The Ride

Big City

1:11PM

I sit staring out the windshield as the bus trundles down South Boul Mich, musing to myself that Dr. G. will be happy to mark one more week of mood stability.  Back-to-back good progress reports feels so unusual and satisfying.  I breathe deeply and let out a happy sigh.

Quiet One, my personality ego, sighs suddenly beside me.

I startle and whisper furiously. “Wha??? What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be out in public!”

She turns an amused smile towards me. “You know I’m a figment of your imagination.  Just think to me.”

Jodi, my id, pipes up in the seat behind me. “Try not moving your lips.”

Jada, my superego, beside her, murmurs. “I told you not to startle her.”

My Pomeranian Patty pops her head out of my capacious bag and grins.   I don’t recall packing her.

The lady across the aisle throws me a curious glance. I clamp my mouth shut and think-whisper. “It’s just that you all never come out in public.. ”

Quiet One glances out the window at the passing greenery. “I wanted to talk to you.”

Jodi leans forward and whispers in my ear. “She’s coming out.”

I blink.  This is total news to me.  “WHAT?”

Quiet One turns and glares at her.  “Didn’t you promise to not eavesdrop and zip it?”

Jada tuts.

Patty shakes her head.

Jodi slumps in her seat, arms akimbo.

Quiet One continues. “Judi, we need to talk about you and me – our relationship.”

I tense slightly.  Did we have relationship problems?  I don’t really know because my ego is an enigma to me. I can’t recall much of our past together and well – she’s so damn quiet.  She resembles a younger, thinner, wiser, smarter version of the ideal me.  Her image seems to brighten or flatten according to my mood like a lights on a dimmer switch.  Apparently, today my mood is fabulous because Quiet One looks vibrant in a bright orange tropical sundress and Jackie O. sunglasses.  I notice the other two wear sundresses as well, but not as loudly as Quiet One.  I look down at my white capri pants and t-shirt.  Apparently my personality trio is going places. Even Patty has a bright green wee scarf around her neck.  Need to step up my game.

I clear my throat. “So, what do you want to talk about?”

She pauses briefly.  “I want to tell you about me – who I am.”

I perk up.  “Oh, I know who you are. You’re my “ego.”” After all, if the other two were id and superego, by process of elimination, what’s left.

Jodi pipes up again.  “Judi’s sooo Freudian, isn’t she?”

Jada elbows her silent.

Quiet One sighs.

Patty chuffs.

Quiet One demurs. “Nope.  I’m not part of that Freudian psycho-sexual dynamic. I’m more than your sense of self – I’m something higher.  I embody the sense there’s something more outside of yourself, bridge the gap between the isolation within and the greater focus without.  I kept you going when during the worst, because somehow you knew things could get better – would get better.  That was me. I embody your aspirations, passions, striving – I’m your higher self.”

She glances back at her compadres. “It doesn’t mean I’m better than you two, just that I’m another interpretation of a different aspect.”

Jodi nods. “Very Jungian, you know.”

Jada nods. “Exactly.”

Patty stares at Quiet, clearly impressed.

I stare too. All I can say is: “Wow.”  My mind is a whirl. I can a thousand questions if only I can formulate them.

Quiet One continues. “So, since we’re getting to know each other again, I think I need a real name.”

Jodi practically bounces in her seat. “Oh, this will be fun!  Well, we all have four lettered names and use all the vowels except “e” and “i” in the first syllable.”

Jada frowns. “What does that leave? “Jidi?” “Jedie.”

Jodi thinks. “Jedi?”

Quiet One objects. “Nothing resembling Jedi. Jodi will make Star Wars jokes the rest of my existence.”

Jodi turns a toothy grin to her.

Patty smiles.

We’re all silent as the bus slides past the lunching crowd on the steps of the Art Institute.

I interject. “Don’t like “Jill.”

The two throw out more. “”Jillie?””

Quiet One turns to me and smiles brightly. “Julie.  My name is Julie. The closest thing to you Judi in more ways than one.”

The bus arrives at our stop.

Julie winks, rises and heads for the door. “Time to tell Dr. G.”

 

Merry Christmas Eve

Home

8:30PM

I lie back on the couch patting my stuffed belly and gazing contentedly at my two chums, Elsa and Trinalin.   Santa Trinalin passes out the presents from under the twinkling tree.  Fake embers glow not too unconvincingly in the fireplace.  O Holy Night plays from speakers on the mantle.  Patty lies on the rug, watching us fling wrapping about.  A scrap falls across her nose.

Elsa hums to the music. “Have we heard this before?”

