I wonder if my aura is any good at basketball.

And there’s another lady in my class who has full-on plastic surgery--the cat-look with the blown-up lips and everything. On the first day of class we did a move called Repulse the Monkey, and she grabbed my arm and said, “Not Spank the Monkey. Repulse the Monkey.” And then she cackled.

My movements in class are large and sweeping. It’s the only time in my life I’ve felt I have long legs because I am almost always running into Plastic Surgery Lady and often have to scoot back a couple steps before “White Crane Spreads Its Wings”.

Today Plastic Surgery Lady came to class wearing a poufy skirt with dogs all over it and Louis Vuitton-ish flip flops. After our first time running through the movements, the Energy Worker held out her hands and said, “There’s electricity running through me. Feel.” And Plastic Surgery Lady said “I can’t touch you. I’m a Gypsy.”

I found it odd, and I laughed. Just a hiccup--the umbilical cord of hysteria--then stopped. So many surgeons had touched this woman’s body that the idea of her not touching Energy Worker’s hands seemed completely absurd to me.

I just read this book where a girl starts laughing at her mother’s funeral and she has to cover her face with her hands. Then she feels her father’s hand on her neck, he is comforting her, and she realizes her dad thinks she’s crying. The author says it was the moment the girl learned how to lie. “Fall On Your Knees” by Anne-Marie MacDonald. Check it out. Then stop at Chapter Six where a girl is baptizing her dead sister’s baby and the drunk dad comes out and causes a scene and the baby is left in the water twenty seconds too long and freezes to death and you can’t bear the sadness.

I remembered how Plastic Surgery Lady had grabbed my arm to tell me her Spank the Monkey joke and I wondered if she’s like me with Judaism where I won’t write the full word G-d but once in awhile I’ll sneak pepperoni.

When I got home I sat in my car in the dark and just let the water freckles hit my windshield. Someone across the street from me is learning to play oboe and I find it so comforting. I hear the first note, a pause, then a second one like an added thought. Then it’s those two notes again, and a third note that reaches like it’s panicking at the edge of a swimming pool. It barely hits its mark then dies like a loon’s last breath.

I stayed in my car and imagined getting my T’ai Chi license, and becoming a favorite instructor, and changing my name to Donna, and wearing a chunky fuschia necklace and living in some kind of mountain resort in New Mexico, entering my T’ai Chi studio with hardwood floors, much tanner, much more peaceful, some weeds fastened and falling from my English Patient hair. In this fantasy I know that only love, the universal kind, can make you happy. And I live alone in a brown, curved one-bedroom apartment with giant windows. And then I think, This is just me having a fantasy about being Julia Cameron. Can I please have a dream about my life where I’m still me?

“I see your true colors shining through.
I see your true colors and that’s why I love you.
So don’t be afraid! to let them show....

Your true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow...”

(and then it kind of dips at the end)

1 comment:

  1. I love this piece. Dreaming the dreams of another life. Maybe you should talk to your energy worker compatriot about past lives. Maybe the answer is that you and Julia Cameron were sister toads like three lives ago, and that explains everything. I've recently realized that I was a very sexy, very lanky, ultra lusty black man in my past life. It's hard to meld that consciousness with the scared white girl I am now.