“Sometimes I feel like I’ll end up living in a glass house overlooking the city. Watching everyone but never touching them, and they will never touch me.” I say to my psychiatrist without really looking at her. I am looking past her. Out past the palm trees lining the parking lot, past the faux-Renaissance multi-million dollar house barely holding itself in place on the hillside, past the burnt mountaintop, and out towards the thick layer of purple-orange hue blanketing what one can only guess is the ocean, since the board game seems to end there.
“You bring up the glass house a lot. Why do you think that is?”
I’m thrown by her question. Aren’t I the one to be asking the questions? Answers are not something I’ve been known to have as of late.
“I don’t know. Because this town is isolating. I feel isolated?” I ask, forcing myself to look her in the eyes for once.
My psychiatrist is beautiful. I imagine she is the woman I’d like to be one day. Behind the Donna Karen suit and Mercedes remote key sitting on top of her Coach bag is a loyal daughter, mother, and wife; picking up lunch at Bristol Farms after my session to bring home to her children who just finished their piano and tennis lessons for the day. When she enterts her $900,000 house in Studio City, she’ll kiss her husband on the cheek and smile, thinking, “I did good.”
Or maybe she is just as confused as I am.
Or maybe I don’t want that at all.
“Where is he this weekend?” she asks.
He is on a week long vacation in Mexico that I booked for he and his wife. He’s most likely sitting on the beach right now, drinking some ridiculously over-priced bottle of tequila because he can afford it , and thinking about how to get another agent, an agent whom he feels is threatening everything my boss has worked hard for, fired and blacklisted.
“Oh, he’s off jet-setting to Dubai or Paris or something. Who the fuck knows?” I say, acting as disinterested as possible.
Why did I just lie to her? I know exactly where he is. I’ve been thinking about it all day. That’s my job. To think about him all day.
“Are you staying in the glass house while he is gone?” she asks me.
An IM pops up on my computer screen: I’m so stressed right now.
I look up at my computer, then over at the opaque wall sitting between our offices. I can see his silhouette looking at the screen, waiting for a response.
Why? I type.
This fucking agent who is trying to fuck with me. I’ll fucking bash his fucking head in.
Yeah. He seems like a jerk.
He’s a fucking piece of shit! I’ll make sure NO ONE ever wants to work with him again.
Yeah. I never know how to respond to these statements.
What are you working on?
Just finishing your itinerary for your trip.
I’ve put all your details in your calendar and will email you and print you a copy of the itinerary.
Do you still want me to house sit and watch the pets?
I let the conversation hang in the thick cloud of tension hovering between our offices. It will be any minute before the words I know he’s about to write will come across my screen. The words that both excite me and instill a deep sense of dejection.
I can’t move from my seat. I should shut off my screen, get up, rearrange the file cabinet, pick up the mail, run office errands, grab cigarettes that I will only smoke one of from the bodega next door, anything other than what I about to do in the next five minutes.
The thinking bubble pops backs up. Fingers type and backspace and type.
Do you want to help me relieve some stress? 😉
It takes me twenty years of unlearning to type the next sentence: How can I do that?
Why don’t you come over here and figure it out?
I close my eyes and sit up straight in my seat. I replay the scenario that is about to happen in my head: I will walk into his office. He will be massaging his hardened dick through his jeans. I will sit down in the chair across from him and my vision will become blurry. I will half smile at nothing in particular as I get down on the ground, crawl underneath his desk, unzip his pants, and run my hand up and down until my onset carpal tunnel begins to flair up. He will push his dick towards my mouth and never look at me. When it is finished, he’ll smile at nothing in particular, and I will go back to my seat and try very hard to let only one or two tears fall onto my computer keyboard.
I’m standing in their bedroom. I can see all of Los Angeles from this spot.
During the day, leaning out on the left corner of their balcony, one can see the ocean. At night, the wind knocks on the sliding glass doors as the coyotes come down looking to play.
Their house was built a little over a year ago, after his wife saw a feature about Joseph Eichler in Architectural Digest. My boss commissioned a local modernist architect to build a house exactly like the one his wife saw in the magazine. During the nine months it took for the house to be completed (five of those months were trying to secure the permits), my boss and his wife lived at the L’Ermitage where I would often make 4-5 trips daily; dropping off food, picking up dry cleaning, driving them to a movie premiere, or taking the dogs to a groomer that costs more than my monthly rent.
My robe is open and falling off of my shoulders, but I don’t care. If anyone can see me, I can’t see them. The Jameson I snuck from their cabinet earlier is kicking in and right now, I am unflappable.
This very moment I control this city, but more importantly, I’m in control of myself. Every movement I make, every action rendered is purposeful and deliberate.
This very second, I understand everything.
