I think of the comforts of exhibiting my life on paper. It is not the act of writing with pen and paper moving along at a steady rhythm; it’s the activation of the heart and mind, collaborating to unravel the relevant from the irrelevant. To reach this state of matrimony a writer needs not a Tuscan Villa, or an English Castle, but experiences that flake off the skin, the mise en scene that shakes its relevance.
Page 525. Terrified to post this but it is Sunday and I’m brave on Sunday. The book is fiction, first-person, and close third person so you’ll need a jogging suit to read. Based on true events.
Greta let the moment of the village rescue stay with her, like a new pet for as long as she could hold on to its beneficial ointment, away from what she calls her immersion into self. She gives me examples that illustrate her obsession with matching outfits in her closet.
It’s a bedroom she converted into a dressing room. There’s a single bed against one wall, a cabinet where she stores the winter boots, and an eight-drawer French nouveau dresser and mirror. She sits on a chair facing the windows so she can watch the trees live through sun, wind, rain, and snow. Across from the chair is the bed. She diligently arranged her summer pastel skinny jeans on the bed, and next to that row she arranged the T-shirts, camisoles, and shorts. It’s quite practical considering Greta as she has admitted to me half a dozen times, that she was born without common sense or practicality. At the base of the bed, she lined up her shoes, the slip-ons, the flats, the pumps stuffed with tissue paper to preserve their shape, and the wedges. After a breach of sanity, she goes into this room and visualizes outfits and color matching like someone might play chess. ‘ It does have a purpose, this way I visualize without wrangling with hangers and you know it just takes too much time when you’re in a closet.
‘”These days I look at them as if they belonged to someone else, I mean the red suede with gold heels that I wore on a New Year’s Eve of gaiety and not since, the black velvet pumps that always make me feel dainty and light. What care I give to all these garments when in the other part of the house, Dodger was descending into a financial coma.”
Greta did not acknowledge the few months before his departure that he was riddled with abject unfulfilling tasks, bills, and construction jobs that no longer fed him purpose and accomplishment. She did not notice that his slacking posture on the front porch, head lowered and staring out without any body movement was a sign, she in fact despised it and walked away. In the last few months, all of this seemed to rise up like a curtain before a play, in a theater and she witnessed his insolence and his silent howl for help.
The irony of her activity is that she doesn’t go to the events that she plans on going to wear the outfits.
MONDAY MARCH 12,
Some domestic and global tragedies diminish in our consciousness as weeks go by. Just as the news turns their stories from our southern border crisis, Covid pandemic, inflation, and other unsolved problems.
Ukraine defending their country against the vicious unprovoked genocidal attack by Putin is not going in this direction. It is more explosive and brutal each day and the response by NATO and the USA seems to be in pandemonium. You hear, “ Everything is on the table.” “Nothing is off the table.” I understand strategic covert operations are classified, still, this leaves me asking, shouldn’t they be beyond discussion by now? If I continue to vacillate on a decision, it only exacerbates the consequences.
I’m watching more interviews. So far, I’ve seen about forty. Not one of the Ukrainians on camera shed tears, a blaring recognition of their bravery, courage, and ancestry.
MARCH 13, 2022
I LISTEN TO UKRAINIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC https://www.pandora.com/station/play/123965540132723942 or the blues, it seems unjust to bob around to the Stones or club music. It is day seventeen, and everyone knows now what that implies. You don’t have to explain it, and if you do, then I’d move away from that conversation. Did you hear about the eight-year-old boy who walked five hundred miles to join his parents in Poland? He made it and here is his photo.
WHAT ABOUT THE WOMAN hours away from giving birth when the bomb struck the Maternity Hospital and was carried away bleeding on a stretcher? She gave birth to a baby girl and is recovering.
MARCH 14, 2022 Today, I learned that both mother and child died.
STRAIGHT OUT OF A WAR MOVIE is the elderly couple who did not hesitate to face four Russian soldiers who broke thru the gate to their property, rifles aimed at their defiant threatening souls, and ordered them off their property shouting obscenities. The soldiers retreated.
