Monthly Archives: August 2018

Dogged Ma; chapter twelve, part one

  Chapter Twelve; Part One

“Liz!  What are you doing here?”  It was Friday night, and my sister had shown up unexpectedly.  Again, she got into the building without me buzzing her up.  This was happening more frequently than I liked; I reluctantly decided to call the landlord first thing Monday morning during my prep hour at school to take care of it.

“Are you going to let me in?”  Liz asked waspishly, taking me by surprise.  She was the easygoing one in the family, the sister quick to jump in when others were fighting.  I’d never heard an edge to her voice.  Until tonight.  “I took the bus to see you, so the least you could is let me into your apartment.”

“Come in.”  I stood aside, watching Liz as she entered.  She had cut her waist-length hair so that it fell just slightly past her shoulders in a shag cut.  It looked cute with her pixie face and pointed chin, but my mother must have had a fit when she saw it.  She thought girls under thirty should have long hair.  Liz was taking her time removing her shoes, so I was able to study her more carefully.  Always the thinnest of the sisters, she was almost gaunt now.  She was wearing jeans which hung on her slight hips and a fitted top that was loose as well.  She’d never had big boobs to begin with, but now they were nonexistent.  There were dark circles under her eyes, and she looked exhausted.  I vowed not to get into it with her, even though I knew why she was there.  She dumped her bag by the door, waiting for me to make my overtures.

“Would you like some tea, Liz?  How about some chocolate chip cookies?  They’re your favorite—triple chocolate chunk cookies.  I made them a few nights ago.”  I observed her closely as I made my offer as I was beginning to form a suspicious thought.

“Ew, no,” Liz said, wrinkling her nose.  “Do you know how many calories are in one of your special cookies?  A zillion.”  She straightened up and flashed me a wan grin before hugging me.  It was like hugging a skeleton, and it creeped me out.

“Are you dieting?”  I asked sharply, pulling away from Liz and holding her at an arm’s length.  Her cheeks had hollowed out, and there was a pinched look about her face that hadn’t been there before.

“Just a little,” Liz admitted, not meeting my eyes.  “After Scott dumped me, I felt I needed to get into shape.  You know how it is.”

“You were already in shape,” I pointed out, steering my sister to the living room.  I waited for her to sit before continuing my interrogation.  “What did Scott say to make you feel you needed to lose weight?”  Inside, I was seething.  Scott Jorgenson was a football player with a raging ego.  He was known to blow through the girls like they were nothing.  I had met him once and had been less than impressed.  He and Liz had dated two months before he dumped her.  Since I hadn’t heard her complain, I’d assumed she’d been fine with it.  Big mistake.  Liz didn’t talk about her problems to anyone, which was why she’d struggled with an eating disorder for the last ten years.

“He just said, you know, that I didn’t look as good as I had when we started dating.”  Liz tried to say it casually, but her tone was brittle.  I wanted to hunt down Jorgenson and slice his nuts off.  He was also known to be extremely nasty when he broke up with a girl, probably because of his guilty conscience.  I would bet the fact that Liz wanted to remain a virgin until marriage had more to do with his dumping her than her looks.  “He’s right, you know.  I gained a pound while I was dating him.”  Scott was six-four and almost two-fifty—not all of it muscle.  He was not one to talk about gaining weight, let me tell you.

“Liz, that’s nuts, and you know it.”  I was blunt because nothing else worked with my sister.  Our family had learned through long, hard, painful experience that the only way to even hope to get through her obsession was to be honest to the point of rudeness.  It jolted her out of her trance.  “You look like you should be in a concentration camp.  I bet you’re blacking out again, aren’t you?”  Liz hung her head but didn’t answer.  “Wait right here.”

I left the room before she could respond.  I went into the kitchen and rummaged through my fridge.  Fortunately, I had some leftover noodles and soup from Bona.  Pho, with beef.  My favorite, and one of hers as well.  I heated it in the microwave while pouring a glass of skim milk.  I knew it would be better if Liz had whole, but all I had was skim.  She wouldn’t put up as big a fight if it was skim, anyway.  I grabbed a banana, too.  I put everything on a tray, including utensils.  I grabbed two cookies and placed them on the tray as well.  I’d be lucky if she ate one, but I’d eat the leftover cookie if she didn’t.  Now, I just had to wait for the soup to heat up.  When it was ready, I poured it in a bowl and carried everything back into the living room.  Liz was slumped over on the couch, her eyes closed.  I set the tray on the coffee table and sat next to Liz.

“Liz, wake up.”  I nudged her gently in the ribs, not wanting to bruise her.

“Huh, what?”  Liz opened her eyes, blinking in confusion.  “Where am I?  What happened?”

“You must have blacked out for a minute,” I said, concealing my sadness from her.  I’d been doing this song and dance with her for the last ten years, on and off.  I couldn’t understand how such a beautiful, intelligent girl could be so stupid.  “Here.  Eat this soup.”  I placed the spoon in her hand and closed her fingers over it.  “Now.”  My tone let her know there was no choice but to obey.  She knew I’d force-feed her if I had to, though that was definitely the last resort.  Reluctantly, she spooned a tiny amount of the broth into her mouth and swished it around five times before swallowing.  I knew every bite would take as long if not longer, but I didn’t care.  I’d take all night if I had to.

Continue Reading

Dogged Ma; chapter eleven

Chapter Eleven

“Delivery for Margaret Wang.”  This was getting to be a regular occurrence.  I had just gotten home from work Monday night and had been about to check my messages when my buzzer rang.

“I’ll be right down.”  I hurried downstairs and peeked at a delivery guy who was holding yet another bouquet of flowers.  “Hold on a minute,” I said as he thrust the flowers at me.  “Will you please read the card to me?”  The delivery man gave me a strange look, but obliged my odd request.

