Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've Been Tagged by Suzanne Lieurance, The Working Writer's Coach

Here are 7 facts about me. If you list 7 about yourself and send it on, and back to me, we'll get to know more about each other. You can read more about Suzanne Lieurance at The Working Writer's Coach


1. I studied acting with Lee Strasberg and met my husband in an acting class in New York City.

2. I've lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Alabama, New York City, Los Angeles, and Texas. All in USA

3. My first job, after babysitting, was at the Georgetown Daily Gazette while I was still in high school. I also edited, illustrated and produced our high school year book.

4. I write at the back of my house with a lovely view of the garden, if the shrubs are kept trimmed (they are not now).  So, I'm working on the patio today.

5. I love Upcountry Maui and I'm lucky enough to have family there. I wish I could plan my life to visit on a regular basis. The beaches are nice, too. 

6. My favorite books are Lost Horizon by James Hilton, Portrait of Jenny by Robert Nathan, Russian novels in general, Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov in particular. And a story, The Necklace, by Guy de Maupassant. 

7. I have 5 half siblings, one that I love dearly, the others I don't have any contact with. I have 4 cousins who are as close and dear to me as siblings. 


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Pink Prom Dress

Micheline and Oscar have been living together in downtown L.A. since before it was fashionable. Their home is two large cardboard refrigerator boxes on skid row. A man and his dog sleep to their left. A old woman in purple flannel pajamas talks nonstop on their right. 

Oscar's a big husky man given to wearing long flowing gowns. He was wounded, his left leg, in the war (although he has never said what war) and he suffers from endless phantom pain. The only time it doesn't hurt is when  he sees himself in a beautiful gown in a shop window.

"Let's go window shopping," Micheline says when his pain becomes unbearable. "We'll look at your dress. Wouldn't you love that?"

"Oh yes," he says. Oscar pulls himself up from the sidewalk, leans against the wall and takes her arm. "Watch the curb," he says as they cross the street. "I don't want you to get hurt." He offers a smile and hello to all who pass, holding his head high, even as he winces in pain. With his free hand he lifts his gown a few inches from the street so as not to step on the hem.

At a shop window, they gaze intently. "This window is cracked," Micheline says. At the second shop, she shakes her head. "This window is distorted." 

"I think it makes me look good," Oscar says. "Just not quite right. My leg really hurts."

"You can lean on me while we walk," Micheline says. "If we don't like what we see today, we will tomorrow." She puts his arm around her shoulders.

"Oh, look over there," Oscar says, catching sight of a store window. "Perfect." 

In the reflection of the dusty shop window Oscar sees himself, strong, fit, and as beautiful as any woman he'd ever known. Micheline runs her fingers across his back until she's hugging him close. "We're a very lucky couple," she says.

"Yes we are," Oscar says. His pain has disappeared. They begin to waltz down the street, in a world all their own, gliding up-down, one-two-three. Then Oscar stops. He watches a young prosperous couple holding hands. He strides up to them. Micheline lags behind. 

"Hey buddy. Micheline's suit is at the cleaners and I left my money at home. Give me $10. We are late for the party already and no bubbly for our friends."

The man and woman stare at Oscar whose flitting left and right in his  pink chiffon prom dress that is a size too large.  

Micheline steps forward and speaks up for her friend. "He really wants to go. I want to go with him. And as you can see I'm not dressed for it. You may not know this, but he hurt his leg real bad in the war. He used to be a nurse at the Country Club hospital just up the street."

The man looks up the street. There's an apartment building. Country Club Hospital?  "That's the best story I've heard all day. You got it," he says, smiling, then pulls  a $20 bill from his pocket. "Have fun. You deserve it." 

"Thank you," Micheline says. "You're very understanding." She pulls a black comb from inside her thick matted hair and waves it at them. "I styled his hair. Doesn't it look fabulous?"
And that's true. To some extent.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Zoom zoom

Stephanie is 27. She's a marketing executive for a major corporation. She's unmarried.  She's worried. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Her mother and father probe. Lovingly. Relentlessly.  She hears it in conversations with her married friends, too. It's a good-natured pressurized echo. What are you waiting on? Hurry up. Find someone. Why are you so picky, Stephanie? 

Stephanie knows it isn't about being picky. It's just that there is always something that just isn't right. Somehow when she starts seeing a man, there's something, some piece that doesn't work. It's been that way since high school.  

Wearing purple lace thong panties and a matching bra, Stephanie riffles through her closet. She's on the phone with a girlfriend.  "I don't know what to wear. I'm meeting Robert. I can't wear the same thing as last time."

"You're wearing your jeans, right?" the girlfriend asks. "The ones that look really good on you not the others." 

Stephanie twists around to check out her butt and thighs in the mirror. She stands on tip-toe. It doesn't help. Her legs are short. A tiny bit of cellulite marks the line where the elastic band on panties used to be. She rearranges her thong but there isn't enough to mask anything. 

"Yes. I have to hurry. I'll text you in a minute. End." Stephanie touches the cellulite and starts to cry. Still holding the Blackberry, she pulls out a pair of jeans, dark but not with a lot of stitching and tosses them on the bed. Then, she pulls out a cream colored cotton camisole, tosses it on the bed. Then a cream deep v-neck cashmere pullover.  

She texts: Wht d I wr w the jns & crem cami? Cash plvr V?  
The reply: Y  wht shoes?
She texts: boots
The reply: wch bts?
She texts: sde
The reply: rain?
She texts: no
The reply: G8t. hv fun. Call m ltr.

Stephanie checks herself in the mirror, this time from the front. Looks much better. Sideways. Good. Other side. Good. She wiggles into the dark jeans with very little stitching, sucks in her stomach and zips. The camisole slides over her head without so much as touching her hair or face. Then the pullover, same way.

A quick check in the mirror. Yes. She fixes her make-up. Her eyes are pink, but no one will know she was crying.

Then Stephanie pulls a pair of yellow striped cotton socks with green ivy on the scalloped rim from her dresser drawer, and puts them on. They are soft. She smiles and wiggles her toes. Next she shoves her foot, then jeans into one black suede knee-high four-inch heel boot and then the other.  

She stands in front of the mirror again. Each side. Good. Front. Good. She pauses and sighs. No more tears. Slowly, she twists her upper body to look at her butt. 

She texts: Im tkg coat.
The reply: ?
She texts: Bg Bt
The reply: K

Stephanie rearranges the sheer cream color deep v-neck sweater around her hips. She grabs a three-button black coat from the closet. She slings her extra large black leather bag with the buckles over her shoulder, and looks back at the mirror one more time as she leaves the room. The boots are perfect.

She hits send to call her parents. By the time she gets to the car, she'll be in a dead zone.

And that's true, to some extent.