a short novel by Annie Wood
I’m in the middle of a field, with my arms outstretched. It starts with Robert Downey Jr, then Johnny Depp, quickly followed by Colin Farrel, Bradley Cooper and then Hugh Jackman. They all come raining down upon me from the sky, each one trapped inside their own personal raindrop. I feel like I can catch them all, save them all and then, by doing so, save myself. I reach out my arms, preparing to gather the man-droplets but something goes horribly wrong. They are much heavier than I expected, and it turns out the raindrops are made of glass. The weight of the droplets is just to much for me so I drop them and watch in horror as they loudly crash to the ground. Bradley, Hugh, Colin, all of them shatter into a million little pieces right before my very eyes. All because I wasn’t able to hold on.
I think about crying, but instead...
I wake up.
My alarm clock is playing the same tune it always plays, I Know Something About Love. (I’m a fan of irony.) My recurring raining-men dream doesn’t bother me so much anymore. I’ve grown accustomed to it. Although, there’s always a moment, when I’m watching them slip through my fingers, where I’m deeply saddened. Saddened because I know it’s inevitable.
Such is life, I suppose. I grab my breakfast, which consists of one large chocolate Yoo-Hoo, and put on my roller skates. I remind myself to try a strawberry Yoo-Hoo one day to shake things up a bit. It’s another sunny day on the Venice boardwalk and I’m ready to skate on over to my head-shrinking visit. Why am I getting my head shrunk? Because, I live in Los Angeles. It’s what we do here. Besides, my health insurance covers it and I was curious as to what my subconscious is up to. Mostly about men. I love men. I think they love me but seemingly just in small bursts, then, “POOF” the love is gone. I can’t seem to make a relationship stick. I’m thirty-five years old.
I’d really like one to stick.
Most of my life I’ve been floating about, having fun, exploring. I’m what they call a “free spirit.” If I were speaking out loud now I would have totally done the whole air quotes thing, except I’m glad that I didn’t because that’s played-out. (Still, air quotes are implied.) Because the thing is, as much as I know that “free spirit” is not an insult, it usually comes off the heels of me doing something really stupid like falling in-love with a guy because he has nicely sculpted eyebrows, or falling into an indoor swimming pool at a fancy shmancy dinner party or falling flat on my face while roller skating down Venice Blvd. It would appear that I do an awful lot of falling. Anyway, I know what they mean by “free spirit.” They mean, wild, out of control, arrested development, woman-child, floozy. And, maybe they’re right. I like to make my own rules, which would explain why I don’t have a real job. Okay, waitressing is a real job but not the way I do it. I wear roller skates all day and the boss is a total groovy-hippie-type so I am rarely held accountable for the orders I screw up and the dishes I break (both are plentiful). Roller skating around while balancing plates of grub isn’t the easiest gig for the gravity-challenged, like myself, but it’s certainly not the most challenging job either.
Thirty-five years old.
I like to repeat the number in my head sometimes, Thirty-five, thirty-five, thirty-five, thirty-five. I repeat it to see if it will take shape in my mind and form into something concrete. What does this particular number mean? What did I imagine my life would be like at thirty-five? I’m not exactly mid-life unless I live to seventy, then I am smack in the middle. But my gramps is ninety-five so if I make it that far, I’m still just a baby. My mom died when I was eight so that means she was only… thirty-five years old. Hang on a second… I am currently the same age that my mom was when she died. Whoa.
That’s probably what subconsciously brought me to the therapist’s office earlier this year. My “living in the moment” has brought me smack into this moment, which isn’t horrible but it’s not much of anything, really. I waitress with my female bestie, Debbie and I live next door to my male bestie, Simon. I work and hang out on the Venice boardwalk. I visit gramps once a week but other than that, I’m kind of just… being. Either I’m super spiritual or super lazy. Doc Karen always asks me if I’m happy. I think I’m happy but how can I tell? I’m not unhappy.
Is the absence of unhappiness, happiness?
I would enjoy a relationship, someone to share my life with.
But maybe I don’t get to have that.