I am celibate now. I find my sexual energy comes out in prose and paint more powerfully then when dissipated in actual sex. I have no romantic designs on anyone except the ghost of the dead woman who’s wedding ring I still wear. I await her arriving at my bedside in her black veiled wedding hat. Guiding me to the afterlife.
I read online about an African hoodoo tradition. If a woman puts her menstrual blood into a man’s food or drink, he is bewitched to love her. I know my blood DNA communicates the same herpes as sex with me, so nope on that option.
Getting men after me isn’t something I have trouble with. It’s getting them to go away that’s the problem. I can’t even go out to lasagna with my mother without the waiters hitting on me. I routinely beat off suitors with a stick in Facebook chat. I have enough trouble with men falling in lust with me as it is.
Blood magic is the most powerful witchcraft. Taking your own blood connotes dark magic of violence. I don’t like to cut or prick myself. Self-harm is not my thing. Blood freely given of the body is lighter magic. Thus I adopt the ritual of saving my dried menstrual blood. For “personal effects,” blood magic, not love. I have been emptying my menstrual cup onto a cut crystal look plate to dry for a week now.
The night before Easter. As soon as the full blue moon lights up the sky. I set to work harvesting the menstrual blood I’ve been storing. Scrape the sparkly red flecks off the plastic plate with an antique silver letter opener into a blue plastic bowl. Try hard with a Go Fresh ad to funnel the iridescent blood flakes into an empty Lemon Extract Bottle. I stick a white heart sticker on the bottle. Labeled “Menstrual Blood Herpes Powder,” with a sharpie. I store the small brown bottle away beneath my altar. Never to be put a anyone’s coffee. Blood magic holds other potentials.
I tweet back and forth with a writer friend as I watch American Horror Story: Asylum throughout the night. He thinks I should April Fool my family. At Easter brunch. By telling them I’m pregnant. With the antichrist. As I did Malleus Maleficarum sex magic. Nine months ago. Masturbated with the end of my witch’s broom. On the white sheepskin rug. Next to a Devil Tarot card. We LOL behind our phone screens in different states.
At dawn I pray in Latin at my altar. Inside concentric circles of crystals and Tarot cards. Pop a pre-emptive Xanax. Dress for brunch. Put on the outfit I assembled days ago from grandma’s vintage collection. Pale blue damask vintage skirt suit. Rhinestone star pin on the suit jacket. White bakelite three strand bead necklace. Beige bolero cardigan. White ocelot fur. Beige pillbox hat with mink bow draped in blush netting. My own canary yellow tights. Blush flats.
I carry a “Witch Please,” black tote bag covered in occult symbols. Holding dainty white gloves I don’t put on all day. A pale green flowered silk hanky. Handkerchiefs are actually a really good old time idea. It helps to have something to blow your nose on with you at all times. Looking like you’re in an old movie.
Aunt Sandy picks me up in her white SUV at 10:45 am. A kindly woman with cropped grey hair. She is my aunt Ruthie’s half-sister. Recently moved to Reno. I didn’t previously know her, but we have become friends. She is generous with transportation. I take too many psychiatric medications to drive any longer. Sandy drives me to my aunt and uncle’s house. Past the Burning Man dragonfly in Virginia Lake. Stained blue glass catches the spring sun. Seagulls dapple the ice blue water.
My aunt Ruthie and uncle Jim hug me warmly. Offer hot black coffee. Who am I to refuse? I shed my fur and cardigan. Keep the pillbox circlet hat on. Aunt Ruthie asks me what Easter means to me. I say, “It’s the one time of the year when I wear pastels.”
As soon as cousin Eric and his family are here we proceed to the long dining table. Decorated with china bunny figurines. Eat scrambled eggs. Pumpkin muffins with raisins. Fruit compote with apples, bananas and dates robed in creamy kefir. Olive oil sautéed asparagus from a long cut crystal dish. Ham braised in brown sugar caramel so the skin flakes off like dark butter candy. Caramel filled chocolate eggs in gold foil wrappers that melt sweet on the tongue. Black coffee all around.
