Friday, February 09, 2007

The Liquid Life (installment thirteen)


Elendele says its because she found a bobby pin in my pants, and that neither she nor Saturn wears them.

Saturn says it’s all because Elendele has to have an abortion.

The room and its warmth are stilled in a shivering silt. Recrimination and tears overwhelm the breezy sway of warmer days and subtropic décor, and pink Capri pants.

Not even the crazy coconut, rice pudding, and tamarind flavors I treated them to at Pepe’s could bring them back to where they belonged.

Saturn, currently allied with the oriental mind, thinks Elendele should try to center herself and go with it, which is irrelevant, as long as she is pure.

“Saturnina. Please shut up,” she slices her, sobs her, when the step-sister says she has seen the blue eyes of the baby in the sea of Judea.

The subject of Elendele’s baby becomes a matter of caucus, too. In the low glow of the salon she sucks in enormous quantities of the Maria because, she says, she wants to get the kid going early in life, in case she decides to have it.

She’s just a product of the Twentieth Century Bestiarium. A new centauress with a phone stuck to her ear. A young woman who has loved so much till she is old.

But mostly she’s leaning towards having the termination, as they call it down at the Women’s Health Center. The cost strikes me heavy.

“Don’t complain,” instructs Elendele. “The last time I needed one was when I lived with an up-and-coming bullfighter in Sherry. He didn’t want to cramp his career or his chances of marrying the Vicecountess of Villafranca…We had to fly to London under the cover of night…to get it done…to avoid the white light of the Spanish Catholics.”

As for the bullfighter, she informed, he was later killed during a rash of fatalities in the ring that helped restore dramalogue and popularity to the ancient and deathly dance.

Saturn, upon hearing the story, has a rare lapse of morality and accuses Elendele of having abortions like manicures.

“What if you can’t have babies from this time?” she searches, hitting Elendele’s shudder button.

“Saturnina, please,” pleads the vulnerable mop girl, but the politics of family have come now into play. She only calls her by the full name when they talk family.

“What,” Saturnina pries, “what about the whole little issue of murder and the denial of the gift of life?”

“What kind of life?” Elendele wrenches from her deeper self. “What about murder by suicide, or rushing things before their time? What about latchkey children and health care shortages? Times of limited expectations? Times without trees? What about shrinking childhood years and the genetic licensing of animal life?! I am not your goddess and I am not your witch. I am myself and I am out of control.”

“I myself,” Cortez jumps us all at the inception of her dry cry, “have found certain natural rights out there in nature that say a person belongs to himself and not to society as a whole.”

“Herself,” Elendele edits him lightly, tearfully, because she agrees, and because he has sold her.

The next Tuesday she had that abortion and all she could say was, “I wish it could have been you.”

And I thought I wished it could have been me, too.

“When we walked home it felt like everyone knew,” she prayed me that night, more asking than telling.

I tendered her. “It’s over now. Let’s put it behind us and work at what we were working at.”

And then she said, “Listen. I was so strong, but I’m finished all my pretending. It wasn’t wrong,” she excuses, “but I’m so hurt and I’m so very, very mad.”

Stardust sprinkling of empty hours, though we’re together in the kitchen, warming our broken hearts and hands by the stove. She keeps crying and she swears that this time it’s never going to stop.

She tosses my hand from her head when I try to clasp her curls, and she wets me tearfully, rich in her lemon spite, “Show Schumannn and his Arabesque dancing down the hall to the door. I cant’ take it anymore.”

So I stop all the music in the world for her. And then, maybe her one-thousandth tear sizzles, here on her quivering cheek, and drops without soundtrack to the floor.

“I just wish it could have been you.”

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