THE DRAGON OPENS


      I am walking the streets of August and the descriptive details have since evaporated. I bring them back, as I mentally pluck myself out of this moment, and open the shades to thought, memory, where all writers meet, on some psychic level, the place of imagination and creation, an aberration of miracles. The morning after Rudy’s arrival, he burst into the moment, acrobatically, as if he was on the high wire, his eyes darting in all directions.
             “See ya in a while, going to get my coffee.”
            “I would love to go hiking; will you take me to the top of Atalaya?” I asked.
            “I have a date today.”
           “I didn’t mean this minute.”
   The next moment opens with Rudy climbing on the roof of his car and scrubbing with militant urgency. I knew it was for the Bird because the friend, who introduced Rudy to her, told me she will not ride in an unprepossessing automobile.
John was in Sedona, negotiating his contract with Hollywood producers and agent. I imagined him attached to the phone, his hands on his head, feet propped on the desk, looking out the window to the Red Rock. I turned toward to the front window and found a shower of sunlight, but it passed over me, and I slipped into the entanglement of my dreams, hopes, and disappointments, a Molotov cocktail to drink alone.
   Now that writing that overly ripened memoir, and the Mob Experience, were both in the dumpster, what was really in my path besides moving in and out of the house for vacation renters? Is this it? I just move up and down the staircase and across the street and never seem to get anywhere. I fell back in the middle room and stared at the bird cage hanging from the ceiling, and examined every throw of the dice over the last ten years.
   At five o’clock I went looking for Rudy, but he was still out. The toothpaste white VW van was in the driveway. I lectured myself on the advantages of going out: to mingle with an unfamiliar crowd, look at the Aspen trees on Palace Avenue, or buy a lipstick at Cosbar, the laboratory of cosmetic rituals. I didn’t listen to the lecture; I opened a bottle of wine and sat on the terrace draped with trees where I was invisible.“Don’t end up in the bottle.” Dad’s voice erupted in my conscience. I didn’t listen to him either.
   Rudy bounced into my corner, dressed like a peacock.
     “When did you get home?” I asked
     “Just a while ago. I’m going out now; bye LouLou.”
   The words were strained, I couldn’t put my finger on the hollowness attached to his good-bye, but it felt unfamiliar. In the sedation of sun and wine, I drifted with the breeze, until dark.In the morning, I intercepted Rudy before he left for his coffee.
    “How’d it go? Do you like her?”
    “Good. I’m leaving now.”
    “When will you be back? We have business decisions, and…”
    “Okay, okay. I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
    I recalled the evening Rudy and Bird drove in the driveway, hesitated, until I waved them both in. This was on a previous visit, after they’d first met. She appeared on the porch, a beam of blonde wiggling light that was at the same time dark. Her laughter spilled out, and lined her conversations without interruption, even during an unpleasant story that I cannot recall. John poured what she announced was her favorite wine, and the four of us maintained her dimension of shallow conversation, while my mouth stiffened from too much unwarranted smiling. Rudy was silent, a rugged detached exactness to Clint Eastwood, leaning up against the house, his mouth a crooked curvature of apprehension. Something happened that evening; it was revealed in a passage from the diary of Anais Nin: “Be careful not to enter the world with any need to seduce, charm, conquer what you do not really want only for the sake of approval. This is what causes the frozen moment before people and cuts all naturalness and trust.”
This passage rhymed with the incessant ringing of false laughter on the porch.
 When at last I cornered Rudy, three days after he’d arrived, he was on his way out of the house again. My eyes pleaded for attention, and for words of encouragement. A split second later, anger rose, then rage exploded.
    “You’re leaving again!  I just want to talk with you awhile. I haven’t even seen you since you came home?”
    “I can’t.”
    “Why not?”
    “I’m late. I’ll see you in the morning.”
    “Did I ever turn my back on you when you needed me!”
  There was no Rudy in the morning, or the afternoon, only after midnight did I hear the chime of his door open, and notice the exterior lights go off. The next day I reached into my bag of feminine tricks, and pulled out a not so fictitious, dejected and tearful woman, and propped myself on the back porch, waiting for his return. I felt the atrophy of my senses, my mind swirled, casting nets over speculative and disturbing tributaries, like going into a ten-foot wave, not certain you’ll pop-up.

I called John.  “What’s the matter? You sound terrible baby?”

“At this moment I can’t move. I mean something is swallowing me.”

“Want me to drive back tomorrow?”
“Yes.”  To be continued.
Any dice to throw email folliesls@aol.com
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