After eating we sit out in the backyard in the sun. The four-year-old races in the sprinklers. Plays orange monkey tug a war with my aunt’s dog. Provides comic relief and conversation. We all sit around on wrought iron patio chairs. Talk back and forth. Idly. Lightly. It comes naturally. Maybe it’s the Xanax, but I began to relax around my Reno family for perhaps the first time. Since I have been a stranger in this strange land. A Californian in Nevada.
After brunch, Sandy takes me to Raley’s to buy perishables. I forget I am wearing the “grandma goes to church in 1953” damask skirt suit and veiled hat. Clutch my basket as if I’ve never been in a grocery store before. Look like a time traveller from another dimension. I stock up on gelato, bacon and eggs. Stop by the ATM for delivery weed cash.
When I get home it is a military quick operation to unpack. Disrobe of all uncomfortable finery. Change into a black cotton sundress with white Sailor Jerry designs. I go online to find my usual marijuana home delivery service. Order two eighths of Acapulco Gold. Wait an hour with baited breath for the delivery to arrive. Sip cold black coffee from a pastel Palm Springs mug.
Usually these weed delivery people are brisk and professional. I like this service for that reason. This time, the young man lingers. Makes conversation as if he wants to be invited in. He’s never been to this beautiful neighborhood, he says. I tip him well, accidentally, having no change. Shrug him off. Close my door. Decide not to use this service again.
I don’t want young men in my life. No matter how cute or charming. No matter how much a large weed delivery. To a skinny blonde. In a little dress. Home alone. Could seem as an opening to a sexual adventure.
Doors locked up tight, I retreat to the covered porch. My grandparents covered it to make a room. The house-adjacent walls are brick. There is a ledge with chimney for a BBQ, were I so inclined. Which I’m not. All that gets burnt out here is Tahoe marijuana from a pink quartz crystal pipe. I lie on maroon carpet besides a high school painting of an old friend in black bra, and garter belt. Smoke up. Open up the Breyer’s Salted Caramel Gelato. Devour half the plastic canister with big melting spoonfuls. They dissolve cold and smooth in my mouth.
I go inside myself. Remember a night as idle and sultry as the this afternoon. Over a year ago. Right before everything in Los Angeles began to turn to shit. Right before I decided to move to my grandparent’s old house that my father had been renting out in Reno. The last night I remember being happy in my old Hollywood cockroach apartment.
That was a different time in my life. When I drove. Had a boyfriend. Friends. When I lived in the big city as a normal person, not an eccentric batshit recluse.
I have a very clear memory. As if engraved in silver on a platter served by my mind. Of masturbating with a Trader Joe’s Persian cucumber. In my blue feather-edged bathrobe. On the orange flower velour couch. Hot Hollywood apartment night. A long slow lovely time. Finally, I ate the cucumber. Bite by bite. Crisp vegetable bursts mixed with my Papaya honey sex juices.
I put the pot and pink quartz pipe away in a flower embossed metal box. Return to the present. Five hundred miles away. A world away. A year away. A teutonic shift in my life away. In middle age. After the last gasp of my youth has finally been snuffed out. Into a respectable matron. Who goes to family brunches in a blush net hat. Rejects charming delivery hook ups for solitary reverie.
My life is different now. It is better. I am at peace. Stability. Stasis. Yet part of me feels as if I am locking myself away in this house waiting to die. I have, after all “Gone back to live out my days in The House of the Rising Sun.” Not having previously expected to live to 41, I don’t have any further goals. The now is pleasant, routine, but I wonder what to do next. There is nothing further I plan to do with my life, except more of this.
Perhaps one night I will spiral into overwhelming psychiatric pain. Despair away with the ennui of it all. Take all my pills in a frenzy. Commit suicide in the four poster Queen Anne bed like my wife did. Six years ago. I don’t know. I don’t think so.
With a lifetime in the past, I hope I can create a new future. Perhaps here, now, in Sierra splendor, I will draft the next chapter. It doesn’t involve putting “Menstrual Blood Herpes Powder” in any of these men’s coffee, though. I don’t know what the future holds.