Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Still Me

October 30, 2012
Dear Simon,
Yesterday was the Full Moon and the Hurricane and My Birthday.  Also, the Boatman’s father had heart palpitations.  He got dizzy and sweaty and he almost fainted.  His heart isn’t beating at the right rhythm.  It beats too slow, or else too fast.  My father had the same thing.  Neither of them will die.
The last time I saw the Boatman’s father was at a party at their big beautiful house.  The Boatman was late and his mother complained.  The Boatman’s father snapped, “Kathy, he’ll enjoy himself here more if he finishes what he’s doing.”  By the time Robbie arrived, the Boatman’s father felt better but he was drunk.  Robbie brought the Big Black Dog and the Boatman’s father was happy to see them both.  The Big Black Dog took a shit on the deck where Robbie was drinking beer and his father was drinking red wine.  They took him to the front lawn where the Big Black Dog crouched over the grass and tried to shit but mostly it was only gas. The Boatman calls this a foop.

 The Big Black Dog, our love and fooping champion.
“Erica,” the Boatman’s father told me when he came inside.  “Isn’t it nice that Eliot can pass gas outside on our lawn?”  It was so nice.
At dinner the Boatman’s father hardly ate anything.  Afterwards we were standing around the kitchen counter.
“Erica,” he slurred.  “You’re so...  Great.  You’re just great.”  I smiled and said thank you.  “And you know Erica,” he continued.  “The great thing is, when Robbie’s at work, you’re still… You’re still you.”  What a wonderful thought.  Five minutes later the Boatman’s father was in bed snoring. 
I’m still me.
Me.  I am twenty seven now, I like the number. I got a job at the Elections Call Centre. The call centre changed my life. Now I feel like a real person.  The Boatman feels like I am a real person too.  Every day we are all over each other, snuggling and fucking and kissing. 
I wrote this letter by hand in an enormous sketchbook. It is covered with old photos and cut up birthday cards that the people with disabilities made for me.  There are also pictures from the Paper Bag Princess that I ripped right out of the book.  Our book if it ever gets published our book may just get cut up and glued onto some shitty writer’s shitty scrapbook.  Inside my scrapbook, I glued pictures of myself and my friends from when I am less that twenty. Mostly I look exactly the same.  There is a picture of me pushing a little boy in a wheelchair.  His name is Glendon and my family and I have been taking care of him for years.  He doesn’t speak or walk or see or feed himself.  When you push him in the wheelchair sometimes he can raise his arm up above his head and wrap it around his ear.  Or if you lean over his head and say “Hi Glendon,” he will tilt his face up towards yours. 

Further on in the scrapbook there is a thank you card from my cousin who got married when he was twenty-three.  For his present, I bought him a garlic press.  The thank you card has a black and white picture from their wedding on the front.  They look like teenagers.  They got married very young so that they could have sex without Jesus getting mad. 
The next page of the scrapbook is a letter I wrote to my pothead boyfriend from a few years ago.  His phone was always dying and that was a metaphor for the whole relationship.  I wrote the letter on white paper and glued it onto colourful construction paper.  Beside the words, I’d glued blurry pictures of myself, dressed up as a hot seventies housewife. In one of the photos I am holding a banana as a gun. Luckily I never sent that letter.

Me in Moomoo, with Banana
Last Saturday night, Robbie and I sat on the couch drunk, and I read him the pages in my scrapbook.  There’s a picture of me in front of the big grey van I used to drive when I lived at the house for people with disabilities.  All the people who I lived with there are surrounding me.  Isabelle is sitting in her wheelchair in front of me.  Beside me Madeleine, one of the older ladies is holding up a fushia sign that says, “Merci Erica On t’aime beaucoup.”  I had just started practicing yoga with Darby and fucking my 11th boyfriend, the vegan life coach.  I hadn’t puked in my mouth for three weeks.  I wouldn’t puke in my mouth for another 7 months.  I am twenty-one years old and I am glowing
“You look adorable,” said the Boatman.  “You look exactly the same.”
The next pages I wrote over a year and a half ago.  Back when you and I were trying not to fuck. I had all these dreams about writing with joy and ease and living somewhere warm and not being poor and fucking someone who loved me and made me rejoice. 
Robbie said that this was all very sweet.  And that maybe one day we will move to a warm place and I’ll write wonderful things and we’ll have enough money to do what we want and see each other all the time.  We’ll go to the zoo, and our children won’t get lost. 
At the elections call center, there was a pregnant employee named Raven.
“Raven like the Big Black Bird,” she said when she introduced herself. Every once in a while, Raven would screech and squawk, usually between phone calls. Raven was being a surrogate mother for her brother’s baby. So she carried her brother’s baby, formed in a test tube and then sheltered from the world inside her uterus. Now Raven has to take time off from the call center.  A fake maternity leave.  She is feeling terrible.  It is a terrible idea to have someone else’s baby.  Especially your brother’s.  I do not recommend it.  Last night, Robbie and I talked about this. About poor Raven and her sad empty uterus. “It’s too hard,” I said.  “It is way too hard.”
“Life is hard, babe,” Robbie said, putting his arm around me.  “But it’s easier for us because we have each other.  And I know I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect, but I really feel like you’re the most perfect person I’ve found so far.  Before you came, I was so miserable.  You make me so happy.  And I feel so lucky to have you.  I do.”

Life on the Happy Stairs.
Life is hard, but it’s not that hard for me. For us.  I feel like everything is falling into place.  The Big Black Dog can pass gas on the lawn, and it’s so nice.  Robbie is at work and no matter when he comes home, I’m still me.  I’m still me, but I cannot wait until I see him again.  The book might be more interesting with some crazy cunt wrecking cardboard box twist.  But I’m not planning one.  I’m happy and I’m finished. 

The End.
Love, Erica.
Small details have been changed for confidentiality purposes.
This is the last letter in the last book I wrote with my ex-ex boyfriend Simon the Hermit. We called the book series, The Little Savage and the Hermit. It never got published, and everyone knows Simon jumped off a building last January.
The Big Black Dog used to be a big star on this blog. He also died.
And well, while we're at it, the Boatman and I broke up and I don't live in Halifax anymore. But I'm still me!

Now it is May 11, 2016. Today I have a meeting with my banker. I kind of wish he was my therapist. I look forward to making fiscally sound choices. And maybe I will visit the Bald Baristas for some performative grilled cheese on the way.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt

Why I am like Jane Fonda

Stuff From the Little Savage and the Hermit:
Soul Fucking
Cardboard Box

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