I read about the relationship between Patti Smith And Robert Mapplethorpe in my bedroom off of Broadway. I use the fan even though it is winter and cold outside. There is something about still air that attracts thoughts of spirits and demons. People intending to steal from me by smashing a window or picking a lock do not scare me. I have nothing for them but an old Mac lap top and some jewelry that is valuable to me but to nobody else. But those intending to take my soul I fear deeply.
As I read about the creative relationship between two artists, they watch British Sci-Fi shows. I come home from work around 10 and unlock my glass side door with a red curtain and the light is always on in the living room. Ilaria is watching the show and Damiana has taken interest in a book or something on her phone. They sit on the couch in front of the fireplace we have not used yet. Their feet touch in the middle as they engulf themselves in their separate worlds.
On my day off, I asked Damiana how their relationship started. She is tall and naturally thin. She had dark circles under her eyes. There are days that these circles are lighter but they are never gone. She was stirring lentil soup in our perpetually dirty kitchen. “It kind of started off as romantic. For Ilaria it was instant. Well that’s what she says anyway.” The front door opened and Ilaria walked in and our conversation came to a sudden halt. In a way this felt natural. Ilaria is tall and spends time in the bathroom each morning making herself look more feminine. Damiana has a natural grace about her while Ilaria is more clunky navigating the worlds of both genders. The first time I met Ilaria I thought she either smoked a lot when she was younger or she was once a man. It turns out the later is true.
Later that night we stood around the dining room table. Damiana talked about her father who was an actor that gave up the role that would go to Ted Danson on Cheers. “He figured, if he got that role so easily, there would be plenty more to come.” There weren’t and so they ended up living in a poorer part of Los Angeles. She went to high school with other teenagers who were Latino and felt as though her tall white graceful stature was noticed everyday.
Last night I went to a 7/11. The tall white man in front of me made the assumption that the cashier was Mexican. “I am not Mexican. I am Latino but not Mexican. We have a different dialect in my country.”
“Are you Guatemalan?”
“No I am Peruvian. You know Machu Picchu? Peru is the country that is in.”
The tall white man left in a hurry disinterested in the Peruvian man’s lecture.
After Damiana told her tale of a Midwestern father passing up his break through role, Ilaria began to tell her tales of being a motorcyclist delivering camera equipment in Hollywood. She once met Helen Hunt in an elevator. She was in the building to pick up her new script. Ilaria made her blush. Because at the time she was a man with a British accent and charm.
The next evening a spider fell from the sky and into the shower as I was washing my hair. I cursed and ran out in my turquoise towel. Both were in the living room watching me as I went to get a jar from the kitchen cupboard. The spider was too big to kill. I would feel guilty.
“Is everything alright, Taylor?”
“Yeah. A spider fell from the sky. It’s big!”
“A Daddy Long Legs?”
“No a real spider! Daddy Long Legs aren’t technically spiders.”
And then the three of us huddled around the shower curtain with a green floral print. Ilaria was holding the cat and Damiana and I strategized. I made noises of fright intermittently and we all laughed at the situation. The big red real spider was caught and let go.