I shoot her a look.  “Maybe…”

I open a packet containing a collector’s edition of Rolling Stone’s magazine with Thorin on the cover.  Entertainment Weekly with Thorin.  The Hobbit storybook – more Thorin.  I sense a pattern and smirk at Trina.

Trinalin grins.  “It’s so good to feed your fandom for once, Judi.”

I feel a slight cringe and am not sure why.  They both know that I blog and about whom. What’s the problem? My inner trio, id Jodi, supergo Jada, and ego Quiet One, all chuckle.

Jada sighs and rolls her eyes.

Jodi whispers. “Fangurrrrrrrrrrl.”

Quiet One giggles.

Elsa seems to read my mind, smiling knowingly.

The playlist offers up a another version of O Holy Night.  Uh oh.

Trina smirks. “I’m pretty sure we’ve heard this before.”

I blithely ignore her.  More wrapping paper flies.  It’s a 5 inch Thorin action figure.  My 50+ year old self is ridiculously pleased.  I rip him out of the packaging and play with his little Orcrist and dagger.

Jada inspects it.  “Oh, all his parts move!”

Jodi guffaws. “All?  Are you sure? He’s kind of small. Is he fully functional?”

Quiet One giggles.  “Hey, his cloak moves too.”

I can’t help myself.  I’m 9 years old again, playing with my Skipper dolly.  I furtively lift the cloak and peer under.

Trina catches me and laughs.  BUSTED.  She snaps my picture and tweets it.  Me and my little Thorin doll.  Sigh.

O Holy Night dials up a third time.  Damnit.

Both Elsa and Trina pounce. “So, got any other Christmas music or what?”

I protest.  “Look, I only had about 36 versions when I checked.  Last year.”

Jodi is ever observant.  “Say, we’re missing Rudolph in here.”

Jada nods. “Yes, you haven’t had him sing this year.”

Quiet One chuckles.

I fetch Rudolph from the den.  He’s an animated red-nosed reindeer that sings tunes from the beloved Christmas special from my childhood.  I activate the singing by squeezing his ear.

Rudolph suddenly sings in a deep baritone. “Are you going to laugh at my nose too?”

We all blink at the not so childlike sounding little reindeer.  His batteries have run down.

Trina shrugs.  “Well, guess his balls have dropped.”

I gape at Trina.  “What! You’ve just ruined my childhood!”

Everybody bursts into laughter.

***

Merry Christmas Eve, all.

Here is an excerpt from the special.  Enjoy.

 

No Title

No Description

Postcard from the Edge

I lie on my bed replaying the same game of Spider Solitaire on the iPhone. Their voices rise and fall in the next room. My personality, id Jada, superego Jodi, and ego Quiet One have been warring since it arrived. I’m resolutely indifferent. Let them sort it.

Patty lies with head on paws beside me, just within reach. She watches me intently, but I ignore her.

My fingers tap the screen, undoing moves. I’m determined not to break my winning streak; a superstitious dread of the probable deadlock has taken hold. I’ve never been superstitious. Is this a new thing?

I sense another presence beside us but still don’t look up. Jodi’s voice rises again as she angrily berates Jada, her voice cracking with emotion. Jada murmurs calming words. Happy go lucky Jodi? This doesn’t bode well. The silence stretches as the visitor waits patiently for my acknowledgment. I sigh, knowing I can’t win.

I glance finally at Quiet One. She sits regarding me, her face unreadable. Her kimono has changed from a colorful motif to a disturbing plain gray. Suddenly, I feel inexplicably small. Not able to hold her gaze, I stare at the small screen in confusion.

Quiet One arm reaches across me; clearly she’s petting Patty.

She says simply, “she’s afraid of losing her freedom.”

Patty sighs.

My eyes closed as if to blot out everything. Jada has been upset since I refused to read the postcard they received. I resent her histrionics. I’m afraid too; I dont want any message from him either. I imagine Winston returning, running as fast as his doggy legs will carry him. Sending a postcard to make sure I wouldn’t miss his arrival, the little bastard.

Quiet One pauses and says with a hint of finality in her voice, “we can’t do this without you.”

I sigh, resigned. Indeed, they can’t. Progress will stall until I accept my fears. What if  Winston comes back?

Party sits up. She has the postcard in her mouth. Finally, I reach for it.

It starts, “hi” in dark crayon. This isn’t Winston.

“I’m struck by the crude, barely formed letters and imagine her tongue stuck out in concentration, little fingers gripping the crayon as she struggled with her first letter.

“whar r yu? I ned to see yu. Im skard! plees kom. luv judy.”

It isn’t Winston causing havoc but Little Judi, the small me, the ever present remnant from my past. Driven by memories and fears she is too young to understand, she reacts viscerally to events happening to my adult self. The latest salvo has rocked her apparently. I’d forgotten her. Again.

