This is a fictional piece I played with about four years ago. I am about one hundred pages into the story. I am thinking about picking up where I left off. I shall see. It will certainly be fun to visit the pages again, as I cannot remember most of what I wrote. A little treat for me, to see what happens! I find it interesting that the main character, based after me, is so Aspie! Before I knew I had Aspergers… Here is a little excerpt. They make me laugh, these ladies. Indeed they do.
Joy and Love,
Veronica Cosh and the House of Mirrors
by Samantha Craft, all rights reserved
Veronica’s cheeks blushed crimson, the blood hastening full-force to her face, as she balanced upside down.
Her adobe house, thirty-eight blocks up from Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, was currently occupied by three of Veronica’s dearest friends. None of the ladies had missed their annual gathering in fifteen years, except once, when Jane had suddenly eloped and was excused on account of her European honeymoon; and there had been the time Freda was recovering from a hysterectomy.
Even then, after Freda’s surgery, the ladies had all rallied around Freda’s hospital bed. So no one really counted year nine as a miss. Irene hadn’t skipped one of their July gatherings, and she was always the first to notify everyone in the room of that very fact.
Veronica lingered upside down. She huffed as her legs shifted to the left taking on a sideways foxtrot of their own. At the opposite side of Veronica’s sunroom, bubbly Freda, with her thick hair and thick knees, knelt down on the floor with a stopwatch, as fair-skinned Jane leaned in near Freda, clinch-fisted and cheering. “Knees, don’t fail me now,” Freda whispered to herself. Irene, towering over the ladies, stood stoically on the outskirts of Veronica’s silhouette, snorting.
“In my next life I’m going to be an astronaut!” Veronica huffed. She was quite certain she’d kick her dear friend Irene in her bony little knee if she got within reach. Veronica couldn’t remember the last time she’d been upside down. The sensation was powerful. All the unfamiliar spoke loudly to her, the first being the absolute painful hardness of the wood floor. She’d hoped her husband’s sweatshirt propped beneath her would keep her head clean. For a few seconds her thoughts were lost in the idea of germs, of dust bunnies, of small broken leaves drug in from the backyard by her dog, of the wanting need to get up and mop.
Freda’s voice broke out. “Only thirty more seconds! You can do it!” Her fastidious eyes were glued to the stop-watch, her body hunched over like a quarterback. “Handstand Queen! Don’t give up!”
Jane cheered, sitting up so that the freckles on her knees expanded like ink blots on paper towels.
Nearing the end, Veronica’s patience waned. “This isn’t fair,” she pouted.
Irene stepped forward a bit. Still not close enough for a kick in the shin. “You asked for it!” Irene mocked.
Veronica contemplated what Irene would look like with her eyeballs plucked out of their sockets, and on that pleasant thought, lost her balance and smacked the right side of her leg hard against the nearby wicker table. The sudden impact set of a chain reaction: the table shook, the crystal lamp vibrated, and the light from the lamp became a wobbling gutter upon the robin-blue wall. Veronica quickly pulled her legs back up, remaining upside down, and balanced them against the wall. For the moment she despised Irene as much as she despised her free-flowing boobs that had ventured free from their abundant cuppings; and thusly she allowed herself without hesitation or analysis to swear aloud. “Shit, shit, shit!” The words oozed out violently like the puss from a stubborn, over-pressed cyst. And with the release, Veronica’s entire being felt at ease.
Irene watched from afar. She tossed back her dark hair, ran her hands through the glossy streaks, and playfully flung her hands in the air. “What’s this? The mighty queen swears?” she teased coyly. “You do know you are shaking like Ruben had that hyper-thyroid condition.” Irene was a Gemini through-and-through. This was a truth Veronica reckoned with as her legs toppled, repeatedly slapping against the wall and tipping forward before they met their final destination on the cold damp floor. “Crap,” sighed Veronica, feeling the blood leave her face and retreat with gravity back to the rest of her body. “Crap.”
“About ten seconds short of a minute,” Irene announced with a satisfied grin. “Stop. Enough,” Veronica said with her bottom flat on the floor and her legs splayed out. Seditious is all she could think. Seditious Fuck. But she wouldn’t speak of this. Not the F word—at least not in an audible voice. Veronica sighed, a deep hungry sigh. Her appetite set on revenge. Her almost-sober friends moved about in the aged sunroom, some of their feet trailing silly-string and dampened blue streamers.
