Interlude Part II: XIII




Interlude Part II



A cool breeze sifted into the warm, apartment air from outside, brushing gently against Lana’s skin. Opening her eyes gradually, she drank in the world around her, familiar yet fresh: the soft, ambient lighting casting shadows from the corners of the room; the dark night sky, cloudy; the delicate smell of incense, still dancing on the air. This was the best part of meditation—coming back into her body, alive and energized, and watching as her senses remembered the world around her. Seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, hearing everything as if just awoken from a dream.

“I apologize for interrupting your inward ponderings Madame,” came an artificial female voice, emanating tenderly all around her, “but your daughter is here to see you.”

She sighed rapturously, a great, wide smile caressing her features. “Thank you, Delilah. I’ll see her in.”

Still glowing with meditative bliss, she drifted past a glass coffee table and beyond a series of framed photos, smiling brightly from atop a small dresser, and tapped twice on the front door with her index finger. It slid open, beckoning in a bedraggled looking young woman from outside.

“Hi Lana,” said the specter-like figure, voice heavy with fatigue.

Lana beamed at Maria compassionately and pulled her into the apartment with a great hug. Oh, my dear!” she said, startled by her daughter’s appearance, “Why didn’t you take the cab straight here?”

“I didn’t think it would be polite to land on your pad,” came her voice, muffled by Lana’s fuzzy, lime green sweater.

“Sweetheart, you are always welcome to come and go as you please.”

“Thanks,” said Maria, drawing out of their embrace. She stood back and tried to regain some composure, but her usually-elegant presence was lost behind blotchy skin, exhausted eyes, and slouching posture. Softly, Lana put a hand on her back and guided her to a nearby sofa, where she sat biting her lower lip and looking around apprehensively.

“Is that smell… burned sage?” she asked, trying to make conversation.

“Ah, you have a good memory. I was using it to clear the room’s energy.”

“What did you call that again?” asked Maria, “Smudging or something?”

“That’s right.” She tried to think of what to say. The girl’s dour expression worried her, but it didn’t feel right to pry. “I’m making tea. Would you like some?”

Maria nodded and Lana went into the kitchen, opening a darkly stained oak cupboard. Below a shelf full of neatly arranged bags of herbal teas and supplements sat a cherry red kettle and three sets of teacups, neatly enthroned upon tiny plates. She was in a yerba maté mood, but felt that her daughter could probably do with something more comforting.

“Is chamomile alright?”

“What was that?”

“Chamomile.”

“Yes, that’s fine. Whatever you think is best, I don’t drink much tea…”

Setting the water to boil, she went back and sat on the couch.

Maria was hunched over partway, eyes locked on the floor, head in her hands. “Something happened today…” she said after a long silence. “And I don’t really understand. But I came because… I felt like you could help, after last time.” Then she added hastily, “And I wanted to see you, of course.”

Lana patted her on the knee, listening attentively, and a glimmer of a smile broke through Maria’s grim exterior. It felt good to be talking about this with someone who wasn’t jotting notes in a book or trying to psychoanalyze her.

“Well, I was at this Sculptor’s office, in the Paramount building today and…” She was still struggling to understand what had happened. “It’s so confusing. I tried to do what you said, you know, changing my perspective to feel differently about a situation. And it worked for a while, but then… I don’t know what happened. I started crying in the hallway and I felt like I wanted to die… That must sound so dramatic,” she laughed bitterly.

Lana tried to understand what she was saying, but Maria was mumbling, head hung low, and she looked so tired…

“Have you gotten enough sleep lately?”

“I keep waking up. And they want to give me pills, but that’s just a band-aid for the real problem; it won’t stop the voices. I tried to keep them out… And I did, for awhile. But now they’re back, and always in my dreams. You have to help me, please…” Maria looked up, eyes glistening with tears, pleading for an answer.

Lana opened her mouth to speak, but didn’t know what to say, and so she closed it again. Maria seemed to understand. After a short while, the tea kettle began to cry steamily in the kitchen. “One second, I’ll be right back, and then we’ll figure this out, okay?”

“Okay… I’m going to lie down then… Just for a minute.” Maria lay her arms overtop a soft cushion and tucked her head into the nook of her elbow, closing her eyes.

Having made her way into the kitchen, Lana poured hot water into two identical teacups, her mind ablaze with thought.

‘I’ve haven’t seen her like this since her father died…’ She remembered that troubling night well—the first time in nearly six years that her daughter had found the time to stop by, and Lana spent most of it under scrutiny for her questionable mothering practices. Since then, she had only seen Maria one other time...

She opened a small plastic container with yellow lid, spooning a small amount of dark brown powder into her cup. She hardly noticed as she stirred and sipped it, checking for flavor; it could have used a bit more maté, probably, but she didn’t need to be up all night anyways.

Placing a teabag and a spoon on one of the plates, she walked back to Maria and smiled tenderly—the young woman lay, breathing softly, asleep.


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