“It says, ‘Margaret, I had a good time Friday night.  Here’s a token of my appreciation for the best night I’ve had in a some time.  Cheers, Ted.’  Look, do you want them or not?  It makes no difference to me.”

“I’ll take them,” I said, smiling at the man.  He thrust them into my outstretched hands before beating a hasty retreat.  I took the fragrant bluebells up to my apartment where I found a nice vase for them.  Not the Lucifer one, of course, as that was in the dumpster across the way.  I set the bluebells on the coffee table in my living room next to Alan’s orchids, and I felt so pampered.  I’d never had one guy send me flowers, let alone three.  Well, OK, two guys and the devil.  But still!  Three bouquets in two days.  Not bad.

Taking a deep breath, I checked my messages.  As I feared, my mother had called numerous times leaving me increasingly acerbic messages.  She couldn’t get over my deceit as she called it in not telling her that Ned was gay.  Considering how she reacted, I didn’t think it was so astonishing that I hadn’t wanted to tell her a thing.  Besides, she was the one who’d hung up on me, not the other way around.  I was tempted to erase her messages and pretend I’d never received them.  I knew, however, that the longer I ignored her, the worse it would get.  After three successive messages from her, there was one from Wind who didn’t sound at all like her usual self.  She wanted to know what happened after she left my apartment, if Lucifer had returned.  I vowed not to talk about the Morningstar with Wind until she got over her unseemly crush.  I knew she would be embarrassed by it once she came to her senses.  In the middle of my rumination, my cell phone rang.

“Hello?”  I answered absentmindedly, still thinking about Wind.

“Girl, we so have to talk!”  It was Ned, of course.  I hadn’t talked to him since he did the town with Ted.  “I have so much to tell you about my evening with your paramour.  Can you come over here to dish?”

“Why don’t you come here?”  I asked, pacing back and forth.  I preferred Ned and Wind coming to my place so I didn’t have to come home late at night.  Neither of them minded as they both liked to drive, and as I mentioned, neither had to get up before the crack of dawn.  Usually.

“I’ll be over in two shakes.  Oooh, I’ll bring some sushi.  That should be right up your alley.”  Before I could verbally smack him, he was off and running.  I took the plunge and called my mother.  At least Ned and sushi would console me after she put me through the wringer.

Continue Reading

Dogged Ma; chapter ten, part one

Chapter Ten; Part One

“We must first fill the room with incense.”  Wind had been gracious enough to come over that night in answer to my urgent plea.  I knew that I had to seal that damn portal, no matter how much I wanted to remain connected to Lucifer.  “We need to chase the bad spirits out.”  She lit some incense—jasmine, by the smell of it—and handed several sticks to me, keeping several for herself.  She started waving them in the air, indicating that I should follow suit.  I did, but I felt ridiculous doing so.  I didn’t buy into that New-Agey shit, no matter how couched it was in Eastern lingo.  Still, Wind was the expert; I would listen to her until it became too ludicrous for me to do so.

“Close your eyes while I say a quick prayer to the goddess.”  I obeyed, my rational mind thinking it’d be better to pray to God in this case.  I sent Him a brief word as well, figuring it best to hedge my bets.

“Mighty Goddess, listen to my pleas.  Help this woman be strong against the influence of the Dark Prince.  She needs your strength—do not fail her now.”  Wind started humming a tune I didn’t recognize, and I kept my eyes closed.  I was starting to feel stupid when Wind instructed me to bow deeply before opening my eyes.  I had a hunch God was roaring with laughter at our feeble antics, but I kept that opinion to myself.

“Now, sit on the floor cross-legged while I set a few things in place.”  Wind’s tone was bossy as she rummaged through her bag.  As she was doing me a favor, I tried not to take offense.  I watched as she took out a heap of sage and placed a bundle in each corner of the living room.  She seemed to think my living room contained the actual portal though I first saw the Morningstar in my bathroom.  She said she’d fortify each room later, but the living room was the focus of her attention.

After she lit the sage on fire, she popped a CD in my player and pressed play.  Some flute music wafted out of my speakers, grating on my nerves.  How could I take this seriously when everything about it screamed hokey?  I tried to clear my mind of negative thoughts, but it was difficult.  I watched in disbelief as Wind started hopping and jumping around the room.  I assumed she was trying to mimic an Indian dance, but the jerkiness of her movements made it hard to discern.  She hummed under her breath to the tune on the CD player, totally involved in what she was doing.  She lifted her hands upwards, beseeching the Goddess to hear our cries.  As she was the only one crying out, I thought she was stretching the truth a bit.

“God,” I muttered softly.  What the fuck had I gotten myself into?  Was I just making things worse with this idiotic behavior on the part of Wind?  Who the fuck knew?

“Margaret, come here.”  Wind’s voice snapped me out of my funk.  I rose and crossed over to her.  She made a new bundle of sage and lit it before waving it over my head.  I sneezed several times, but Wind kept waving.  Just when I was going to grab the shit out of her hand and throw it as far as possible, she stopped.  “Hold this.”  She gave me the bundle before rummaging through her bag again.  This time, she pulled out a box of white chalk and drew out a stick.

“Hey, what the fuck are you doing with that?”  I asked in alarm as she started for one of my maroon-colored walls.

“I have to mark your walls,” Wind explained, drawing a symbol on one of my walls.

“You can’t do that!”  I exclaimed, grabbing her drawing arm.  “Stop!”

“I have to,” Wind retorted, jerking away from me.  I stood back helplessly as she continued to mark my walls with esoteric symbols.  Thank God it was only chalk which could be easily wiped off.  Or so I hoped.

Continue Reading