This is one of those pieces that has no legs nor a backbone. If you have something better to do you might want to finish it first before coming back here to watch me chase my tail.
I got a message earlier in the week from a Lillian. Let’s call her Lily because the nemesis of my book goes by that name. Maybe you still remember her; wide hips, oval face, full lips. She can double as a spicy mistress on the cover of a lingerie magazine and as a business mogul on the cover of Forbes. Ring any bells?
“Can you tell me more about yourself?” Lily chirped. I imagined she was sprawled on the sofa. Her wide hips creating a crater of Menengai proportions on her cushion. Her legs perched atop the arms of the couch as she filed her nails and watched Netflix. Maybe Gossip Girl or that scandalous Fyre Festival documentary. I hear it’s all the rave in town.
A number was tucked at the tail end of the text, starting with a +479 which told me she was not in the country. Mayhap she was in Italy. I have always wanted to visit Venice just to drink from the source that inspired the Merchant of Venice. I hear it’s a grim place. ‘A sinking city’ is how Elizabeth Gilbert puts it in Eat. Pray. Love.
It could have been Colombia. That show Narcos jumps to mind whenever I think of the country. I would love to visit Medellin and sink my feet in the soil of La Catedral. There where Pablo Escobar built his own prison and lived in it on his own terms. I would love to breathe in that air. It must smell of drugs and pure defiance.
Like any good citizen, I went to Lily’s profile to do my research. As it turned out she was in Norway. What’s good in Norway beside STL, eh? I scrolled through her page and plunged head first into her photos. We are all visual beings; no wonder Instagram is a catharsis. She was easy on the eye with a nice flowing weave, going all the way past her shoulders which means she’s not a feminist. I say this very tongue-in-cheek for all the Chimamandas in the house rolling their eyes.
The only red flag was the word ‘madness’ nailed on the entrance of her page. It went something like, ‘I’m madness with a mind of creativity.’ Now look, I live by a certain credo. If a woman tells me she’s crazy, I believe her. But I already had a soft spot for her—come on she’s named like the nemesis in my book and God knows Book Lily has a few loose screws.
“What exactly do you want to know?” I followed up with a reply.
I have gotten the question, ‘Tell me about yourself’ quite a bit. That question always comes when someone is weighing you on a scale to decide whether to upgrade you to the business class section of their life or downgrade you to economy. I wanted to get into spiel about how I start my day, how I push my toothpaste from the bottom up. Well, most days I push it from the top but the point is, I try. But then I decided halfwit glib was not the way to go so I held my tongue and awaited her response.
“It’s much easier to talk, I’m on the road. WhatsApp me or give me your number I will call you.”
See, this is a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it. A boss. She kept reminding me of Book Lily. She has an alias now, Book Lily: Quicksilver. She’s more badass than she was before. Slippery. Mad with a mind of creativity. I had imagined Norway Lily was at home on the couch, probably in an avocado green shirt that cut just after her hips. Her legs crossed as she watched Fyre Festival, but shock on me, she was on the road probably fighting vulgar motorists to go save the world in some law firm, hospital or an advertising agency, judging by her madness with a mind of creativity.
“Write me on email@example.com,” I replied.
“I cannot write now. I’m on the road and its icy.”
That sentence doesn’t have color for people living in places with winter but for a guy like me who only sees ice on Game of Thrones and in the fridge, it was intriguing. I imagined her fighting vulgar motorists, fighting the ice to go save the world while at the same time trying to know more about this lowly writer and I admired her resolve.
I did not respond because God forbid she hit an iceberg while reading my silly words. Look, Lily, if you’re reading this, email me. Who knows, we can be pen pals. You can tell me about the ice on the roads of Norway and I can tell you about the potholes on ours. How is STL by the way? We miss her music. You wouldn’t want to listen to anything on our radio nowadays, not even gospel. It’s a circus.
Look, Lily, I need to get going. I’m printing the prequel to The Engagement and I need to make sure all the parts are humming down to a T. Speaking of The Engagement it’s been downloaded over ten thousand times. Not ten times so that I might think only my mom’s Women’s Guild buddies are reading it, but ten thousand times. It’s not my strength, Lily. It’s the sexy friends who have made this place a home, coming here every time I post to read my madness with no mind of creativity. I have got to go Lily, I will catch up with you on email.
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