Several weeks ago a Ukrainian soldier blew up a bridge to prevent the convoy from crossing over, knowing he would die.
The interviews and comments from man, woman, and child harmonized ” I’ll fight them with my last breath.”
After I published this last story, I spoke with White Zen, my palgal in Santa Fe. She said the last paragraph of the story made her cry. Juxtaposed between writers Zen of exporting such feeling, and the sadness we both shared. White Zen had a Thinker too. I guess there are more of them than I knew.
Having had six true loves in my life, who impregnated me with knowledge generosity, and loyalty is what made me so unprepared for the Thinker. He does resemble Macedonio; the first man to peel off the woman in me. They both have charisma, mystery and good dark looks, Macedonio is dead now, and the memories of him still glisten; like the day in Golden Gate park under the cherry blossom tree.
What I miss most, is the giggling, dancing, folly-maker that the Thinker pulled out of me as If I were a puppet. He called me Puppet because that’s how he saw me. I’ve got to get my Jojo by tomorrow. I live Thanksgiving as a day with admissions of selfishness and greed. I need to be washed away into thanks that I am here with a mouthful full of food, and a napkin.
I was there a few days before I noticed a figure darting from one sea-lion to another. He gestured for me to follow but I couldn’t catch him.
He caught me by surprise from behind and wiggled over to me.
‘Let’s eat. I’m starved.” The Thinker dove down then up above my head. He cupped his fins around my head and pulled my hair.
“Where you been my Fins?” I asked.
“Why?” He said as he let go of me.
“ It’s just a normal question?”
“I don’t answer those kinds of questions. I am building my sand castle! Wait till you see it–it’s going to blow you away. Everyone will be blown away!”
“Exciting! I’m so happy for you. Will you show me?”
“ Maybe. Don’t look at me like that. Your eyes, they draw me in. It scars me. I don’t know what to do with you little one. Who are you?”
He lowered his eyes and sucked in his gills.
“I really love you. I mean I want to be with you forever!”
You should make a book of shells and tell their stories. ”
” You’re right! I know their stories too!”
” You could make a lot of money.”
” I don’t think about that. When I need money I just ask for it and it comes. All you do is count what you have. ”
” You think that!”
“Yes I said it didn’t I. ”
We carolled between starlight nights and crimson sunsets on the rock porch exploring varieties of sea mates. He used his fancy fish feet to get us into private ceremonies, and parties. The fish authorities didn’t bother us at all. We crashed into a party of penguins, and we weren’t eaten alive. My eyes were always on the thinker; as pleasurable anticipation bubbled inside. In the morning he read to me from his bible, and watched the seagulls. He drove me in many directions, unfamiliar ideas, and habits that got me to thinking so when we swam we were always talking.
“You need to lower your voice. Make it deeper.”
One day he swam me to a blow-hole.
“I’m not sure I can get through as easy as you do.” I said.
“Don’t say that. Follow me.” so I followed. I’d waited a long time to see the sand castle. As we expanded our gills and soared upward, my eyes searched for the castle.
“You see it? Isn’t it spectacular?”
“I see the sand yes, but where is the castle?”
“You don’t see it? Come on—really. ”
“No my fin. I don’t see anything but piles of sand.”
“ Look beyond the piles. You have to see between the lines. You don’t get it do you? You only look at what’s right in front of you. There’s castles everywhere; huts, hideouts, back alleys. ”
“Is this what you mean by patience?”
“ No! This is conciseness of the universe. We’re not alone you know. The skeletons and ghosts are here.”
“ Have you seen them?”
“ The water of Santa Fe is as crowded as pavement. I’m telling you what no one else will. You should thank me for that. I’m handing you the key to the universe.”
“ How about the key to a warm place to rest and food?”
“ You’re such a brat. Come on. I’ll take you
I met his power posse; and they all assured me they could reverse or promote anything I wanted.
“If you are ever in trouble call me. I can fix it.” the Thinker said.
“ Like what?”