Jada and Jodi join Quiet One at my bedside. They will me to be strong and pull myself together. Closing my eyes again, I inhale deeply.

Patty licks my hand and I stroke her soft fur. Time to carry on.

They wait.

I”ll talk to her, I say.

I end the game with a few taps.

The transition continues.

 

Daydreaming, or How to Be Unproductive on An Afternoon

I rise slowly from the buff arms of Morpheus in faint regret.  He smells so springtime fresh.  Who knew?  Pulling the pillow closer, I try to catch a few more winks but it’s no use.  My eyes open and scan the bedding.  Snowy white pillow.  Snowy white soft duvet flowing to mahogany posts – wait, snowy white linen? I can hardly get my laundry done once a month.  This isn’t my room.  I sit bolt upright.

Jada, my superego, sitting on one side of the bed, sighs.  Jodi, my id, adjusts her flowing skirt. Quiet One, my ego, stares apparently engrossed with something outside the bay windows.  Something leafy green rushes past.

Jodi grins widely.  “You really do like to nap, don’t you.”

I groan.  “Ohh, not you again.”

Jada fiddles with her matched cream two-piece sweater set. “You know you’re supposed to meditate instead of nap.  It’s not good to throw off the schedule.”

I open my mouth to ask what schedule but stare harder at Jada.  She still looks prim, only expensively so.  Two strands of pearls, gray Anne Klein skirt – I peer over the bed’s edge – yup, Ferragamo pumps.  Jodi wears a vividly orange retro ’50s couture number paired with some strappy gold Jimmy Choos.  A flowing intricately painted silk kimono wraps Quiet One.  Whoa.  My psyche has come up in the world.  Another leafy green blur rushes past the window.

I eye the baby blue patterned wallpaper and tastefully coordinated rug and drapes.  “Er, where the hell am I?”

Jodi sighs impatiently.  “You’re in your own bedroom, in your own flat of course, just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.”

Jada frowns, concerned. “Oh dear.  You really should have adjusted by now.  Maybe you should ring Dr. G.?”

Quiet One speaks up.  “Don’t worry.  She’s always disoriented when she first wakes. After she pets Patty, she’ll remember.”   There’s a happy yap and the red pomeranian jumps onto the bed and into my lap.  Good grief, she’s groomed too.

I gape at the suddenly chatty Quiet One.  She turns her head slightly towards me, a faint smile on her lips. Instead of hanging back in the shadows, she’s lit by the afternoon sun.  There’s a curious look of expectation in her eyes.   This is new.  Patty nudges me for attention and I pet her.

Jada adds a prompt.  “You’re in London.  Remember?”

London? Panic suddenly rises.  I’m in London and don’t remember?  Frantically, I glance around for the only culprit, Winston.

Jada pats my hand.  “Just take a deep breath, luv.”  Both Jada and Jodi look to Quiet One.

A corner of Quiet One’s mouth curves up.  “Winston is gone.”

They all nod.  Patty chuffs affirmatively.

I try to unscramble my thoughts.  Winston is gone. Yes, Winston is gone and everything changed.  I joined life, socialized, exercised, found hobbies, started to write –.

Jodi pats her upswept French twist. “You’re in London researching your second book, a murder mystery.  You were frustrated about the plot so you took a nap.”

Jada chides. “Instead of meditating!”

Shock hits.  A writer?  I’m a writer and a successful one?  I feel breathless.  Could it be true?  I’m distracted but another green blur falling past the window.

“What the hell is that?”

Quiet One’s face breaks into a beautiful smile that lights up her eyes.   She looks content, self-assured.  I’m enthralled.  Do I really look like that?

“Come see.   He’s been pulling ivy off his house all afternoon.”

I leap off the bed, nearly tripping on my red silk pajamas.  Nice.

Looking over the fence, I spot a tall man toiling in the neighboring yard.  Toned muscles ripple underneath a now grubby t-shirt and jeans as he pulls at the vines.  He raises his dark head and I can see light eyes in a finely chiseled face.  White teeth flash.  He sees me looking and waves.

Oh.  My.  God.

Jodi and Jada peer over our shoulders.

Jada pokes me. “Wave back, dear. And close your mouth.”

Jodi smiles wryly.  “Mmmmmhmmm.  I’m so glad this place was a steal.”

I gawp at them, then laugh.  “Okay, I have to be dreaming.”  I wonder what I’d eaten before the nap so I can have it again.

Quiet One stares for a moment.  She arches a brow.  “You do you really want a pinch?”

I open my mouth and then close it.  Hmmmm.