Idolatry – Pt. 5
Suspended in white, swimming blindly until my limbs give out and I sink like a stone and brace for impact…
A gentle arm embraces and holds me close, enveloped in tender warmth. Embryonic comfort dispels my vertigo and I twist to face my invisible savior. An intimate dance in the ether, wings enfold us in a twirling cocoon of polymorphous release as a distant chime intensifies in tandem with the orgasmic signals broadcast from my every nerve ending until I’m nearly pulverized by the rising crescendo of perfect euphoria —
— my iPhone rattles against the wood of the nightstand blaring out its insistent ringtone. Awake, all dust and sharp edges, I hoist the phone to my ear.
It’s Melinda and her characteristic Sunday morning voice of contrition.
“How you doing this morning, Mel? You alone?”
“Yeah. I don’t remember how I got home but my car’s not here. Must have been one of those guys buying me drinks.”
“It was an Uber driver, Mel. I called him for you on my way home.”
“Oh. Right. Thanks, Sammi.”
“Why are you up?”
“I don’t know. I think I felt guilty. You always have to babysit me. Maybe I have a problem…”
“Mel, lay back down and go to sleep. We all have problems and yours won’t seem half as bad once you sleep it off.”
“Yeah, I know. Thanks, Sammi. I’ll call you later.”
“Sweet dreams, Mel.” Now kindly stop fucking up mine.
I drop out of bed and throw on my robe. Filling a glass with tap water from the bathroom sink, I down it in a single gulp and saunter out to the living room. A mosaic of interlocking rain patterns slides down the glass of the back door and I can see Akaaneh braving the elements with bucolic disinterest from his muddy sentry post. Though there’s an awning over the patio, I opt to take my coffee indoors today. I need to collect myself. For the last 24 hours, the only thing that’s served to dilute the alarming effects of this enigmatic little effigy upon my psyche has been a nagging embarrassment at my own lack of logic in allowing him to take on the characteristics of anything but a piece of decorative statuary. So while Mel ponders whether she’s approaching the threshold of alcoholism on the other side of town, I sit here cradling my coffee mug and wonder if I’m approaching the threshold of madness. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the majority of suicides are performed on Sunday mornings. Maybe that’s why so many otherwise spiritually bankrupt people keep showing up to church each week. It’s not so much devotion as suicide prevention.
I thought about how I’d designed my whole life to be perpetually frivolous and carefree, a devil-may-care attitude that I justified and mantrafied as a celebration of freedom and spontaneity. Two years at Monmouth University yielded a reliable network of weed connections and a cavalcade of one night stands but precious little in the way of credentials or direction. That was eight years ago and I’m no more motivated by thoughts of practicality and responsible adulthood than I was during my senior year of high school. I had never given a second thought to this seat-of-my-pants approach to living until yesterday. Suddenly, my lack of a reasoned template for the future has transformed from a source of smug satisfaction to one of shame and panic. Yesterday, a 30 year old single woman working as a receptionist in a dental office seemed a perfectly wonderful thing to be. Today as rain pelts the skylight in arrhythmic thuds, I wish to be anyone but the aimless party girl imprisoned by her own misinterpretation of what it means to live authentically.
A thunderclap breaks my brooding reverie so I get up from the table and walk outside.
“You’re too hard on yourself, Samantha. You can’t manufacture your destiny.”
I crouch to eye-level with Akaaneh and run a finger over his smooth pate.
“How are you speaking to me? Is there some kind of telepathy between us?” I ask in a foolish attempt to rationalize the incomprehensible.
“Something like that, yes. Our energies are intertwined. For now, I just need you to accept that and stop questioning your sanity. Our friendship won’t get very far if you’re constantly second-guessing its veracity.”
“Why did you ask me if I knew how long you’d been waiting for me? How could you have known about me before I found you in the greenhouse?”
“Our energies are intertwined, Samantha. We’ve always known each other but at the moment, you’ll just have to take me at my word. When you’re ready, you’ll remember things. In the meantime, I’m here to guide you through the gauntlet of voices that will try to dissuade you from living your truth – including your own litany of doubt that just prevented you from enjoying a perfectly good cup of coffee.”
“Did I have coffee?”
“Exactly. Go get dressed and embrace the day, Samantha. When your mind clears so will the sky. It would be foolish to waste such a beautiful day talking to a ceramic gargoyle in your backyard.”