Friday, May 20, 2016

Monologue for the AIDS ride. With love.


An older woman is riding a bike. She is going fast. She is wearing a red dress from the '80s


Ohmygod, ohmygod. I need to slow down. I need to slow down! ... Crap. (Screams as she flies down hill) AAAAHHHH!!!!! (She maneuvers around the curves as she speeds down the hill. Flying,  staring to enjoy herself. Gradually the road flattens. She sits, begins to pump her legs. Looks back.) Holy sugar. Holy suuugggaarrr!! (Looks forward again. Lets out a small satisfied yelp) Wow...

Oh Andy. I am actually enjoying this.  The riding. I hate the tents and the porta-potties make me puke. But this... Oh. This.

I haven't ridden like this since I was... 12? I used to love riding my bike. My bike had little cheerleader streamers coming out of it's handlebars and I would pump and pump and ride as fast as I could, I'd yell to you and you'd join me like the kid from ET. Flying all through our cul-de-sac, out in the neighborhood, flying. Me, and you, Andy. I loved that feeling. I certainly don't remember feeling this sore in the rump though. Hell, there's a lot more rump than there was when I was 12.

I had the biggest crush on you! You had beautiful floppy hair, looked just like John Cusack, but with floppy hair, (Sings) "If you leave, don't leave now..." That was our song. We went everywhere together, me dressed like Molly Ringwald, and you...  beautiful in your uniform, white tee, black vest, pleated pants, winkle-pickers and that gorgeous floppy hair that I longed to brush off your face. You hated having your hair touched though. It ruined it.

You were so funny, I mean I should've known, right? At our prom you sang "You Make Me Feel like a Natural Woman" at the top of your lungs when we were in line to get our picture taken. It was so embarrassing. You look crazy too, in the shot. I'm trying to look like Liz Taylor in Cleopatra and you're crossing your eyes. I'm glad we went to the prom, even if we only stayed an hour. It was stupid, they were playing the WRONG music. Ugh. And I don't think you wanted to slow dance with me to "Stairway to Heaven". I always got handsy during that song.

Anyway. We drifted apart in College, like you do. We tried to keep in touch, but I loved you so much, it got awkward.

Then my daughter got me on Facebook. I absolutely have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I've gotten so damn fat. And all of my old friends are so successful! I was supposed to be a rock star, or a poet. I ended up in the tech industry. I'm really very good at my job. I used to only go on Facebook to spy on Laura, but she probably hid most of the awful things from her mom, because why wouldn't you?

A few years ago there was a friend request from you, Andy. You must've really been looking for me because I only had my married name up there and I don't go by Karenina anymore. I told everyone in HS that was my name. It's actually Carol, but Karenina is in the yearbook. Isn't that hilarious? Anyway you found me and friended me. My heart was beating like a drum when I clicked on that request. Oh and there you were. Still absolutely John Cusack. Older, cute mustache and your hair wasn't floppy anymore. Ohmygod. My heart.

Your status said "married" "OK", I thought, "You're married too, stupid. It's OK." Then of course, I click through some more pictures, and you're married to Charlie. A very cute, VERY young Guatemalan guy. Very young. Charlie's younger than my daughter! You two looked really, really happy.  You were actually smiling. In all the pictures I have from high school, your smirk was tight and constrained or you were goofing off. These pictures with Charlie... what a beautiful wide open grin. I accepted the friend request, went through the shoebox of old pictures, scanned the prom picture and tagged you.

You responded right away. Asking me if I remembered how we got completely clobbered in the bunkers above the Golden Gate bridge. Of course my daughter read that and told you she didn't believe you. And you proceed to put up the most AWFUL, WONDERFUL pictures of us. Me and you as Sid and Nancy, Andy and Duckie, Ferris and Cameron. You MADE me be Cameron. Years of our Halloween costumes, pictures of our adventures in the city. My big hair! Oh I was so cute. I looked so ready to conquer the world. I looked pretty wonderful. And oh, Andy, you tagged all of the pictures with stories that I had forgotten. You remembered the sandwiches I brought for our picnics, You remembered my Giorgio fake perfume and how you shoplifted the real thing for me, because the fake smelled so awful. You told Laura that I had saved you in high school. That with me you never had to sit alone in the cafeteria, that I took care of you, defended you from the Jocks and Princesses. We were two inseparable weirdos.

And you told her you loved me. You loved me the way that I loved you. We completed each other. We were a John Hughes movie. But then the movie was over and life intervened, throwing the curves that kept us apart for 30 years.

I'm really glad we got back in touch. And that we could talk like we used to. Both of us super phone-phobic, but we would text each other all day. Like teenagers. You were so fit, you tried to get me to do the AIDS ride with you, and I refused because I thought it would kill me! I hadn't gotten on a bike since high school. You were very passionate about the AIDS ride. You'd lost a lot of friends. It was the 80's after all. And I cried when you told me you were positive. Even though you'd managed it for years. I shoulda been there to hold your hand when you found out.

Charlie isn't positive. I mean he's the most positive guy I know, and sometimes when he's happy or excited I can't understand a word he says. But he doesn't have the virus.

3 days ago, when we were getting ready to ride out of the Cow Palace, Charlie took a picture with me and posted it on your Facebook page. It said, "OMG, look who's on the bike with me this year!?" I didn't train hardly at all. I was terrified riding out of the Cow Palace, I was pretty sure I was going to die. But they really take care of you. They feed you, they cheer you, they sag you if you fall behind, which sounds awful but is bliss. I slept for an hour on that bus back to camp on the first day, I was so freaked out.

But today, day three. I get it. I get the joy. I'm not going to die. I'm stronger than I thought. I've been taking the hills and the curves like I know what I'm doing. Helps that I've got your thousand dollar road bike. You're probably wincing at how badly I'm abusing it.

Charlie and I are odd tentmates. I kind of think I'm cramping his style, but he says I'm not. I watched him dance in the disco tent last night. Uh-chuh, Uh-chuh, Uh-chuh wacka-chicka, Uh-chuh. He's so cute! I'm not sure what Charlie is going to do now. Thank god the gay marriage act passed the supreme court, and they can't deport him. He's a widower and he has rights. I told him he should go back to school, get his degree. He's very smart. He cries in his sleep sometimes.

Geez, Andy. I'm sorry I didn't go with you last year. It's so beautiful. This ride, these people! They're so tolerant of a goofy old lady. The Chicken lady hugged me yesterday! Shit Andy. (she tries to wipe her eyes, the bike wobbles. She's going up hill again)

I should've called you back. I should've. God. I hate the phone.

Oh! (She's up the hill looking down) Look at all that red going down the mountain. It is beautiful Andy. I've never seen anything like it. A living red ribbon. (Looks back, yelling) Charlie! We made it! One more downhill and we rode the whole day!

The whole day. With the other weirdos and the freaks. Let's get down the hill. Take the curves with no brakes. And there's a disco tent at the end. I'm going to dance tonight. I am Andy. I'm going to dance.

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