MORNING by Suzy Devere

July 24, 2008

“Okay, there’s the rub,” I thought, rolling over and trying to open my eyes. But the light was so fucking annoying.  Too bright, like an x-ray sizzling through my brain.  Louisa was pulling back the curtains and it was hellish.  I drifted back out to sea.

“Ms. Suzy, Ms. Suzy.  I’m sorry but chu tole me no to let chu sleep today pas lunchtime.”

Louisa’s voice was hovering and mothering, almost as annoying as the light, but for her I pulled it back to shore.  She loved me.

“Yes, yes.  Thank you, Louisa,” which, I can honestly say I meant, but not for waking me up; who gives a shit about getting up?  I could’ve slept till California sunk into the sea.  No, what I was thankful for was that she was there, making sure I wasn’t dead.  And if I was?  It was reassuring to know she’d be the one to find me first.  Louisa, my hero.

“Could you check with Anthony downstairs to see if a package from Rupert Flynn came?” I said, not very nicely, eyes still less than half-mast. I wanted that package.  Been waiting for it for days.  It was the Will with new appraisal values, blah blah.  I didn’t give a shit about the stuff, but I also didn’t like the idea of fuck-off lawyers and my uptight, slit-stitched, step-mother taking it all without a fight.  Fatty said his lawyers would take care of it if I wanted.  I told him to ask someone else because I wasn’t talking to him.  Couldn’t hear him. 

“Is that a dog I hear barking somewhere in the distance?” I’d said angrily, cocking my head to one side, pretending to listen to something far away.  He shut up.

The truth is I didn’t want him to see what I was all about.  He had his ideas about me, and that was fine, but they were only ideas.  In much the same way I had my own ideas about me, and I didn’t want anything—especially not facts—telling me otherwise. Lord, I didn’t want to have to look into Fatty’s eyes and see “understanding” or “empathy” or any of the other sad-sack things that show up in people’s eyes when they think they really have you pegged.

Ugh. It wasn’t his fucking business, my father’s affairs, you know? 

Money—the spending of money and the owning of things, any things, not just rich / poor bullshit—can tell someone more about you than you know about yourself.  This fact being the one true thing I felt sure of—that my father’s estate would tell others who I really was—made me feel sick. From the first day I’d heard he was dead I knew I’d rather lose it all, the money, the things, than have full disclosure to deal with. 

The other thing I knew was that people react to things in weird ways.  Fatty could read the Will and decide I should be on my own without his help, financially and physically, and that would be bad.  It was his constant bullshit and my hatred, channeled all towards him, that pushed me through the days. Lucy had long disappeared, and I hadn’t really done anything for years but fuck people, dance a little, spend a lot, and get loaded.  Didn’t want to rock the boat.

By the time Louisa dutifully came back, bulging brown envelope in hand, it was nearly two o’clock and I was still unwashed, undressed, and unimpressed by what the day could hold.  She looked at me strangely, like an investigator.

“He say hello to chu, and he tell me chu need to come to take a walk.”

“You tell him thanks for the tip, and to take his own walk.”  Louisa winced but said nothing, just as I expected.  Talking about the staff to other staff, no matter how different their positions, was always a bad idea.  They didn’t like it.  Made them feel insecure, even though for a moment they also felt privy to insider information, which made them feel superior.  It still was bad form, one of those no-nos of the elite.  I’d never been comfortable with having staff.  It was the staff that were high-maintenance. I couldn’t be bothered too much to watch my tongue for anyone, especially not the kitchen help.  Make me a fucking omelet and shut up while you’re doing it.  Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, Anthony was well intentioned; a good doorman but a little on the nosy side with a touch of desperation to him, a pleaser.  I hated kiss asses.  Therefore I really hated Anthony, but knew I shouldn’t.  He didn’t deserve it.  He was hired to fill a spot no one could win in.  No one was James.  Old James wouldn’t have made a comment on my personal habits, or anyone else’s in the building, for a thousand bucks, and that was his old-school training comin’ through.  Anymore the doormen in Manhattan were pompous asses with greasy palms, control issues and bad hair.  Could I blame Anthony?  He was just trying to look after the girl / lady / person who never came out in the daytime except with dark sunglasses and flip flops to go walk somewhere that always took the same amount of time:  29 – 36 minutes.  That’s how long it took me to get to the Food Emporium on Third Avenue to buy cigarettes, a Klondike Bar or Peppermint Patty, and the occasional E.P.T. Home Pregnancy Test.  Other than that, why travel?

Now I was standing, Louisa pouring my coffee twelve inches from my face like I was a baby, and I wanted to throw up.  I’d been feeling sick for days but I always felt sick, except when I was high so who could know?  Fuck all, she was looking at my face closely now…

“Louisa, move back.  Spit it out already.  You’ve been staring at me for twenty minutes.  What’s the matter?”

“Ms. Suzy chu no look so good,” she said with an embarrassed shake of her head.  “Chu look…” she made a strange face I’d never seen before, “Chu look blue.”

Mother of God.  Blue?  What the hell was that supposed to mean?  Of course I look blue.  She’s brown and I’m “white” but we all know that means I’m blue when my skin hasn’t seen sun for a while. 

“I’m just pale.  You know that,” I growled.

She shook her head and her eyes got wide.  I could tell she was weighing her words carefully.  That was what began to freak me out.

“No, Ms. Suzy, chu look blue like something left chu.  In chour face.”

Shit.  Maybe this was the end?  Maybe I was finally gunna’ die?  Either that or I was pregnant.  Same thing, I figured.  I told Louisa to go shopping.  She asked for what? I told her to think of something.  She knew that meant I really wanted to tell her to fuck off but that I was behaving nicely.  She got the drift and got lost pretty fast; I think she knew that I wasn’t right in the head.  Well, I never was…but that this time something was really different.  Really wrong.  After she left I moved in slow motion to the guest bath where I proceeded to vomit blood and coffee, held an E.P.T. stick in my piss for five seconds and then laid it flat on the gray and white marble sink while I went back to bed.  Tomorrow Louisa would find it and tell me what it said.  Although she couldn’t read English, she read those tests better than me.  Happily, I washed three pink pills down with a shot of Woodford Reserve and hey, lights out.

—Suzy Devere

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One Response to “MORNING by Suzy Devere”

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