Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Yesteryou Chapter 26


Molly called the hotel room and reached George.  "Oh goodness, Molly, you sound so horrible, are you okay.  What happened?"

Rosie happened into this world roughly five years later than Beth but looked much older than Beth, because of how much time she spent in the sun, and her bad genetic luck, her hair gone prematurely gray by her mid-thirties.  The one conversation she and Vivienne had was mostly about movies.  Rosie had been drunk.  "Whenever a normal person (she meant someone who wasn't homelessly like herself) tries making acquaintances with me, it always makes me think of watching Midnight Cowboy; you now that movie?” 

"Mmm hmmm, it's a good one.  I used to go around telling people it was one of my favorites, actually, but really I love a happy ending.  Now that sadness is passé, I can be honest, I can say how much I like romantic comedies and children's films."  Vivienne took for granted that Rosie understood this type of self-deprecating, dryly conspiratorial intellectual talk, and that Rosie was catching all her cultural references, and Rosie did, she was.  Rosie was all things to all people, always, like Hollywood or the moon.  But she was also an acid casualty.  As they talked and Vivienne shot photos of her, Vivienne gently moved Rosie's head so that her chin was slightly raised, or guided her hands around a bouquet of yellow jonquils Vivienne'd bought at the Farmer's Market, subtly posing Rosie.  "Anyway," Vivienne continued, as Rosie seemed not to talk much but to enjoy posing for Vivienne, "when a 'normal' person tries making friends with you, and it makes you think of Midnight Cowboy, does in make you feel like a character in the film?" 

"No, it just makes me remember the thoughts I had when I saw the movie -- I used to have a fairly normal life, did things like go to the movies -- I knew the main characters, Joe Buck and Ratso, were just fictional, but still I felt so sorry for them the way they almost starved and then almost froze to death, with people who had so much money always near them, near enough to touch.  I used to live -- well -- somewhere else, I had a daughter, I had money until -- well anyway, I had that movie on VHS, and I used to watch it a lot.  Now when someone walks past me and decides to notice me, starts talking to me, I always imagine they're feeling sorry for me the way I felt sorry for Joe Buck and Ratso, but this life I have now, also, it feels unreal sometimes, unbelievable, I feel like I'm really just a character in a movie." 

"That's probably best, isn't it?  To not feel entirely entrenched in all this?"  Vivienne asked, sweeping her arms across the scene of broken bottles and the immobile, broken into car near them. 

"Probably," said Rosie.  "It feels pretty inane to take a philosophical stance on my situation right now, when I'm so hungry.  Do you have any food?"  

"No, I'm so sorry, I don't.  But here's 5 dollars.  And I'm sorry to be talking about homelessness like this, like it's abstract, I know it's your life, I'm just so curious about it, I feel I have so many questions to ask you."

"Well, it passes the time.  I like you.  Ask away."

Rosie wouldn't have minded any turn the conversation took.  A man she knew named Jack who liked to pass the time with her some afternoons gave her a bottle of a pill called Oxycontin the day before, as a gift.  One night they made love on the kitchen floor of an abandoned row house and it'd been the highlight of the past few years for him, so soothing, the warmth that emanated from her plump, stooped body.  The day Vivienne passed her on the sidewalk and stopped to talk with her and take photos of her, drawn in by the homeless woman's strange prettiness, was the last day for Rosie.  It was no longer bearable to be alive, and she would take the pills throughout the day, finished up the 9 that remained in the bottle shortly after the sky finally went gray and starless that night, a cover of clouds moving in like curtains hiding her final view of the constellations.


Vivienne, Tess and Molly found Rosie's body camouflaged by the many hills and valleys created by the folds of the pile of blankets she used to sleep among.

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