“ Whatever you ask. You want to live forever under our safety net. You have to trust me. You’re a city cougar with a Range Rover and a brick house above water. Come on–don’t you see that. Most of the fish hate you. You need me.”
His eyes narrowed into dagger like bits of darkness.
“I’m not a cougar. You are the first young exotic fish I’ve swam with.”
“ Oh really. That’s not what I heard.
“ What did you hear?”
“ I know about you?”
“ Really. Then tell me what they say?”
“ You’re impatient, aloof and swim alone. ”
“ I’m not like that always.”
“ Well I know, I’ve seen inside you.”
One day he emerged as a sea monster, holding empty bottles and wailing. I felt a rush of empathy and covered him with my body. He wrestled in pain for days and then when he surfaced, he was wearing a different face, and his touch was absent. His teddy bear eyes were like bricks of strength.
“ I’m not coming back.” He said
“ Why?” I pleaded
“ Wrong question.”
“ What did I do?”
“ You don’t see my castle. I can’t be with you. All you think about is lobster and hotel vacations.”
“ I haven’t had lobster in years, or a hotel vacation.” He swam away, just as suddenly as he appeared.
It was like a knife severing me from one place to another. He despised me. His curiosity and mischievous cleverness triumphed over affection and companionship. His splashes exploded into monsoons of tears inside of me. I returned to my brick house and closed the drapes. Every night I danced and cooked. I sat on the porch in a spray of solemn sunlight and didn’t miss the waves or blow holes. I’d missed my dance music, old movies, journal and sanctuary of comfort. I made him vanish with a vow.
As I cut his sunflower from my yard, placed it in a vase and said, ‘when the flower dies so does my love for the Thinker.’ The sunflower died yesterday. I pulled off the wrinkled yellow petals and scattered them in a planted pot. Maybe he will come back as the beautiful sunflower I once knew. But I know he won’t. Love is in all of us. How we give it and cherish it is unique. I still have my love. No one can take that.
I asked the Thinker why the universe brought him to me. ‘To guide you through Santa Fe and teach patience. Without it you will find yourself where you are now.’
‘Where am I now?’ I snapped. He clasped my arms around his neck and we swam to the center of the Plaza. There he opened a porthole and asked me to look through it. Historical images emerged like a kaleidoscope and the Thinker told me stories of Santa Fe. Some were humorous; like the bank robbers who dragged a safe down Palace Avenue and left cracks in the stone sidewalk. Other stories pointed to the feuds, violence, and mysticism surrounding the Vortex. He whisked me away to a mirror, floating sideways, and asked me to look into it. The reflection was me curled up with my knees to the chin, while a school of fish surrounded me. They were talking about my mermaid skin and long fins. I was touched. Then the Thinker took me to another mirror and there I was poised on a chair; reserved and grave. I looked like I was somewhere else.
He tossed me in a circle, waved his arms in conductor fashion and said, ‘Get rid of her. She’s not liked.’
The image troubled me and so I jumped off his back and crawled behind a sunken wooden door. I was there a few days before I noticed a figure darting from one sea lion to another. He gestured for me to follow but I couldn’t catch him.
“Message in a Bottle”
Audrey. Photograph By Edward Quinn
I asked the sky to send the Thinker. Then it rained in southwest furry, small white knots of hail and dark feuding winds. The thinker heard and whistled to me. It was a sweet flutist tone, and he appeared in black and grey, the silver lining of his head like a crown of light. Flashing the boyish grin, he opened his wrestling toned-warm fins to my goose bumpy arms, and I swam along side tentatively. Even though it was my chime, I was unsteady, unwilling to climb on his back, so we swam on our toes, around my house, and the Plaza. We battled sharks from Beverly Hills, whose fins were frozen from love and kindness; we faced one of our own school, who would not lend a dollar on good faith and loyalty for their Merlot Cabernet fish oil, and we strung pearls around each other necks, with a clasp that is easily unhooked. The current drove us through three more days of rowing backward, sleeping quietly without intertwinement, and meeting as friends instead of lovers.
