Friday, September 19, 2008

That Last Luxurious Bath

I’ve crawled through the brambles, face in the mud, getting scratches on my belly like cuts on the wrists of a depressed housewife. The sad lady who popped a few too many valiums, knocked back one too many vodkas, and laid down in a warm tub so she wouldn’t make a mess around the rest of the house. She understood her husband could deal with her death, but not with a messy house.

I knew the lady. I knew her well. She was fabulously wealthy, pockets full of haughty promises, and a head full of fantasy. She tried to buy my affection, but couldn’t accept my polite decline of the offer. She came to me in, what she thought was, my own vulnerability, but which, in fact, was really her own. She was so very terribly mistaken, interpreting my sensitivity as weakness, my silence as need. But I did not need her. Not at all, not by any measure. I required only honesty, and an ease of friendship. She’d forgotten that I carry all those scratches on my belly. They remind me not to follow fools through the brambles, or driftwood through the mill.

I knew her husband too. He was the delightful guy who held her out for scrutiny, and set her up to lose. He was the guy who directed her to me, hoping I would be, for her, what he refused to be. She was an obstacle in his world. A certain kind of liability. He thought she would be a welcome addition to mine. She might have been at one time, long ago and far away, in a place I no longer choose to reside, or even visit. She was lost to me long before that last luxurious bath.

I did not grieve the loss. Nor do I today. It was less a loss than a liberation. And she didn’t really kill herself; she just died of her own delusions.

Happiness is now, finally, within her grasp.