by Tantra Bensko
A dysmorphic Lucky Lavaggio travels ahead in time on the Equinox, using her scrying mirror to foresee her future as an opera singer and jilted lover. Meanwhile, a male Lucky Lavaggio battles the void.
Chapter 11: Lucky’s Visit
Lucky Lavaggio goes to visit his mother; it’s been too long since the last time. He figures when he’s older, settled down with a good woman, he’ll have more patience for family stuff. He plans to be good to his mother then, or better, that is. Not that he’s bad to her.
He doesn’t like to see her taking in boarders in the house she had built, with such high hopes of living in just with her husband. Lucky is bringing his wife a present, an expensive, hand-made scarf, signed by the creator. He holds it outstretched in the sun, taupe and white rounded shapes abstracted, flowing in the breeze.
When she sees him, from the window, she waves and runs out to greet him.
He wishes she’d diet. Her pudginess can’t be good for her heart. And he wishes she would let her hair turn its natural gray, rather than dying it black, and wearing it in that retro cutesy style with the bangs. But she is who she was.
A tenant peers out at him, her sharp-chinned long face squirrel-like, framed by ridiculously curly ginger hair. She just as suddenly ducks in behind her curtains, in her room, and pulls the cloth together.
And the tenants’ laundry, which Lucky’s mother always advertised that she did for them as an ingratiating service, was piling up like he had never seen it. He’s never understood how the housekeeper could manage the laundry and everything else. He never knew what she was going on about, in Spanish. Why she never learned a word of English, he doesn’t know.
“I’m so glad you’re here. Come in and have some shortbread. Just the way you like it. I wonder why they call it that? It’s not much like bread, really, is it, son? And it’s not short.”
“I guess I never thought much about it. I just like to eat it!” He gave her a blustery robust hug.
“No, recipes were never your forte, were they? Food is food. God, I’m glad I didn’t have a daughter. She would have turned out just like me, I just know it. I pictured it all the time. What a disaster. But you, honey! You’re everything a mother could want. I’m glad I didn’t abort you after all. In this particular contingency, anyway.” She winks sagely.
“Aw, Mama, what are you talking about? If she’d been like you, that would be great. You’re great, just great.” Hugging her tightly, he promises himself he’ll come visit more often. Maybe convincer her retroactively that way to decide it’s worthwhile giving birth to him. Or to a girl. Whichever the zygote decides. Zygote’s choice. Cheers.
She sets down the tea cup full of ginger tea, and the plates, with pictures of crab apples painted on them, with short bread on them. She sighs and stretches her legs out in front of her on a chair.
His Zygote of origin is turning into either a potential baby boy or a baby girl. Imagining both in clever detail. Both of them living out their little lives. Things are looking a little fuzzy around the edges. Especially the male Lucky. Not looking too good for him at the moment, and the tea he drinks disappears and he swallows air with no oxygen.
* * *
Finally, it’s time to transfer to the small plane. No need to have any handsome men holding the Mirror up for her as yet, because it’s still Summer in that city. Looking into the window’s reflection again, she pats her bangs against their double sided tape, and smoothes them repeatedly. Sleeping against the window has smooshed the hair in awkward directions, and the timing for that is terrible.
The transfer to the small plane is much simpler than she suspected it would be. Nothing interesting occurs at all. She can see the jungle when the small plane lowers to the earth. Great big leaves with red veins and black spiders walking along the edges. Tiny minuscule runway that fades off into the trees, the dark undergrowth. Mosquitos. Sweat. Glowing eyes.
Snakes curled around trees, rising up along the trunks. Snakes hanging down from branches. Multi-colored birds swooping on them, the ruckus of the birds and the snakes meeting high in the tree, covered by leaves.
The plane whooshes into the landing at the tiny airport out in the open, which is quite a narrow path for it. The other passengers begin gathering up their carry-on luggage and shuffling, clicking. She waits until they all step off, pulling down her dress, tightening her tummy muscles, stretching her jaw, pushing up the curl of her eyelashes, dabbing her lips, straightening her back.