The absence of touch, struck like a lightning storm. I didn’t see it coming, and I may be wrong. To read the Thinker is to understand his language; a circumcision of predictability, logic, or reasoning. Like a tsunami, uncharitable waves of enlightenment he doesn’t even understand drown his soul.
I understood that he airbrushed my appearance, and dropped deep into my eyes as they widened for him. I blushed before he engulfed me, and pressed my undertow.
If tonight was the last swim because of a storm I didn’t see coming, or understand. It is because my eyes blurred by his presence.
The tide goes out, but it always come back. Sometimes it touches where we left off.
On shore the land felt liquefied and unfamiliar without the sensual spark swimming along side me. The leaves glistened above my head, like golden gems you’d wear on a necklace. The Santa Fe river sang its song over rocks, branches and brush, while white butterflies and birds fluttered an awakening. I passed cafes, watched couples and families luxuriating in the sunlight, Canyon road art hawkers snapped photos, gallery owners chatted on the courtyards.
The stage of comfort as picturesque as a postcard. I was outside the activity. I rushed home, passing people who walked as if lost, and shoes stuck in tar. Thoughts trotted like ponies all going in different directions. No path had an answer, or a reason, or an understanding of our endearment.
The Thinker swims close by. Sometimes I feel him soaring past me, glancing for a moment, then he’s gone. The house is quiet, doors and shades closed. My nakedness is wrapped in blankets and the aroma of pumpkin spice from a candle. My stage is empty, no audience of any sort. These are the moments when examination of behavior, discipline, and self-honesty rise above the solitude. A woman of lovers rather than husbands, beckons my heart to open to the odyssey of love.
I appreciate all the new followers from the THE THINKER story. Thank you for
your comments and hope you return for more.
The throw of the dice this week lands on the tip of the diving board. The pool was serene and powdery blue and I was enticed by the sensual shift of waves and sunlight. I took a leaping dive off and swam for eight weeks.
Beneath the surface glaze I held my breath and when I opened my eyes there was a man sitting on a rock, posed as The thinker. I asked him what he was thinking and he said, ‘the universe brought me to you.
I shimmied at this rhetoric of mysticism and then suddenly, he swam towards me and wrapped me around his back. I held on to strong neck and ran my fingers through his mane of hair. We floated away beneath the weight of reality, beyond limits and caution. We swam towards the underbelly of Santa Fe. All kinds of sharks, sweet dolphins, brainy lobsters, wondrous whales and tasty little shrimps. We swam with them in a pack and chided their gossip and questions. Swimming with the underworld fascinated me and I hung on as we passed through darkness and luring beasts of prey.
Soon we were alone again and fondling; almost one from head to toe. My breath sieged into his and we swam through layers of fantasia. Suddenly he leaped forward and couldn’t hold on. I was dropped off on a rock that splintered my skin. I watched as he soared above me and waited for his return. I was so cold that my eyes blurred and shut. When I opened them a lazer like light appeared in the distance and pulled me up to the surface. My arms wrapped around the raft and familiar hands took hold of mine. Friends paddled me to the shore. I can’t see the Thinker anymore but I see him in the memory; swimming towards uncertain adventures in livingness.
Bob and Baez-JIM MARSHALL
He was going to keep me warm this winter. Toggle behind me in his overcoat and boots, making sure I didn’t slip on ice, or chop my hair when my anger meets my self destructiveness. He would plow the snow, keep the fire going, trim the roses that bloomed when we met, and hatch chilies in the kitchen. A boy, a man, and a girlfriend. He’s wrapped in primitive sensuality, gifted with athletic stamina, viscerally intelligent. There is the other side; a squadron of pointy fingers, family feuds, gossip, and the spark of emotional self-contentedness. He admits to it; and studies masters of consciousness every day. He strives for breath unscented, unencumbered childlike weightlessness. My star is dropping, the dream girl of adventures in livingness. Taking men in that hold impossible odds, the long shot that shoot you to the moon or dump you on a dirty bench.
