There’s a card in the Tarot, the Six of Cups, that I have a special feeling for. Some cards play one clear emotional chord—boom, happy; boom, tormented—but the Six of Cups shifts around. It’s slippery, it refracts the light differently depending on how you look at it. Some decks attach one-word meanings to the face of the cards (which I hate because that sucks the nuance out) but in those decks the word for the Six of Cups varies in a strange and pleasing way. Innocence. Nostalgia. Goodwill. Sorrow. Pleasure. I like that there’s no consensus on whether this card plays a minor or a major chord. I love the Six of Cups in the same way I love Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which I think remains ridiculously beautiful no matter how overplayed and ground into our consciousness it is. They make the same sounds, they attack the same feeling.
—Yeah, come over.
Ba-dada da-dat-da DUMP
Once, about a year ago, my friend Barbi and I went to the movies. We made a last-minute date and she picked me up at my house and we were both raggedy and undone in our sweatpants and general I'm-not-leaving-the-house clothes, but we were going to Mountlake Terrace where nobody would see us, to a movie theater where they bring you real live food to your seats, so we ate cheeseburgers and chocolate chip cookies and I drank a margarita because I wasn't driving and we snuggled up in our dumb clothes in public and watched The Wolf of Wall Street. I want us to have that same date again with a different movie. (Barbi, I'm asking you right now, right in front of the world and everything. This is like one of those proposals people do at sporting events over the Jumbotron. You'd probably hate that, but marry me for this date anyway.)
I don’t call people enough. I never have, but now with two children I really, really don’t. Some of it is that I’m talking all day. I live with five other people: my husband, our two children, my brother and my mother. I love these people, but that’s a lot of talking. And with children, talking isn’t always casual chatter. There’s a lot of urgent talking, the kind that requires projection. So at the end of the day, I’m usually talked out. I don’t want to use my voice any more.
Whatever. If reasons were wishes, cows would have wings or something. Having reasons why doesn't pay the friendship bills.
I don't know what it is with me and my bathroom, but I can't take a shower or wash my face or do anything in there without thinking about the friendships I've lost. All the dark feelings and cranky thoughts that leave me alone all through the rest of the house swarm me when I go in, and I'm constantly having daydream summits with these lost ones, telling them how it was, asking them why it was, lecturing them, having imaginary encounters where I act like it's no big that they're gone. It's like a friendship graveyard wifi hotspot in there. I'd like to heal these things because it's good for you to do that, but I'd also like to heal them so I could have a plain old shower once in a while.
When we move away from New York, shortly before my ninth birthday, I go visit Allison one last time. I’m wearing a dark red and white pinafore and dark red sandals, and she wraps a lei around my neck and prepares to take a picture of me. So I do the hula, both arms to one side making a wave. I’m smiling in the photograph, but it’s a sad hula. I don’t want to leave her.