"I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves." Ludwig Wittgenstein

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unmarked Border

An imperceptible line runs between love and not love, and it is a gray, ambiguous territory on either side. Sometimes we tread one side, sometimes the other, as if unknowingly crossing and re-crossing an unmarked border.

As Richard pulled his car up to the front of the restaurant to pick her up, Lola opened the car door and gracefully slipped into the passenger seat. Surprisingly, tonight, she felt a kind of gratuitous glow for this plain, yet unusual man, who worked so hard to make her happy, and about whom she often wondered if she really were in love.

Now, as Richard gently smiled at her, and pointed the car toward 4th Street, Lola discovered she didn’t care if she couldn’t quite tell which side of that blurred border she now stood.

Richard calmly eased the car into the right lane, careful as he did so—or so it seemed to her—to stay within the neat white lines of his narrow lane.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Crawlin' Dragin

Immediately following her session with Jackie, Lola met Richard at their favorite Chinese restaurant, in Santa Monica. It was more than both of them could afford, but Lola promised herself at least one good meal, "out" per month. So maybe the Crawlin' Dragon, wasn't the greatest Chinese food, in LA, but it was really good, and the waiters remembered her name whenever she appeared there.

After dinner, their waiter left Lola and Richard with two fortune cookies, one for each. While Richard was fumbling with the check, rooting around in his pocket for his wallet, Lola leaned across the table and surreptitiously switched her fortune with his. She opened the cookie, read the words "The Love of your life will appear in front of you unexpectedly," and immediately swallowed the tiny white paper--downed it, before Richard could see--in one quick and skittish gulp.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Looked Like He Just Shot His Horse

Lola looked at Jackie, “I was so young, and it was so long ago…back in Boston, when I was still a ‘girl’, still in college. During the first few years of school, I must have dated 35 boys, but all of them were idiots, emptier than a bucket with a big hole in it. By my junior year, I’d stopped dating, completely, because it was a totally futile exercise—a little like Sisyphus pushing a giant bolder up a hill, only to be run over, again and again. Believe me, I’d given up any hope of meeting anyone I could really love, anyone really worth loving.

Then, one day, while I was sitting in Harvard yard, it was a bright spring day, and this boy—I still remember that he wore dark blue jeans,a white button-down shirt, and scuffed up cowboy boots—approached me and asked if I knew anything about ‘heroic couplets.’ I immediately thought either this had to be the worst come-on line I’d ever heard, that this guy was completely joking,or that here, at last, in the middle of Cambridge Massachusetts, had finally arrived the man of my dreams---even if he was wearing beat up cowboy boots and looked like he had just shot his horse, to put it out of its misery.”

Stock Feint

In Jackie's office today, Lola settled back into her 'analysand's' chair, which, as she imagined it, felt like a recliner on the first class deck of the Titanic. Lola relished the undivided attention she received in therapy, and she liked the way it made her feel when she talked about her struggles--her doubts and fears---with an intelligent woman peer, even though she knew she couldn't tell Jackie quite EVERYTHING--that would be disastrous.

"I keep dreaming about this man...well, a boy, really when I knew him, back in college," Lola nostalgically confessed. "It's been fifteen years since I've seen him, but he keeps periodically showing up in my dreams like an old ghost. What do you think it means when I have recurrent dreams about a man I haven't seen in such a long, long time?"

Jackie gently smiled, as she deployed a stock feint, "What do YOU think it means, Lola?"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Home Office?

Buck turned off his car’s engine, and gazed for a moment at the red tile roofs that seemed to predominate the bungalows in Jackie’s Melrose neighborhood. A strange uneasiness began to cast a shadow over his previously chipper mood---at least his father would have called it ‘chipper.’ He found himself wondering if Jackie felt entirely safe conducting her therapy practice out of her home? What kind of woman would regularly invite the emotionally troubled, the psychologically disturbed, to spend an hour each week, under her roof? He puzzled over whether it was a kind of brazen foolishness that allowed Jackie to see ‘clients’ in the place where she lived, or if it was a sign of a kind of laissez-faire bravery. Unable to follow this thought any further down what felt like a too-dark mental path, Buck preferred to think it was the latter.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Lola angrily tugged the sheets off her bed and crumpled them in the corner, as if they were trash to be discarded, rather than merely laundry to be washed. She fleetingly thought of Richard, and then, momentarily, about her column at LA 29.

Lola then unfurled a set of new, clean sheets, which, like a topsail, gently descended over the naked bed that lay before her, quiet as an empty hull. She loved the tidy pattern of these sheets, their vertical lines smartly running from head to toe. Neatly striped, in a narrow, pencil-width blue and white pattern, they recalled from long ago, her father’s striped dress shirts: neat, clean, and crisply parallel.

Why, Lola mused, can’t love be like that?