THE FIRST TIME from “Showrooms of Perfections”

18 04 2011

 

THE FIRST TIME

 

This year’s birthday is so different than the last one, where I waited in NY for my connecting flight to Austria, starting to kick and feeling so desperate, scared and ashamed about my forced return to Vienna. I had nothing to look for but getting fat, losing my true love – meth and heroin – and all my boyfriends, my LA sugar daddy and all the crazy fun I’d been indulging in for the last year.

But this time, still in Vienna, just a year later, everything is totally different.

 

I’m successful beyond my wildest dreams. I have a bank- and a savings account with more than enough money to get back to LA and start my business there. I have a studio that is so outrageously gorgeous – everybody who steps in here sighs with envy and admiration. I have friends; a commune I’m living in with people I adore and my out of control eating has been under control for a while now. I’ve lost most of the weight I put on in rehab.

 

I have a long list of costumers who pay me incredibly well to dress them in my designs and I am happy and independent. Dr. Herman has signed my papers and I have booked a flight back to LA three months from now.

 

My friends are throwing me a party as a birthday gift in this really cool Middle Eastern restaurant and everybody I care for, everybody who means something to me shows up. Costumers, Renate, Veronica, Petra, my therapist and most friends I hung out with before I left for LA. Some of them were angry with me, for fucking myself up in America. I guess they were mostly scared that I would not come back from my drug-trip and not be the person they loved anymore.

 

Even Christian, the love of my life before America seems to have gotten over his contempt and disappointment that I’ve fucked up. Honestly, he was the main reason that I stayed in America when my visit with my mom should have been over. I was supposed to go back to University for my second year of med-school, but when September came around, my mother offered to pay for Fashion School in LA.

I told myself that I did not feel like going through another cold winter in the commune I lived in.

But Christian had ripped my heart out when he broke it off with me. He held my hand across the bar we had drinks in and I knew what was coming before his words hit me like a sharp riding crop.

“I have to become an important artist. I know I have it in me. But I love you so much and I’m so afraid to lose you if I don’t marry you right now. I want to have babies with you and settle down but I can’t. I guess you could say I love my art more than you. I can’t do it both. I rather be miserable and miss you forever, than to not follow my dream.”

We both cried and got drunk and for the first time in nine months, we slept in separate beds.

 

I could not bear to stay and stand it to live with him in the commune, listening to him fucking girls he brought home from the bars we still went to together. He could not either. When I brought Hubert home, a tall and handsome architect who was totally in love with me and stayed over, Christian gave him the stink-eye over our bleary-eyed morning coffee.

Than he handed him two huge bags with trash and asked innocently: “Dude, since you are on your way out anyway, you wouldn’t mind throwing this in the trashcan down stairs, do you?”

I could not help, but giggle. Hubert was such a graceful gentleman. With total self-confidence and grace, he replied:

“No problem, man. See you tomorrow” and hoisted the bags over his shoulder on his way out. He kissed me in he doorway, in full view of Christian and all our roommates and slammed the door behind him.

The trash bags sat right in front of our door when Christian left for wherever he went to. He never asked Hubert for “favors” again.

And then there was the fact that I had not seen my mother in over ten years and now I had her. I needed a mom, so I stayed.

 

Everybody is here in the restaurant.  I’m almost acceptably thin again, dressed in my own designs, confident and giddy with excitement. I feel so immensely grateful, but at the same time, I can’t believe how fast everything has changed.

 

And then Marcus shows up. I’ve had a crush on him for the last few weeks; we’ve been hanging out every day, enjoying an easygoing friendship with a lot of tingly sexual tension. He is the cutest boy – not as cute as Christian, but I’m a little crazy for him. Actually, a lot.

 

When he enters the restaurant, I blush. All my friends agree that we are or should be a couple. I’m struck by how handsome and beautiful he looks and how naturally he moves and talks. Everything seems so easy for him, like he never has to think first about what to say or how to act. He’s not Christian, who is for sure the best looking man I’ve ever been with – movie star beautiful with his perfect chin, perfectly shaped bedroom eyes, almost blindingly white and straight teeth, curly and thick brown hair, that he wore just so, not like a hippie, but like a true New Wave Hipster and such an artist at heart. But Marcus is a lot like him, maybe a bit more straggly, not so perfect, but hot and sexy – those boys form the Tyrolean Alps have the kind of confidence and humor about themselves that makes me love them, maybe because my dad is from the same mountains. I never had any attraction for men from Vienna.