The fact that I packed up and moved to this city and left everything behind, the fact that though I’ve met a thousand people, I don’t know a soul, the fact that I make my work my life, the fact that this town is already hardened pieces of me and I’m too young to know, the fact that the last time my best friend visited me, she left crying, shouting, “I don’t know who you are anymore!”, the fact that I no longer feel like I can talk to anyone, the fact that my boss, my mentor, broke my trust in adults, the fact that I misunderstand his need for control of everything around him as sentiment, the fact that I will do anything to make him happy, the fact that it this moment I want nothing more than someone, anyone who will look me in the eye and hold me, the fact that I hate myself for all of these things; it all makes sense.
In the kitchen, the Ipod I left on begins playing “How To Disappear Completely” and I realize it’s dark, black almost, and I can’t see anything in front of me except for a lone palm tree off in the distance, illuminated by the iridescence of Hollywood Boulevard. I make my way down against the wall into a pile on the floor and rest my head on the foot of the bed, never taking my eyes off of the tree.
Everything has slipped away and I will relive this episode day in and day out until I gather the strength to put an end to it.
That's good stuff.
I realize more and more that you are very interesting! Not just another blog, which is great :o)
In my own way, I've been in that situation before. A little different, but still there.
I like it.
And I also love that you have 2 posts with the subject of "Michael McDonald" That's too funny.
When reading your work, I tend to find myself nodding a lot and muttering "yup, that's life."
Powerful stuff, Lauren.
Fantastic post, love. A+.
This very second, I understand everything.
I don't think that anyone Brett Easton Ellis has every written about could have sincerly said that.
I am assuming you are a twenty something… and if I have said that before, forgive me for being reptitive. Love the use of the song as title and a guide for what is going on here.
Very very good stuff.
you're so much better than you think you are
this just made me cry. xx
Aw man. I wish I'd known you when you were in LA. I'd have toilet-papered that house with you. Fucking glass houses.
I definitely see this being published. FER SURE. You're amazing.
wow. i think i've found another favorite blog. =)
oh, i did love this.
(i'm a lurker–a frequent reader but not a commenter. you are great.)
i live in LA now, and love it to tiny bits. i'm sorry that it wasn't a city that spoke to you.
I like these snippets of actual stories. I was just thinking today about how nearly everybody I know (including myself) has been exploited or abandoned by adults at a young age.
What I mean is, it's a subject so common that most people don't talk about it at all, or they talk about it in such humorous and/or emphatic detail that it doesn't seem real… it seems hyperreal. When you talk about it, it seems real. That's important. That comforts me a lot.
top notch, hipster — not just a pretty face…
(fact or fiction?)
I loved this. It made me think about changing out of my pyjamas and actually getting on with finishing my novel. So thanks for the inspiration.
Is this part of a longer piece?
Oh, Lauren, This is wonderful. The seamless way you string the words together is amazing. And the subject matter……….there are parts of it that almost everyone can understand, right to the core. Thanks for having the courage to put it all out there.
Lauren, I will be your first customer when you publish this book…. get to it Honey – it's too good!
@IT- Thanks! Glad you liked it!
@Vanessa- Aw…thanks! That is so great to hear!
@McGriddle Pants- You know, it's by time I have a 3rd "Michael McDonald" tag. You've inspired me.
@Kati- Ugh, life can really suck sometimes, can't it? I guess the suckier the better for art.
@Inflammatory Writ- Thank you!!!!
@Big Mark 243- Yes, but couldn't they say that when they were high/drunk?
@Langley- Thank you!!
@Polly- That means a lot coming from you.
@Nikki- Is that a good or bad thing?
@Laurenne- Ha! Man, I really need to come and visit. I miss LA a lot. Especially for the glass houses.
@Kristy- Hey! Glad I stumbled across you on 20sb! Love that site!
@Meghan- Thanks for saying hello! I actually really loved me time in LA- for good or for bad. It's a dynamic city.
@Benny- Yes, I often wonder if our gateway into adulthood is when we're first let down by someone who is an adult that we look up to.
@Sam- Thanks for the compliment!
@Jo- No, it was just a short story. I would like to write a novel one day, but a different subject. I'm not sure. Still trying to figure all that out!
@CJ- Awww….thank you thank you thank you! Your comments always mean a lot!
@Heidi- Hahaha….thank you, but I'm not sure how interesting this would be as a novel. Hollywood is such an over-saturated topic.
Lauren.. I wasn't reading about Hollywood – I was reading about a life… a sad one, about loneliness, confusion, abuse… even.
I guess us Canadians don't get that right away, that its about Hollywood…
Write the damn book anyway! You're great!
wow! awesome writing…i was totally engaged the entire time…truly great stuff…thanks for sharing!
i feel like i never read your work, but rather watch the pictures you paint in my head. this is far and away one of my FAVORITE posts of yours…i can't exactly place why- but it hit me square in the chest.