Dreams, March 10, 2012
After a week, my new roommate arrives. I have carefully left half the drawers empty for her use, and cleared my things off half the desk and dresser tops. The staff come and make up her bed, and we lower the railings on my bed and hers for ease of access. I know my new roommate is an elderly woman, and she might be frail. But when she arrives, she is quite sprite; she has put her things away so quickly I barely noticed.
I am in the apartment next door now, in Grant’s apartment. He will return the end of the week. When he comes home, I see he looks like Clint Eastwood. He wears a soft, forest green shirt. But, now I am disappointed and afraid. He has a new woman with him, an Asian woman.
I tolerate the woman, not getting too close. But one day she tells me what she wants. “When the three of us sleep together, why do you sleep so far away? I want you to sleep closer.”
“I don’t know why I sleep on the far side of the bed,” I tell her. “But now that you said this, maybe I will move closer in while I sleep.” So we are accepting each other, I think.
The three of us are in the bathroom. Our Woman is in the bathtub, naked and submerged, eyes open. I’m afraid she is not breathing. Oh, there, I see she has exhaled some small bubbles. How can she stay underwater so long? Grant is next to me, suddenly pouring water over me; my own shower. As the water hits my skin, I’m in ecstasy. I relish its warmth and wetness. Finally the woman comes out of the bath, and I survey her body. She is so slight, she looks like a girl. So this is the woman Grant has been with. I wonder what it is like for him, to be with her. I feel some jealousy; she looks like I did as a teenager, years ago.
Our Woman announces she wants Grant to take her to have her nails done. I don’t want her to have anything that I don’t get, also, even though I know he is poor. “I need my nails done, too!” I say, even though I never get them done, ever.
“You want me to get your nails done?” says Grant. He sounds put off. Then he confirms it. “It isn’t enough that I let you stay in my apartment for a week? And, by the way, I don’t think it a good idea for you to arrive 3:00 am again. The sound must have disturbed the neighbors.” I’m nervous now; he is threatening to withdraw and take things away from me.
“They weren’t disturbed,” I tell him. “No one was in the apartment next door until the end of the week, until Saturday.”
The three of us go to the nail salon. I realize that I am married to Our Woman, just as Grant is. The salon is too crowded and noisy for me: narrow aisles, overflowing counters, people everywhere. A manicurist grabs my hand. “Short nails,” she says. She sounds disapproving; I’m embarrassed in front of Grant. Our Woman has long fingernails; she wants an elaborate manicure, with many colors of polish.
“Just shape my nails, please. No polish,” I say.
The manicurist takes out a tray of gold and silver fake eyelash-like gizmos. She is painting with them, to determine the best protective nail coating to give me. I turn my head to watch the goings on at the salon.
It’s been awhile since I felt anything happening to my hand. I look back; she is working on someone else’s hand. Another manicurist comes to work on me. Meanwhile, Our Woman is still waiting for service. Another manicurist inspects my face; tells me its flaws. “No, I don’t want a facial,” I say. “I have my regular person who does facials.” The manicurist leaves; I’m still only half done. I see several of the manicurists behind a curtain. I can’t get their attention. I grow inpatient; angry. I look for Grant to tell him the problem. But, then I don’t want him to know how impatient I am; he might think poorly of me.
When I find Grant, still in his soft, forest green shirt — that’s how I can spot him in a crowd — he is not sympathetic to my frustration. I go back to get my nails finished, and find Our Woman. She is still waiting. I suspect she is ignored because she is a minority, and I’m angry about it. But then I realize, almost everyone in the neighborhood is Asian or Hispanic. I am the outsider. I wonder if I can be happy; I feel out of place. What have I done, I wonder? But, I realize I always feel out of my culture, out of my element, and how frustrating that is. Still, I have never been this far away. What have I done to myself, I wonder. Do I stay, or go back?
I can’t find Grant now. I ask around. One old, unkempt man looks at me in a way I know he wants me. He disgusts me. He says he will help me find Grant if I have sex with him. I refuse; he gets angry.
Our Woman and I keep looking for Grant. Finally I see him, getting in a taxi. I run to the taxi, only to find it is a police car. Grant’s not in it, so I take the driver’s seat. Must find him. I almost crash into the car in front of me; I realize I must remember I am driving in NYC, with aggressive drivers. They don’t even respect “Police” on the side of my car. I see other police cars: I’ll follow those and try to get help. No, they aren’t police cars after all; they are Magen David cars and ambulances.
I step on the gas pedal and push the car through, to find the police station. There they will help me, even though I might get in trouble for driving a police car, myself.
Must find Grant.