February nine, Twenty-twelve.

“…I mean, where in sweet Christ could I have hidden them Charlie?” she bellowed — followed soon after by a loud, distinct BANG against the bathroom wall and a recognizable whoosh fwump, the pair of knobby knees flopping onto the burgundy shag carpet they had both, inevitably, grown to tolerate.

Only half tuned-in, Charlie raised his eyes above the lip of his beloved Heinlein to the pigeon-toed ankles sticking out the closet door. How funny they looked, those long, battered things lying there in momentary defeat; victim to the woman thrown into absolute chaos by the plague of the missing everyday item. Her keys - tossed one Tuesday when she finally broke down and cleaned the Toyota, not twenty-four hours before she would lock her spare in the ignition. And there she would be when he pulled into the drive, like an Ethiopian backbone spread out on the roof of the car, drumming her heels on the windshield, humming show tunes. Or it was a tube of waterproof mascara, stashed in the tupperware drawer when she was already running unfashionably late, and he would find her splayed spread eagle across the kitchen tiles with her head buried under the plaid dishtowels she had, inevitably, grown to tolerate.

“I was wearing them! You frickin’ sawwwww me!” she whined from the floor. “I wore them to the ROM, and then we went to that place around the corner where the dick-bag with the glandular disease spilled his godamnedshitdrink on them, so we came home and I came in here and put them… somewhere and they should just fucking be here!”

Her feet kicked out with indignation on the words ‘mother-fucking’ and ‘god-damned’ and ‘shit-drink’, accenting each profane syllable as if each energetic burst of tightened abs, obliques, pointed toes would give way to a singular moment of clarity.

“…Babe…”

Silence.

“Rhett, babe, does it have to be those silver ones? Can’t it be one of the… other… silver… pai-“

YES it has to be those silver ones! It doesn’t even matt — no… no it doesn’t have to be that silver pair, I have thrice amounts of ever-loving silver shoes and red shoes and those idiotic size 9’s… jesus. You were there, why did you let me buy those things? You know I always Cinderella my ugly sister toes into those things at Goodwill and you let me wander around until my feet go numb…“

Kick, kickkickkick, kick.

“…and I wear them to the counter and they ask me and I of course buy them because they’re bowling shoesssss and so cute and I will wear silver bowling shoes with something! SO cute, even… just a tad bit tight. And I NEVER wear them more than the one time I do, and end up walking around with ’em slung over my shoulder all night, because they look so fucking amazing. Just for the night Charlie.”

She’d flipped over on her stomach by now. Charlie dog-eared the corner of ‘Corrections’, savoring the pages with his fingers as he slipped the book deep beneath the rainforest of throw pillows and shams and padded head-boarding the man at World Market had shamelessly seduced Rhett into with very little effort at all. The second her fingers hit the edge of the Egyptian cotton, he watched her eyes glaze over, head lilt, eyes wandering to the right corner of the endless room and just like that; as her fingers trailed along the edges of the mustard, sunflowered silky things…just, boom. Just like that: she was gone.

Like she was now, on any Tuesday, or Friday at closing time, or Sunday at brunch. Reaching for her glass of forgotten Merlot on the equally pretentious nightstand, Charlie watched Rhett’s toes spinning in perfectly synchronized, alternating circles, tracing their clockwise/counterclockwise path deep into the carpet.

One two. One two. One two.

One after another, his eyes followed her left, then right toes going round and round. Round and round… Charlie just bottomed out the odd stemless wineglass and watched.

This was part of the nightly routine of things, these days: the blissful/reckless abandon with which she threw herself around, ‘round him. The sex in the sunroom, in the hammock, on the 3rd story balcony. The rambling, the raucous, exhausted laughter about the ranting that turned into furious giggling and uncorking of red wines. The blunt rolling — he looked at the arches in her mountain-girl feet and knew that her fingers were working strategically, padding and tweaking her thoughtlessly perfect joints that she rolled more out of fidgety habit than to feed the other one that kept her sleep-deprived nerves at peace.

He knew just how those fingers pulled the joint to her mouth, dragging it thoughtlessly across those perfect, candy-apple, luscious lips she chewed to smithereens and scoffed when anyone made mention of their…fuck… What would you call those things?

Lips put on this earth as a gate to a soul that was put on this planet to kiss and do nothing else?

Perhaps? That’s what those things kissing the edges of her indica/sative blend should be used for. Made his dick stiffen up just thinking about them.

“…but it’s the fucking PRINCIPAL of the matter. They were fucking,”

Kick.

“…in the goddamned fucking,”

Kick. Kick kick.

“…closet or under the fucking,”

Kick.

“…bed.”

Her legs continue to prattle on, feet spinning and dancing about in the air now, crashing down to the outdated plush with every plosive, furious recollection of ‘this world, THIS PLACE’ where things should, but never seemed to belong.

Charlie watched her toes, thinkin’ about pulling the sheer stockings off the tips of them with his teeth.

“…if we had a dog, or a cat or anything that wasn’t utterly fucking horrifying and in a cage in the basement…. I can’t believe I even let you keep that monster down there. Muffin, I will pop a blood vessel or seven if that thing managed to wriggle its way up here and swallow that thing like they do babies in Afri-”

“Rhett, my three-month baby Boa didn’t eat your size giant platinum pump.”

“You don’t know that!” she purred and he grinned deeper into his beard, as he reached over and flipped off the bedside lamp. Still moving at warp speed, Rhett’s conversation was now simmering instead of fizzing, and this — this and the gradual caramelization, the softening, the summer rain that came after; this had recently grown to be his favorite part.