“Failure becomes you,” Irene offered, glancing about in search of nodding heads. “Remember your motto: You are perfectly perfect in your imperfection.” Veronica pressed down the tangles of her hair and stood up to quickly survey the crystal lamp. She straightened her shoulders, and then carried herself to the other side of the room, finding refuge in the blue-checkered wicker chair.
Freda, still kneeling, turned toward Veronica. “At least you don’t have these rabble-rousing breasts.” She propped up her boobs, grabbing them through her floral-dress and offering out a Jello-like jiggle. “Set free, these here babies give homage to my belly button. I tell you, it’s the scariest thing looking into the mirror and seeing my Grammie’s overstretched taffy boobies dangling there.” Freda cleared her throat and let go of her boobs with a flop. “What I wouldn’t give for a little supple perk.” She stood up straighter, sticking out her chest, giving a slight chuckle as she fishtailed to the corner to retrieve yet another pinch of chocolate fudge brownie, before settling back into an over-stuffed chair. Freda lived for pinches. She would be the first to admit that she collected her life’s bounty in delicate, timed out measured amounts. That is to say, to a point. And once that point was reached, watch out. The way Freda figured, she was still a good thirty minutes before a bounty of brownies was to be had.
Jane clasped her hands over her face in embarrassment over Freda’s boob remarks, and then stretched out slowly curly her slender body onto the floor, the whole right side of her body taking in the coolness. She imagined she was an agile cat lounging after a satisfied chase. She imagined a ball filled with catnip, the yellow plastic type that her childhood kitten would bat with his six-toed paws. As she slipped into her mind, thinking on what was and what had been, there was this welcoming silence, the type only alcohol or the occasional anxiety pill could bring.
Irene stepped over some crumpled wrapping paper and pet Veronica on the head—the mark of the alpha dog claiming her superiority. Veronica smiled knowingly to herself and brushed Irene’s large hand off of her. She knew enough to ignore Irene. Veronica had moved beyond the need to supersede, take control or correct. She understood Irene’s motivation. A reflection of sorts, Irene was: a shadow-side of Veronica that held the parts and pieces Veronica longed to show the world but didn’t quite know how to assemble and display. Veronica was thankful for their friendship, friends since seventh grade, a thread of acceptance and trust moved through their relationship with the fluidity of an unobstructed stream. One friend had always been enough for Veronica, one honest and true friend, who didn’t lie, didn’t cheat, steal or hurt. Seems her life always stemmed out and rooted around the one. And that one in the highly vulnerable years of middle school and high school had been Irene.
“Well, at least your complexion has never looked better,” Irene blurted out with confidence, before touching down onto the lumpy wicker-framed couch. She surveyed the room, first staring down at Jane, then across to Freda, and lastly to her near right at Veronica. The time had come. There wasn’t any doubt. Irene cleared her voice to rouse the room. She licked her lips, tasting the remnants of onion dip. “My dear friends,” Irene announced, taking Veronica by the hand, and raising their arms together. “Let me hear the words!”
On hearing Irene’s voice, Jane pulled herself up, using the side of the glass coffee table as anchorage. Standing, she gave a quick stretch and smile, before moving closer to where Freda sat. Jane found her place on the ottoman where Freda was resting her feet, and once there attempted to erase the brown mascara stained within the creases beneath her eyes.
Freda screamed on cue. “Put your lips together and blow, Baby! Blow, blow, blow.” Freda repeated the words again, kicking her stocking-covered legs up and down like a toddler splashing in a shallow pool of water. Jane tried her best to balance the wobbling ottoman, while shaking her head at Freda and letting loose a flitter of giggles.
Veronica shared a wide smile with Irene. “I wonder what ever happened to Mr. Blue Eyes,” she queried.
“Oh, scrumptious Mr. Blue eyes,” Freda quickly interjected with a Southern drawl. She fanned her chubby face. “What eye-candy!”
Veronica raised a narrow-necked glass filled with deep red wine. “To divine Mr. Blue Eyes!”
Irene, meanwhile, kneeled down in front of Freda and pulled out a small wrapped gift she’d hidden under the ottoman, and holding the present high in the air she cheered, “To finger-licking-good, Mr. Blue Eyes.”
“That’s a definite winner, or should I say wiener?” Freda laughed.
All the ladies lifted their drinking glasses and toasted, “To finger-licking-good, Mr. Blue Eyes!”