“How are you feeling now?” Lorraine rested her elbows upon the table, parking her mouth in a sympathetic smirk.
Jonathan started to answer, wrongly, then bit it back and sighed. “Like shit, actually. I don’t feel anything’s resolved, but… maybe it doesn’t need to be resolved tonight.” He glanced at his wife.
She drew a long breath, knowing where this would go if she weren’t careful. “Would you like to meditate on it with me?”
Jonathan didn’t, but he knew to turn this down would be combative. He pushed his can of grapefruit fizzy water away and nodded.
Lorraine beamed at him and slid off her chair, standing beside the table. “Okay, what are we going to ask for?”
“I have no idea.”
She bounced on the balls of her feet, in flip-flops. “Then let’s say, ‘May Jonathan’s negativity disappear; may Jonathan’s soul be calmed; may Jonathan’s muse return for a night of joyful writing’.” She ignored her husband’s wince at her use of “joy.” That was his problem, not hers. “Okay? Say it back to me.”
“We’re going to hope my negativity lifts away…”
He struggled to hold his eyes from rolling. “Disappears, that my soul’s calmed, and that I enjoy writing.”
She raised her eyebrows and her voice. “May Jonathan’s muse return for a night of joyful writing.”
“Say it back!”
He looked at the wavy nest of coppery hair about her head, the freckles on her forearms, the bosom that pushed within the too-tight shirt she chose. “That my muse return for a night of joyful writing.” He enunciated “joyful” with heavy syrup.
She preened at him and placed her hands upon the table, palm up; he rested his palms upon his thighs in black jeans. Together they closed their eyes, took a long breath, exhaled through their mouths, and then breathed again. Quickly Jonathan’s head began to weave, slightly, on his shoulders: he could see his wife as a bright star in a field of darkness, and he envisioned a golden line running from that star to his chest.
His visualization came very clear. The negativity appeared to be a black plastic trash sack, rippling as though containing a small cyclone within it. As he watched, the trash sack became buoyed on an unseen breeze and slowly lifted from around his head and up, up, up into a blue sky. His soul was a choppy ocean with whitecaps, and he took a deep breath; he slowly released it, and the waves died down, became a placid surface reflecting the sun in a blue sky.
As for the joyfulness, his wife’s word choice infected him: he saw himself typing rapidly, heedlessly, cackling his head off. Well, he let that be. He certainly looked happy in that image.
They breathed and meditated for a few more minutes, until he heard her whisper, “I’m ready when you are.” They exhaled, shook their shoulders, and opened their eyes.
Lorraine had a huge grin on her face. “What did you see?” she asked him, and he told her his visualizations. Her eyes lit up: not only had he taken this seriously, his images were very clear with no obstructions.
“What I saw,” she said coquettishly, “was… well, I was trying to invite your muse. I suddenly realized, I had no idea what your muse looked like! You’ve been writing for longer than I’ve known you, and I have absolutely no idea what she looks like.” She blinked. “Or even if it is a ‘she’.”
Jonathan shrugged. Images came to mind when he thought of his muse or daemon, but they changed and altered from day to day or moment to moment.
“So I held out my hand, representing a platform, to invite your muse.”
He pictured a tiny desert-spirit in robes and scarves and gold, spinning in her palm.
“But not to hold your muse, you know, just like a platform. Like…” She searched for words. “Like she would appear as a hologram, like in Star Wars. A representation.”
He pictured Leia in her long white robe, stippled in blue lines, looking behind her and crouching to stash the contraband disk.
“I wasn’t getting anything, though,” Lorraine said. She tilted her head and regarded her open palm in theatrical confusion. “Nothing was coming to me, not an inkling, and I knew time was running out, so I started to let it go. I withdrew my hand… I’m not saying this right.”
Despite himself, Jonathan leaned forward slightly, as though bringing his ears closer could compel the words from her throat.
“I started to pull my hand away, but beneath it was this foot, a huge foot.” His wife turned to him, eyes wide, a smile beginning to play about her lips. “An enormous bare foot that led up to an ankle, and that led up to a huge shin, so I looked up,” she said, looking up as she spoke, “and there was this enormous giantess standing over me. I was looking right up her skirt.”
All the air left Jonathan’s lungs.
“And she was looking down at me and cra-a-a-acking up! She loved seeing my expression, and then I started laughing.” She turned to him again, smiling. “Your muse is ready for you, man. She is ready to play! You need to go fix yourself a drink, put on some music, and just start typing. She’ll be there, right there with you, just…” His wife bit her bottom lip and began to squat, waggling her rump playfully. “She’ll be right there over you, so you can just look up and see straight up her…” She tilted her head. “Your muse wears panties.”
Jonathan fell out of his chair, dumped an ice cube in a cut-glass tumbler, filled it a third full of Irish whiskey, and trotted off to start up his slow-ass laptop to write this out.
Based on a true story.