Well. Almost.

Smoke curled around the French inspired trim of the exorbitant walk-in she simply couldn’t live without; now serving as a habitat for a stoner/artist with a fondness for expensive footwear. She got her money’s worth though; Charlie had to admit it. Never in his life had he imagined finding a person so at home amongst piles of boxes and color-coded chiffon. Not worried about the things on the shelves however, quite the contrary. Often, when their silly California king got cold in the early morning he would find her on the carpet, there with her journal, buried beneath the hems of winter wool coats, scribbling away with a roach and a cup of tea.

It was part of the way of things now, these days, for him to crawl on hands and knees into the walk-in with the weird woman he slept next to.

These days. ‘Cross the wretched carpet he would go, eyes blinking and sleepy, into the closet there, where he would drag himself next to her and bury his face in her lap. Without missing a beat, she would lift her moleskin, letting her legs fall from their mountainous position to adjust for his head, and settle back down, scribbling again once. This time however, balancing pen and paper wherever his current position would allow, she would manage to prop notebook in the crook of his shoulders just so, allowing her right hand to carry on, while her left sent him straight back to sleep, twirling round and round in unruly mess he liked to crop but she begged him to keep long, for this purpose. Her selfish pleasures.

Little did she know.

Listening, he could hear Rhett mumbling more softly now, musing about the necessity for the whatever it was she was supposed to fucking be fucking fucking attending fucking whatever anyways. The weed smelled like lavender this week, obtained from some boudjie lesbian dispensary in south San Jose, specializing in buds that looked like New York City floral arrangements. Aesthetic junkies like Rhett were suckers, hooked from the fancy adds in HighTimes Magazine, but even still, Charlie had to give them credit: his three-piece suits and ski-jackets had never smelled like such a good time.

“…if you could come with me, it would be different, you know? Because you are like… a douche shield. It’s splendid. We could bottle you, that, you know. Bottled douche shield? Spray it on and every evil villain in the… if you are a fair maiden, and you are… what if…. Oh Christ. Prince’s are always douche bags too. What the fuck do you do if it’s a prince douche-opoly out there and… I mean, you have no other options. Just throw it all in then, strip down to naked nothing and run. Better to be naked and running, that’s acceptable on this coast, right?”

By this point, he knew exactly how this would go. Taking one more look at the bottom of the wine glass, Charlie turned his gaze across the room at the now listless feet, rubbing themselves aimlessly to and fro and settled himself into the depths of the bed.

To this day, he still didn’t understand how she finagled that one; the queen was a perfectly good size.

Damn those bedroom eyes.

“…barefoot in California could be perfectly acceptable. I don’t even know… I don’t even mind really honeybee,” — this made him giggle like a teenager, the pet names that she slipped into when blitzed and tired — “Cinderella had that lovely beggar prince man who was all about her bag-lady look and she only had one shoe for like, at least 40% of the show. She did alright. I don’t even mind, really…but do you think you could just glance around in the morning? I’m sure you’ll find it like bobsyouruncle and that’ll be that.”

A momentary silence came over the room, in which he raised his head from the pillow, noted what was undeniably the heel of the accursed sling-back by the door to the bathroom and waited.

And sure enough, he heard the sigh. Followed by the assorted thumps, cracking of bones, heaving of muscles and lurching body parts together until Rhett assembled herself, upright once again in the door of the closet. Dragging her toes with each step, Rhett wound her way up to the bed, up to his side of the mahogany frame and put her face close to his.

“Scootch please.”

Charlie pushed himself backwards in the bed, arms extended as she performed her nightly leap/sprawl/heave onto the mountainous frame, a good four and a half feet above the floor.

“You’re only going to get shorter, you know.” He reminded her.

“Oh please.” she sighed. “Break my heart.” Rolling her eyes, she burrowed in.

This was the way of it, these days. He resting his eyes, arms outstretched patiently as the long legged thing next to him kicked the bottom sheets out from underneath the mattress, fiddled with the comforter, rolled this way and that, this way, that way and this again. Fidget fidget, stripping down to the silky nothings she called underwear, as she always did at the end of it all.

And when she lay still, at long last, Charlie pulled her wholly to him. Easily willing her body in the same direction, she pushed herself even closer into the crescent shape he took around her.

“This bed really is fucking idiotically monstrous, isn’t it? Oh I know baby, you said, you said, blah blah goodness. But it’s still so good, come on? You like it, right?” Rhett continued to mumble almost incoherently, just under her breath as she wound her fingers firmly into the side of his hair, anchoring herself in for the night.

“Hey baby.” he interjected softly, planting a kiss beneath her jawbone. Nudging her chin with his, “I think it’s over there.”

“Oh yeah? Look at you.” She replied, purring again. Not bothering to open her eyes, she slipped one of her legs between his, her other arm across his side, pressed her cheeks into his chest and exhaled with a low hum. “Look at you, all fuckin’ lovely and so wonderful and stuff. Goodness. Mmmmm.” She grinned to herself. “Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm.”

She squeezed him then, stretching her neck up to kiss the tip of his nose. And with the brief hint of beeswax and her nose buried, snap, back in the center of his chest, she was gone: off to the place she claimed eluded her most of the time.

Not here in this bed though. This ridiculously oversized, over-fluffed, contoured, feather lined tower of a thing. She slept here, with him and only him in this expensive, excessive California king that he had, inevitably, grown to adore.

And that? THAT was his favorite part.

More than anything. Most of all.

-2/9/2012-