Most Viennese men are funny and interesting, but they hide behind a sticky veil of sarcasm and dark reflection. Viennese men are prone to hypochondria and focusing on what’s wrong. They whine and complain a lot and watch way too much TV. But maybe I do not want to betray my dad, who has nothing but contempt for those guys. I dumped my first boyfriend form Vienna to please my dad.

 

I am always happy when I see Marcus. Even when we just go out for breakfast or get vegetables at the farmers market, mundane things we do since we are practically neighbors, I’m always in a delirious state, a mix of feeling comfortable around him and the sense that I can be who I am. I feel liked and appreciated. Sexual tension is slowly building up between us and we both know it. It’s this delicious state of attraction before anything serious has happened, before the reality of two people who are not the same, but feel like they are, has set in.

 

About 40 people eat, drink and celebrate my birthday, which also marks my first year off drugs. I sit between Marcus and Christian and I can’t imagine a more perfect moment. Everything is just so right. Marcus leans over to give me his present – he has made a bracelet for me out of tiles and wire and it’s the second greatest gift I ever got from a boyfriend, right after Christian’s “Painter Rat” a few years ago – now that he has become one of Austria’s most successful artists, it’s a priceless art object I still hold on to.

Marcus plants a sexy kiss on my lips. I notice with satisfaction that Christian is jealous. Marcus asks me to step out with him and we lean against the wall of the restaurant.

He kisses me and then holds me away from him.

“Monah, I’m crazy about you. I’m in love with you. But you are leaving in a few weeks and I can’t have my heart broken again. You’ll go back to America and I can’t stand to miss you and I just can’t get into this right now.”

 

I have gotten new sheets for this night.

 

I kiss him back and whisper: “Three months is a long time, baby. None of us knows what might happen tomorrow”

“Look, I want this as much as you, if not more” and I feel from the way he leans into my body that he means it. “But I’m not as strong as you. I know myself. I’ll be such a mess when you’re gone and no, I can’t”

 

But then he kisses me again. We make out on the street that is still warm from the summer heat. What he does wipes his words out, at least in my mind. But he stops and takes my hand.

“Lets go back inside, it’s your party after all. Please, lets be friends, I like you so much, and you mean so much to me.”

“OK. Let’s be friends” I force myself to smile, but my heart screams in pain and sinks into the underground Viennese sewers. So does my mood.

 

All of a sudden, that yummy food I ate with so much pleasure before, feels like a nasty and disgusting load of dead maggots inside me. Instead of returning to our table, I sneak into the bathroom and lock the door. I bend over the toilet and before I can even stick my finger down my throat, everything I ate spills out into the bowl.

 

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I got the magical touch. I stumbled on the solution to all my problems. I mastered bulimia. I can do this! I’m on top of the world. I finally am in control.

I rinse my mouth out at the sink and check my face in the mirror. My make-up is in place, my eyes are big and bright and my face looks small and tight, not bloated and red like it always did after all my countless unsuccessful attempts to throw up.

 

I’m high when I sit down at the table again. I’m not sure yet if this was just a fluke, so I sample a bunch of other dishes and disappear again inside the toilet stall. The food almost falls out of me, just by contracting my stomach muscles. It’s like, I’m meant to do this. I must be or it wouldn’t be so easy. Is this the Universe’s Birthday gift to me? Yes!!!. It certainly is.

 

I’m free. I’m powerful. I give the finger to every diet I’ve ever been on and say, “Fuck you” to ever getting fat again.

 

The world and all the food in it is mine to enjoy as often and as much as I feel like it. There is a treasure chest of food I’ve denied myself since I was ten or eleven, a world full with possibilities and delights. From now on, I am in control. I don’t need drugs anymore.

 

I fantasize of Viennese pastries, bread, cheese and butter, nuts and chocolate and whipped cream, cakes and cookies and everything I’ve tried to avoid my whole life. This is no fantasy anymore. This is real. I can have it all.

 

I’m free. I’m fucking free of the tyranny of diets, hunger and the humiliation of being fat. Watch out, mom. I’ll beat you. I’ll be skinnier than you have ever been. Fuck all of you, fuck all of this, I love my life and all of you people in it. Fuck you, Marcus, fuck you Christian, fuck you heroin and meth, fuck every women’s magazine that tries to tell me what I should eat to look like the fucking skinny models you cram down my throat and make me feel inadequate and like a loser cause I’ll never be like that. Fuck you diet programs and most of all, fuck you, fucking shame and fear.

Here! Watch my stretched out middle finger, telling you to fuck off. Your time of dominion is over. Now, I’m the master of all of you tormenters. I’m in control now. Now and forever.

When the birthday cake arrives, everybody sings and claps and I have the biggest piece of cake and damn, do I enjoy it!


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