I found someone once who held up all the right que cards; now we are best friends thirty years later. If
lovers are true friends than I don’t lock them out when they stumble on the script. Relationships between men and woman are unsolvable allegory poems. I read them over and over and never understand the meaning if I hold on to the wound. If I let the abrasion heal, I am still in love with them.
My prayers are with you Joan. Since I was a teenager I watched your show with my Dad who laughed so hard he had
choking attacks. You brought global understanding to the humor of the Jewish faith. Everything you said rang the
Synagogue bells, and blew out the candles of the Menorah. In moments of family tension the conversation turned to you; and everyone would
recite a joke and gather in laughter. Your unique talent to sabotage prejudice with humor, sliced silent moments of awkwardness.
You have me in your prayers to raise up in your bed and shout? Where’s my goddamn shoes?
Love to you Melissa, the daughter any one of us looks up to as the eternal light in her mother’s life.
Interaction with strangers in the same house lit my anxiety alarm. The last time roommates occupied the same house was in 1972. I lived in a three-story twelve bedroom mansion in San Rafael, California. There were thirteen of us. Disbro lived in the attic and inhaled laughing gas all day. I was twenty-years old.
This anxiety was visible even at twenty. Sometimes all of us sat down to dinner at one dining room table. The conversations literally wrapped around the room, the halls, and the windows. My voice was restrained; they were too conversational and intellectually humorous for me. I was the youngest.
This brings us back to the Puzzle of Solitude. When there is conversational nuances, improvisations, laughter, dancing, cooking, dressing, showering, slacking, without strain or tension, then it is time to leave out solitude and hook the bait of adventure.
Fragments of my fragmented spirit reincarnated this summer at Chantel’s. There were three full-time roommates that shared the house, Chantel, Speedy, and Nathan and an occasional Nico. There are up to eight visitors occupying the private cottages, and a flexible showing of hungry men and women at dinner time. Added to this is the number of languages spoken, English, Spanish, French, German and Koui’s (Chantel’s dog) welcoming bark.
Interaction on the routine, necessary, and impulsive terms of cohabitation in the morning: preparing coffee in two Turkish pots, buttering bread, stretching, checking email, cuddling Koui, and taking showers. The first morning my mask shed when I walked into the kitchen in my nightie and open robe. What happened in twelve hours to my belt of modesty? Speedy and I chatted in English, and then he’d Skype his wife. One morning he introduced us. I looked forward to his Skype discussions; the most fluid and rhythmic language to my ears. The art of conversation has vanished from many factions of our society. The phone and laptop are now our mouths and ears.
Not so with Europeans.
“ Loulou, so you have a gallery of photography?
“ We had one; now it’s a vacation rental decorated with photography.”
Nico leaned against the wooden island table to hear the story. You can’t look Nico in the eyes without lusting just a little.
“ How’d you start this gallery? Nico asked while chopping perfectly unmeasured tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion.
“ I called photographers; and a few friends pushed my cart to the right door. One time I walked into a gallery on Robertson Blvd and noticed this exhibition of celebrities on the beach in St Tropez. It was incredible!”
Fabian who owns a gallery on Robertson moved in closer as I continued.
“I walked in and asked the Swedish owner if he’d co-exhibit in our gallery in New Mexico. He said yes, we didn’t even sign anything. He kept his end up. So I showed the Edward Quinn’s in Santa Fe. I should have bought the Audrey Hepburn one; when she was eighteen.”
“I know the Quinn photographs. Bridget Bardot– yes– what was the name of the Gallery?” Fabian revealed enough interest to spark mine.”
“ Christopher Guye.”
He moved closer so we were face to face.
“I know Christophe! My first gallery was next door!”
All of us applauded the connection; I think I moved a notch closer to the group.
This is what happens when joining is more exhilarating than not. In the next few weeks: we dined in French and English, watched Soccer, teased and laughed, cooked and drank. There were parties with Jennie, Chantel’s assistant, who has two congregations of friends, all uniquely different and robust. I had walks on the beach alone, and time to write; but the real vacation was interior. I left the old LouLou, who paced, fretted, vacillated and deconstructed behind. She lost the battle to interior florescence.
