Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but it’s got me thinking about sex that I’m not having (but want to be having) and people I love and miss because they’re gone.
This year, I avoided chocolates wrapped in pink tin foil hearts and couples snuggled up under blankets. It was dreary. A signature cold rainy night in San Francisco and I wanted cheesecake with chocolate chips and the Oreo crust thing on the bottom. I wanted to have a three-way with Megan Fox and Robert Downy Junior. Instead I had a healthy dinner with my dear friend Waiyde and flirted with our foxy, straight waiter who’s ten times gayer than Waiyde.
Mostly, I wanted to call my Mom. She was the queen of holidays. Birthdays and anniversaries were marked in her perfect secretary script on small checkbook calendars she gave me every year, but her thoughtfulness never rubbed off. I didn’t have her manners or her consistency. When I had cash, family members got presents. When I didn’t, they went without or I simply forgot altogether. Mom never missed a Valentine’s Day and I have a file bursting with cards to prove it.
When Mom died I thought I’d scream and there’d be blood everywhere. I thought there’d be cymbals crashing and thunder. I’d throw a bottle at a window until it rained glass shards and then I’d writhe on the ground, run to the ocean naked and jump into the freezing sea but none of that happened. Not by a long shot.
Death is more like looking at the ocean, waiting for sound that never comes. It’s tired and heavy and still.
I didn’t even collapse like people do. I borrowed my step Dads silver truck and when I flipped an illegal U-Turn, got pulled over by a cop.
“Get your head together,” the cop said and left without writing me a ticket. At the ocean, I sat on a wet log for five foggy, cold minutes and waited for the new me-without-a-mom adjustment to happen in my bones. Would it make me walk different and cry more? Would it be like walking around with no arms? The new alone was more like a big silence that moves in.
The nuts and bolts of losing you took years to sink in.
It’s the small things make me miss you, like these silly hallmark holidays you were so thoughtful and ridiculous about. I found a Valentine you made for your mother out of brick red construction paper with a limp felt heart glued onto a white paper doily. Your overachiever penmanship; another thing I never mastered, said “World’s Best Mother.”
I miss you when I drive away from Humboldt as if you’re the fog dripping off of tree limbs evaporating in the sun. Ann Murray on the radio. Neil Diamond.
In my 70’s leather maroon jacket, I look exactly like you. Sometimes I take it off and set it on the back of a chair, because I feel like being me that day.
I recently interviewed Stephen Elliott on a radio show on Beyond Baroque’s blog talk radio. We talked about the benefits of paying for sex, his book “Donald” (about Donald Rumsfeld) and torture. My sense was that Stephen knows about torture because of his personal, sexual and core experiences. He denied this connection and then backed down, claiming it was unintentional and the book is going to mean different things to different people.
The sex I’m not having but want to have didn’t happen on Valentine’s Day but it’s happened before and will happen again. The problem is I feel rejected by the city of Los Angeles.
In San Francisco, during the golden age of stripping, I had award-winning sex with my stoner boyfriend everyone thought was hot (he was hot) 3-6 times per day. People use the phrase, “fucked like bunnies” but I had pet bunnies named Mork and Mindy growing up and I was a lot hornier than they were. Or, I acted on it more.
The Golden Age of Stripping was also the era of expensive presents. Alpaca boas, fur jackets, Wolford stockings and $300 dinners that went mostly uneaten at Boulevard and Globe. My friend Josie and I had matching cowboy cheerleader fringe outfits made to feature at the Market Street Cinema. We hired a choreographer to learn routines and did pole tricks in roller skates to “Dream Weaver” and ‘Tom Saywer.”
During these masterpieces, I injured my rotator cuff doing synchronized pole tricks and couldn’t drive a motorcycle or carry a purse for months. Three laid off firemen came to all of our shows and held up signs to show their appreciation. We called our act “Pigs on Ice.” Sometime later, my friend Josie attempted suicide, and our friendship became strained. I left MSC and returned to the Century, a club in the Tenderloin because the stage fee was the same every night.
A close friend recently OD’d. I got the call when I was in New Orleans. I’d just run with Greg in City Park. We sat in the Jacuzzi and sauna and talked about my pro Domme website. We also talked about love and non-monogamy. I told him about my friend, J. Back at the law firm, she’d helped get me a job there. When we worked there together, she relapsed. Her steel blue eyes, long black hair, tattoos and siren curves disappeared and she became skinny, grey wind. She liked to shoot coke in her tits. I broke into her office at 8a.m. and cleaned out the bottles I found before anyone showed up for work.
“This isn’t good,” I said, looking at my phone. “People are calling me who never call.”
The strange part is she’d been on my mind and I had just told Greg stories about her.
J and I were fixated on round black licorice chews we scooped out of plastic bins at Gelson’s on our lunch break. She was a great photographer. We met 9a.m. one Saturday morning to shoot photos. She wore her black wedding dress and walked around Sunset naked for her nude series. Her photos glitter with a romance for the downtrodden and macabre parts of us. That homeless woman in the wheelchair with orange hair and hot pink lipstick you photographed on Hollywood Boulevard outlived you. How is that possible?
It’s premature to write about you. I won’t feel the impact of you until long after the memorial all of us are throwing for you. It’s raining now, J. The lightening reminds me of you. My Fendi boots remind me of you.