I wake at eight. It’s too late to join the others for supper.
I decide to watch television instead. I flip through the channels as best I can, unable to fully understand how this hotel television works. It keeps landing on a channel waxing poetic about the glories of Florida.
Finally, I find a station. Sarah Ferguson is on the screen, the picture of her interrupted with the snow which shuts out Sarah’s face every time a jackhammer interrupts the conduction of the image while the vibrations make my teeth hurt. But I got a deal on the room since they’re in the middle of construction, trying to make this dump of a hotel into a tourist spot.
The deal I got is why I was able to afford this conference in the first place. So far, I have missed many meetings and meals. I like staying in my room, taking naps and photographs of what exists outside my window. I see the tide of the Florida shore glide in and out in the distance from my window. I am mesmerized by that and the palm trees below.
Back home in Wisconsin, my kids are staying with their father. Whether they are playing with him or not is hard for me to say. He told me he needed time for the kids to grow on him again. I didn’t even want to venture a guess as to how long that might take.
This television show presents Sarah Ferguson’s trials and tribulations. Of course I know how these shows always end on a happy note, with the princess working for Weight Watchers, moving in with her ex-husband, the prince, living with her two perfect daughters, becoming famous in America.
Sarah is sorry for all of her sexual transgressions. Sorry. So sorry. This is what the TV audience adores. To be sorry. So sorry I let him kiss my toes. It was foolish. I’m so sorry.
It’s too late to make it to dinner. It’s too late to go out alone. I turn the channel and find an infomercial for a face lift machine. The infomercial tells me that for three installments of $59.95 I can look ten years…
Everyone’s trying to look better than they do for who or what or why I don’t know.
In England I saw a TV show about the cultural differences in how women die. First the camera took us to India where widows are taught to jump into the fire to burn with their dead husbands’ corpses, eager for cremation. Then the camera flew us to Scotland where the women are more resistant to death. They live in nursing homes where their sisters (if they have any) protect them. Then they flew us to Florida where old ladies in polyester were swaying their hips inside a hula hoop to keep in shape for a possible future.
I look in the mirror for a minute, surprised that I still look young. Then I look back into the screen. Fergie is speaking again. Her facial expression is somber, her lipstick is brown. Her dress looks like velvet. The timbre of her voice is serious. She is sorry. So sorry. So sorry.
BOBBI LURIE‘s fourth poetry collection, the morphine poems was recently published by Otoliths (Australia). Her other collections are Grief Suite, Letter From The Lawn and The Book I Never Read (CW Books). Her poetry, short stories and visual art have been published in numerous literary journals, including Fence, New American Writing, American Poetry Review and Otoliths. Her television reviews can be found in Berfrois. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.