The thread of interaction followed me outside the compound. I discovered Malibu is not all celebrities and rock-stars. There are families that go to the beach, hang out at Vintage Market, and attend community events tied to the ocean, horses, and surfing. The school of surfing for children is worth a visit just to see the little boys and girls riding waves. Malibu has its own Playhouse, a Movie Theater and two upscale outdoor shopping malls. The Getty Villa perched on cliff- side overlooking Pacific Coast Highway has reopened and it is free to the public.
The vacation sabbatical ended last week; though the effect remains. This adventure was supposed to be all about ocean swimming, window shopping, revisiting former favorite spots; what I really needed was to revisit myself. Do we ever stop emerging? I hope not.
CANDLES OF THE MOUNTAIN PART 3
“Ahh Nico! Come meet LouLou.”
A young man with cha-cha rhythm danced in and kissed me on both cheeks. He and Chantal are speaking at a galloping speed in French, embossed with the wildest sort of laughter, and then another man, Speedy, a leading Parisian graffiti artist walks in, and addresses me without movement; just eyes that seem to sum me up speedily. Behind him is Nathan, a man of composed attentiveness. Then came Fabien, although we met a few days later, I include him now because creative nonfiction allows poetic license of time and place. Fabien is a Frenchman who owns a progressive gallery in Culver city, Castanier Gallery, and shows Speedy.
If the address is Malibu on the mailbox, it is not inside the house. This party began as they all crossed the threshold. The ooh la la’s, kisses, hugs, gifts, and food that joined the beef, chicken and my guacamole was an appetite odyssey.
The evening began as some sort of theatrical reenactment of a French film. I have longed to return to Europe; instead I found it in Chanel’s home. You must meet Bibi, and Bruce. I coined Bibi, Joplin, because when she danced on the dining table, with her flowing blond hair and abandonment to free spirit she reminded me of Janis. Bruce, her husband wears a flag of acceptance for human imperfection and relished a young Walter Matthew. He is highly educated and so grounded in realism his wife’s antics do not astound him as some husbands may disapprove of such a blooming spirit. There was a Swedish beauty and her friend Shawn, a British theater actor, who inflamed the party with the grandest authentication of the English language in conversation, and joking that turned everyone into belly aching laugher. We were also joined by two Brits from London; superbly mannered and educated professionals, Rebecca and James, and then a French woman with delicate features and European charm.
“Let us have a toast.” Shawn raised his glass in the light of candles and softly sliding sunlight. I suggested everyone join in with their own toast. When it came to my turn I said,
“ L’ chaim”
“Oh, you are Jewish?” someone called out.
“Yes. Can I stay?” I said with a smile to encourage laughter and not the awkwardness of being the only Jew. I’d rather people know so they don’t trip up and provoke my Jewish temper.
To be myself amongst strangers is rarely so effortless for me. Like the new moon rising over the mountains; the time for full powered laughter and elation had captured all of us. I felt that we were ravenous for a few hours of relief from the catastrophic state of world affairs that we are not personally suffering. There is very little discussion of current events in public places; and I have not seen many people reading the news. My gratitude for the freedom to luxuriate in a pampered and nourishing environment enlarged every time I watch the news.
The fog today has brushed the mountains with a thick white mist almost like a snow mass; yet the temperature is warm and humid and my pores feel moisturized. The wilderness holds my attention to reflection as the natural beauty of eucalyptus trees fanning the wind and wild flowers feeding hummingbirds surpasses the perfection of model bodies and designer outfits of 92065 residents.
Malibu is not all celebrities and rock stars as you may think. There is an abundance of families that flock to the beach, and live the art of hanging out around the Malibu Mart. The community offers weekend festivals, and fund-raisers tied to the care of the ocean, landscape and horses. They offer child and adult surf classes, book readings, hiking clubs, and even have their own Malibu Playhouse and a Movie Theater. The Santa Monica Mountains open into a hikers paradise, and full suited black leather BMW bikers are everywhere you look .
