The day was beautiful, the first summer day of spring, and I wandered the streets and enjoyed the warm-weather crowds. This year’s transformation was well underway as ordinary women, who in the colder months hid in thick winter coats and heavy sweaters, shed and filled the streets with unspeakable loveliness. My head twisted this way and that.
Someone jumped on my back, and cold hands smelling of sweet melons clamped over my eyes. “Guess who,” a familiar voice said.
“Donald? Is that you Donald?”
“Donald?” Andrea said, climbing off my back. “Do I sound like a Donald to you?”
I took a step back and whistled. As always, Andrea looked good. She was wearing a red tank top with a red sports bra showing underneath, short black rubbery shorts, red Puma running shoes, white ankle-length socks fastened with red fuzzy balls behind her ankles.
Andrea spun around, holding her arms up and her wrists down. “You like?”
“That I do.”
“Well, you had your chance. But then you dumped me. Now you may look but not touch.”
“You dumped me, remember?”
“Same difference,” Andrea said, grabbed my hand, and skipped as she led me down the street.
“How do you know I’m not busy?” I asked.
“You’re never busy. You wander the streets looking busy, but I know better. And, besides, even if you were busy, you always have time for me, especially when I dangle yummy caffeine in front of you. I have something I have to tell you. It’s going to make your world go all twisty-curvy.”
“You’re lucky I’m a coffee addict.”
“I thought the blowing of your mind would be the greater incentive.”
“Well, I always have time for blowing.”
“And this is something new? Did you notice that hibernation season is over, and my favorite time of year has begun?”
“I’m one of those hibernating bears, remember?”
“Well, I wasn’t sure, since you’re a bear and everything, that you could really see the end of hibernation. You know how when you’re in a bad relationship, everyone and the world knows it, but you’re oblivious. I thought it might be the same thing with bears and hibernation.”
“Are you trying to insinuate something about me and Josh?”
“I wasn’t even thinking about He-With-A-Head-Larger-Than-The-Earth. But if you want to talk about him, I’m all over it.”
“His head is not big, and, anyways, let’s stick to bears. I can’t believe you didn’t think I’d notice the end of hibernation. I have it marked in my calendar because of you, and because I get to pull out all my swanky, warm-weather outfits. And here we are.” Andrea waits in front of Lottie Motts’s door. I reach around her and open the door.
“I thought I only had to be chivalrous with girls I’m dating,” I said.
“You remember that we met here,” she said.
“I remember. And to think, now it’s my least favorite coffee house.”
Lottie Motts was a hard-chair, art-supply-smelling remnant of the hippy movement’s excuse for a coffee house. The coffee tasted of dirt mixed with sweet milk, and smelled of cleaning supplies. Andrea chose a wooden table with unmatched chairs while I ordered the drinks.
“I told you I’ve been going to a yoga class for the past few months,” Andrea said when I returned.
“Yup, you’ve been talking nonstop about your yogurt class.”
I smiled sheepishly. “Yoga—yogurt. It was funnier when I thought it up on the way over.”
“You spend way too much time thinking about these things. Funny comes naturally.”
“So, you feeling more stretchy, Gumby-like?”
“From the yogurt?”
“Umm . . . sure, Gumby-like. But I’m not going to bend over, if that’s where you were going.”
“Once again, the innocent are blamed for the thoughts of the wicked.”
“I’m finding deeper meaning in yoga. I think I’m hitting upon something, something empowering.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, when I worked through the different stages, I arrived at something I think is special.”
“You’ve found self-realization, and have finally realized that other human beings outside of you exist in the world?”
“No, no, no,” Andrea said, dropping her voice into my voice range and a rather pathetic imitation of me. “No other human beings exist outside of my world. You’re all just figments of my imagination. When I walk out that door, you cease to exist until I step back into your life. Of course, you may remember what happened since the last time I saw you, but those thoughts, those memories are all fabrications.”
“I can’t believe how often you try to steal my theory and twist it around and pretend it’s your own. It would hurt, but I know imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
“Whatever. How have you been?” Andrea asked.
“Oh, so now you do care about me. I’m doing well, thanks for asking. You know, taking in the locals, avoiding dogs, drinking too much coffee. The usual.”
“Have you met anyone?”
“Stop it. You’re killing me. Now, let’s get back to this life-altering yogurt class. You were telling me about the curtain coming up on something or other.”
“So good at changing subjects. Yeah, I was talking about overcoming a huge hurdle.”
“You’re so easy to steer, especially when I move the conversation in your direction. And here, I didn’t even realize they had hurdles in yogurt. I thought you sat around and just breathed a lot.”
“It’s a spiritual experience. And what I achieved, it’s amazing.”
“You’re feeling more energetic or something? Last time you were telling me about your vibrating hands. Didn’t I show you how that works? If you hold your arms above your head for a minute and think about Donald Duck, your hands start tingling. And I can promise you that the duck is energy-free. It’s your nerves that tingle, there’s no energy in the sense that they use it in the yogurt class.”
“So quick to judge. Why don’t you let me tell you what happened before you go off to disprove everything as irrational?”
“My mind is an open book filled with lots of rational writing. But for you, I’ll reserve ridicule until after you finish.”
“I appreciate that. What would you say if I told you I can levitate?”
“Like lift yourself to a new spiritual height?”
“No, like lift my butt off the chair.”
“I’d ask you to share whatever it was you’ve been smoking.”
“I did it in class yesterday. It was amazing.”
“Did you feel yourself levitate, or did you see yourself levitate?”
“At first, I felt it and thought it was my spirit lifting away from my body. But then, I opened my eyes and I came crashing down. I must have been two or three inches above the ground. It was amazing. The instructor pulled me aside and congratulated me. He saw it too.”
“Did he try to sell you something? A special class for only five hundred additional dollars?”
“It wasn’t like that. It was real. I lifted off the floor during the thirty-minute meditation session.”
“You can’t expect me to believe that without seeing it.”
“If you told me that you levitated, I’d believe you.”
“Okay, I levitated while taking a dump yesterday. It was amazing.”
“You know what I’m talking about. If you were seriously telling me about something you’d done, I’d give you the benefit of the doubt.”
“Okay, prove it. Start breathing and lift yourself from that chair.”
“It doesn’t work like that. I can’t just lift off like Superman at a moment’s notice. It takes time and preparation and a certain belief for it to happen. I’m not even sure I could do it with you here—your energy is too negative.”
“See? You’re already putting limits on this supposed ability of yours. It’s like saying I can prove something, but that proof only works for those who already believe in it. It’s ridiculous.”
“And you ask me why we’re no longer going out. It’s shit like this that keeps me away from you, you know.”
“So this was a test?”
“What? No, this wasn’t a test. This was something that happened to me that you don’t want to hear about or believe in. It’s like love, dodo, it’s something you have to believe in without seeing because it’s there, and you know it’s there. This is something you’ll never get.”