She refuses to leave the plane, pretending to have fainted, to give the specially arranged Mirror time to be set up. She argues with the stewardesses. She walks incredibly slowly. Everyone glares at her. Finally, she walks out through the door of the plane, open outward, flowing through it on the stream of her own sweat, glad no one is in the way to get washed with fluidity, whooshed along with the hot river of her self.
She looks sideways as she steps down the last step, at the scrying Mirror that is being held up by the handsome attendant, who has rushed to fulfill the special arrangement with the plane’s handlers. He is sweating, breathing hard.
It’s time for her fate to reveal itself to her now, being officially Autumn. Now, it’s time to see what her future is. Time for the Equinox Mission moment of truth.
The man holding the Mirror is handsome. His stomach is flat. She wishes hers was concave like a bowl. His hair is flourishing onto his neck, his posture rigorous, a good call for a hired handsome. She looks at the Mirror, held in his swarthy hands.
She doesn’t look too bad! She does have curves. Her chin hasn’t started to double, which is pretty good, for her age. Her skin glows. Maybe there is some hope for her future, for love, for opera, for being worth it to the planet to keep her on it. She is in the future, the rolling of the planet telling her so. The Equinox time zone magic says yes.
She feels electricity from the man holding the Mirror. He winks at her! Her future has promise! She wiggles her hips as she walks up to the man and pets the Mirror sensuously.
The man’s mouth goes up on one side in a lopsided grin. He stands closer to her. Her neck must not be too loose-skinned today. Since it’s the Equinox, that means it won’t be, in the future. That means maybe her pheromones are still potent. That means at any moment, some man open to her charms may stand next to her. That means she should stay alive. That means everything. But she trembles, still.
Lucky looks askance at the jungle people. She wonders which are there to do her bidding. She hopes the others go away, without asking for anything or expecting her to smile at them. She has needs. Must Lucky become celibate now or later? She wants to fly to the future of the movement of the earth, to see what that shows in the Mirror. She wants to be a bird, flying into eternal bliss.
She hates love now, as a precautionary measure. Unless... unless the Mirror shows her she actually looks pretty damn good at her next stop too. That could be enough convincing evidence. She’s on a roll. Her breathing quickens. She does buttocks exercises, lift, strength, lift, live, lift, live.
She turns sideways, holds up her breasts, sticks out her buttocks towards the Mirror, pulls in her tummy, smiles to lift the jowls and holds her head high to tighten her neck. This is the future. She lets herself stand normally. This is the future.
Then, she gets in an unflattering position. Or, is this the future?
She hates her housekeeper.
Why are all mirrors not the same, glass a solid, not a liquid, bodies the same until death, love the same until death, death the same until life? Stupid fluidity.
She makes herself at home for a while in the far reaches of the clearing by the landing. She’s on the edge of the wilderness but is not going to be eaten by a snake. She can see around, and the undergrowth is clear enough to run away if she needs to.
The man holding the Mirror leans it up against a tree, puts up the hammock for her, lays down the bag of supplies, and wanders off.
The sound of planes landing lulls her as she relaxes in between the trees in the shade, watching the mirror. She nibbles on squid snacks. She drinks lemonade. Lucky Lavaggio is everything, her Kundalini reminds her, as it swishes back and forth as she swings slightly, breathing in the life force from the trees.
She swings her hammock back and forth across the fluidity of the Mirror. After many planes come in, she realizes she has been swinging in tune to tom-toms for awhile, which are not far away. She sees no one. She hears a high giggle, sees a flash of teal behind a tree. Doesn’t matter. As long as whoever it is doesn’t ask her for money or try to sell her something.
