anne hathaway, whole foods
November 1, 2008
it looked like a little man, was the reason she laughed. the laugh had started quite naturally; she laughed because the ginger looked like a little man, like a funny little nubby brown man with a long giraffe neck and little rounded nubby nub nubs for arms and legs. it had looked funny and so she had laughed. it amazed her that it was so simple, really, this process, this laughing, this seeing something funny and the laughter coming out just an instant later. it amazed her because she hadn’t laughed lately, she hadn’t been in a laughing mood lately, she hadn’t felt like a laugh lately because of him and because of what people thought of her because of him and said about her because of him and because of how she remembered him holding her and what his eyes looked like closed sleeping, because of all the good and bad and strong and dark himness of him. she hadn’t felt like a laugh lately.
but today would be a good day, she had decided, was a good day, would be a good day, was going to be a good day, oh such a good day. like those day calendars, those ones with the metal binder ring and the 365 little sheets of paper and they had quotes or cartoons or pictures of cats in costumes on them? she didn’t have one of those (iphone, who needs anything else?), she wasn’t the kind of person who had one of those, like her aunt or something, but if she was that kind of person she would have written in magic marker on the entry for this day, “GOOD DAY,” in all caps, and she would have meant it. it was a good day. she actually hadn’t planned to wear black because black didn’t feel like a “good day” kind of color, at least in LA, not really, but that morning she had gotten yogurt on the little sunny sundress she was going to wear and so she had gone with the black, the old standard, the devil wears ha ha ha. it was a good day, it was going to be a good day, she was getting out, going out, doing things, making things happen, buying things so that later she could cook those things with her friends and they would open a bottle of the wine she had just bought and look at the ocean and smell cooking smells from the things cooking in the pots and pans she had bought earlier and maybe once they were tipsy sing motown songs into hairbrushes like in cheesy movies. she would never sing a motown song in a hairbrush like a microphone in a movie she was actually in, she was done with that princess shit, jeez, jonathan had told her at a private dinner that that part of her life was over now, her younger days, she was changing, she had depth, now, but deep inside somewhere she still liked the idea of it, of off key catterwauling into imaginary microphones. R E S P E C T, etc.
and now she was laughing, now she could feel the laughter rising up from her stomach, so fast, like magic, like a wish coming true. a balloon inflating. the wet cold from the refrigerated cabinet made her skin tingle and so the growing laugh was wrapped in a shiver, but it was ok, it wasn’t a bad cold new york shiver that reminded her of him and his big arms, no, it was a good kind of shiver, the kind that felt electric and white and touched bone. and though the laughter had caught her by surprise, this was the thing she did, this was the thing she decided to do: she caught it, she took it, she grabbed the laughter and held it inside her and she decided in the middle of one millisecond to stretch it out, to elongate it, to make the most of it. she was going to laugh. it was a good day and she was going to have a good laugh, she was going to make this laugh count, it was going to feel good. as the laugh began to explode out of her mouth, high pitched and keening, louder than she had though, she flexed her body to accommodate it, arching her back, letting her neck go limp and roll back over the vertebrae, all the sinewy tension melting into soft tissue that was shaking like waves under the laugh. she felt good, she was controlling the laugh, she was making it more than it was was, she was taking this thing, this natural thing, and using her abilities to shape into something more powerful, some force of goodness that could transform her. it was a good day, it would be a good day, she was laughing. she rolled her shoulders back, following the natural contours of the laugh but also guiding them, controlling them. it was easy, it was a piece of cake, it was pie easy, it was shifting from first to second to third on PCH in perfect sunny weather. it was a good day.
but then, just as easily, just as quickly, just as naturally, she was losing it, it was going away, it was dying. the air wasn’t coming out of her mouth, she was running out, the sound was cutting out like a music box unwinding. she breathed in silently through her nose and tried to repurpose it into the laugh, like laugh fuel, but it just came out as squeaky breath. under her sunglasses, she looked out of the corner of her eye at the ginger, trying to remember what it was that was so funny that it had made her laugh so that she could laugh at it some more. it was a little man, she reminded herself, ha ha, that was the funny thing, wasn’t that funny, couldn’t she see the funny little nubs? but it didn’t look like that anymore, it just looked like a plant, like a dirty brown something that she would would have to scrape the skin off later and it would burn her mouth. she squinted at it, she tried to make her eyes see what her brain wanted, tried to make them see, one last time, that it was a little man, that it looked like a tiny little man that she was holding in her hand. why couldn’t she see him anymore, where did he go, what had changed, wouldn’t he please come back? she flexed her biceps, her calves, her thighs, she gripped the ginger, she tightened her spine, all her yoga muscles hardening. she stood there and she held the pose, praying for it to last just a little bit longer.