The night life begins at Sunset when a litter of limo guests enter the driveway of Geoffreys Restaurant for glistening views and cocktails. Down at the Malibu Pier the plank boards are as weathered as I remember as a teenager; only now the restaurants are uppity scaled organic. My favorite restaurant, Malibu Seafood, is still sitting on the shoulder of Pacific Coast highway and as the locals know, you don’t get tossed for another reservation. You can bring your own wine, sit on a deck overlooking the Pacific and taste the freshest fish in California.
What I found most entertaining in a writers way, was the night Chantel and I visited NOBU; “No One Beats Us.” To be continued….
The next morning Chantal was not in her transparently privatized bedroom with a gauzy drape. From the kitchen I’d poured a cup of black as beans espresso from Chantal’s Turkish coffee maker and dozily slumped into a swinging love seat on the lanai. Still in my pajamas, listless as a floating cotton willow; the grounding I’d felt the day before had evaporated. Looking and listening to birds, rooster, and distant horses, all within a misty silhouette that filled in the hips of the mountains. Beyond the sea, the imagery of my reclusive life in Santa Fe manifested. The skin I wore in Santa Fe; unreasoningly introverted with a coating of protection flaked off and a news skin surfaced.
Just as the image is crystallizing, I sense Chantal crossing the garden towards me.
“ LouLou—are you okay?”
“ I’m not living right at all, ” I uttered without a smile.
She sat down beside me, placed her cell phone behind her, rested her elbows on her knees and leaned toward me to look in my eyes.
“ Oh why? You are not happy in Santa Fe?”
“ Not anymore-I see things differently now.”
“ Yes, this is what happens when we take vacation. If you’re life is not full then you must change it. It’s not always the place that matters, but how you live. You know some people like to suffer, this is not you. I know– believe me. I meet people from all over the world. I traveled with Carl everywhere.”
“Well I’m full now– but I’ve been in a cage.”
“ This is not good! I will tell you that since Carl died I too wanted to live in my bedroom and not even get out of our bed. So I worked day and night to keep his legacy going, and to manage the vacation rentals. I made myself so busy just to get through the pain. I was a mess; many times I didn’t think I’d get through it. But you see–I am okay now. I still think of him everyday and some days are rough; but this is life. We don’t know what will happen. You have to live now. When you die no one remembers you; they go on living. “She opened her mouth and her smile asked me to smile with her.
“ We will have a lot of fun you and I. You know I feel like we’ve known each other. You feel that too?”
“ Yes! I think my choice to come here was to meet you.”
“ Oooh lala-then we begin to enjoy. You hungry? I make some breakfast and then we go to Trader Joes. I make a party tonight. How’s that?”
“ I’d like that.”
“ You want some eggs–how do you like them?”
“ I’m so full of joy I have no appetite.”
She threw her head back, and laughed.
“ What time is it Chantal?”
“ It’s eleven o’clock. You sleep very late.”
“ No. I never sleep this late.”
I followed Chantal into the kitchen where she was leaning against the stove frying eggs; she was on her cell phone. ‘Cheri, you come tonight for dinner and meet my new friend LouLou.’ Then another call and another. To observe Chantal is to see the openness of a human being without hesitation, restraint or obsession. I followed her around for the rest of the day just like Kou-Koui; her little Habanese dog. Chantal’s enthusiasm for the approaching party was seamless. As we shopped at Trader Joes, she chatted with customers, the grocery clerk, and the cell phone that rings continuously.
“ LouLou, is that you?”
I was passing her bedroom as she called me in and patted the bed for me to sit.
“Have you had a shower? I will take one after you. I marinated the chicken and meat, so all we have now is the salad.”
In the kitchen she is dressed in a skirt, neck-less blouse, and a magenta flower behind one ear. As she demonstrates how to cut the cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado, she darts from one skillet to another. The music is ruminating through the house; a French wave of seduction and rhythm that entices us to dance around the kitchen island. I feel like a young girl learning to be a woman. She is only a few years older than me; yet her human connection of livingness is unbridged and unchained.
I intended to write a travel story about Malibu; as you see the travel story is Chantal.