She stares at the Mirror in the jungle, leaning back against against a tree, covered partly by a vine, obscured by mosquitos. She sees something in the reflection of the clear sky: the Mirror, free of the plane, is becoming more fluid in the moisture of the heat. It is sweating, melting into time distortion, and it doesn’t even know how it is shaped any more.
She starts to see... Maybe there’s something about the idea she has been missing, has been misinterpreting. Maybe she is part of the whole. Maybe the whole divides into parts. Mitosis. Maybe she is only in one part. Maybe she is a cell in the whole, and the others are cells in the whole, and she doesn’t have to be them. She can just be part of the overall organism. She can have hard edges to her cell. Halleluiah.
She decides it’s time to celebrate with a shot of vodka in the lemonade. Her swing quickens. She doesn’t have to be those people, stupid, stupid people! She decides we aren’t really ALL ONE. Forget that! She can be she.
They aren’t all her, exactly. They are all parts of one. And so is she. But not the same part. The parts can have little compartment dividers. Just as cells inside an organism have walls, she also has soul cellulose, has fibrous walls, yet she can still let nutrients, sodium, potassium, flow through the tiny holes in the walls. That’s it, just ions, just electrolytes, not her identity. If the identity of cells becomes compromised, to become one with the whole, that is not health.
Yay! Yet... she is the garbage collector. She is the pediatrician. She is the soldiers. She plays with dolls of herself. She knows it. She just does. Sigh.
They are all the same cell, according to Planck, are they not? Planck’s constant won’t stop haunting her that easily. She kicks her legs and spills some lemonade on her dress. She wipes it off with her wrist, and licks her wrist.
The handsome Mirror man returns and insists he call a cab for her before she dehydrates in the heat. She looks in the Mirror and sticks out her breasts, and pulls them up, to lengthen her tummy. She nods, OK.
She tells the cab driver nothing. Neither does he ask. She stays in a civilized hotel, safe from bedbugs because of the attentions of the housekeeper gave the suitcase lining. She looks in the mirrors of the hotel, where time is different, because of the rotation of the earth relative to the flight of the plane. She still looks good. Her cells start buzzing. Her metabolism starts working overtime. The narrow mirror on the door, and horizontal one in the bathroom. Those don’t count. They are never good.
Lucky slides into the bath at the hotel. She remembers what it’s like to want to be pretty enough to consider making love. She spreads out like warmth in the tub. Her skin has little pores in it, everywhere. She loves them all as if they were her own children.
Listening to a recording of an opera she sang in, she imagines a beautiful man in a desert, coming up to her carrying a bright flower. He puts the flower inside her spine. She spreads out into the continuum. She is flowing warm liquid blasting white. When she sleeps, Kundalini dreams her.
She wakens the next morning water-shriveled, but feeling unusually sensuous, even at the airport, and on the crowded plane. She softens down into the seat, feeling sensuous. Being love. She will fly that day day to the desert farther into the future time zones, to look into the Mirror there. The seat is plush, gray, and gray is OK, and she lifts up her skirt to feel it against her thighs.
Lucky turns to the businessman sitting next to her on the plane, who ignores her. He looks straight ahead. She wants to do her facial exercises, jutting her chin, lengthening her neck, pulling up her jowls. It makes a big difference when she looks in the mirror, as to which future she feels she is resonating with.
She imagines him startled by her face going suddenly sideways and up, the fluidity of her features unnerving any but the most stalwart. She giggles. She distorts her face in the best exercise of them all, which always makes her laugh in the mirror. She pulls her chin toward her vertebrae, makes an overbite, lifts up the corners of her lips, and pulls the corners of her forehead together.
She turns to face the man to her right, who is wearing a gray jacket. Some dots on it are white, some black, and some are holes. She stares at it, waiting.
He fumbles, and his hands start jittering. She gives a tiny nudge of his arm, moving hers just slightly on the arm-rest. He keeps staring a second or two, then turns to face her. His laugh is almost operatic.
Copyright © 2014 by Tantra Bensko