Beauty and Bitterfruit

 

There’s something painful about living in a world where the rules have never made sense to you, where the idea of following the rules breaks your own heart, so you start making bird calls in the middle of the night, hoping someone will hear you, hoping there will be someone else out in the cold night singing. It takes so long for it to happen so that when it finally does the other bird is old, and she presents you with a bitterfruit. Like no one you know, she speaks, “We are not of this world.” And you don’t question her, because she holds you in the deep brown of her eyes.

When you bite it, you become the women you always knew you were.

You sneak into parties you aren’t invited to where the beer is cheap and the women are shirtless; you drink bottles of wine in fancy restaurants standing up; you talk about film and documentaries and both the history of it and all the bullshit of what happened to old fashioned picture taking like you’re a famous photographer who has an honorary PhD at NYU; you drink your weight in wine; you stay up all night literally burning your shit in a bonfire with hippies; and you finally start making those blue nude portraits that actual professionals compare to the late Francesca Woodman.

But, of course, the bitterfruit gives you diarrhea and you end up spending afternoons over the toilet bowl, and even so, you still go back for more. Because the calling of the bird tickles you from the base of your spine all the way down the sides of your wings until you are flying.

The bird knows shit that women wish they didn’t know.

You watch her, the bird, lick ketchup and vinegar off of her fingertips at 3 a.m. in the morning as she tells you, slowly slurring everything as if she’s still dancing in circles, “You know in Texas, there, the men, they can appreciate a good southern ass. Here, men are all pussies.” You want to slam her hard against the booth; and stick your hand just under her skirt close enough so she knows what you intend to do; and then take your palm and press hard on her pubic bone; you want to bite her ear and pull her hair; and make her wait.

You know her well enough to know that she wants it the way people want it who burn down buildings, for fun.
And you can bet she’d rather pour you down her throat then talk about what actually happened to her when she was say 16 and got her GED or 25 and fled Texas for New York.

With her, everything moves and moves and moves. If it stops, there is Whiskey sitting in a glass.

This story is sort of about her. It’s also about me. It’s because of her that I always want to lie about everything and I never lie about anything, not really, not in words when a person is looking me in the eyes.

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