“HELLO?” HE BELLOWED INTO THE HAND-DRYER, “HAVE WE LOST YOU, LITTLE ONE?” WITH THE CORNED BEEF ODOR OF HIS BREATH BOUNCING ON BACK INTO HIS NOSE, BUT NO REPLY.
Somehow, between Berlin and Los Angeles, they lost little Totosotokilly, and what would bring her back? Nothing, probably.
Was she dead? In a sense, but mostly no.
They were sad – though neither missed the difficult times:
- Totosotokilly throwing a tantrum in a pub because she wanted Cool Ranch Doritos and the pub only had one bag of beat-up Nacho Cheese, and Rodan is trying to work something out with the two-person cow that sounded much more important than it was, especially since they kept tickling each other, Rodan and the two-person cow, and the whole conversation ended with Rodan telling a story over her protests and old-wood-floor-pounding about being mistaken for Tony Orlando, though no one really believed it, and then they were asked to leave.
- “I went in my pants,” she’d say, and always when they just started moving – in trains, in cars, on walking tours of what the twitchy guide called “Third Reich gems and hotspots, like Speer’s New Reich Chancellery, Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry, and even Hitler’s Bunker!” He was too excited, and, by that time, Timothy was almost pleased that Toto had wizzed… “Who wants to see that anyway? Can’t we…” and he paused, but thought, “forget and move on, forget and move on…” and they did and he bought her new pants.
- Her dance classes, gorgeous affairs, though the looks at the beginnings from parents and the questions at the ends from instructors, and all they could say was, “We’re friends of Hannah’s,” and try to play it off naturally, something that suited neither of them all that well.
“I’m still sad.”
“I’d feel better if I knew she was okay.”
“Is there any way to go back?”
“So, we just have to live with it.”
“That is what we have to do, yes.”
And Timothy sat down and wrote a letter to Mona.
And Rodan turned on the radio.
And Totosotokilly vanished into brown twilight time with her orange tutu and spicy deli mustard-stained face like pricey cream in free coffee, and before blending goodbye into the fat old stretch-belted past and into the short letter to Mona-Mona-Barcelona, she danced for them and their sad minds her last free dance, her pirouettes, her lively crow-hops, her electric slides, her worm-wiggles, her dream-jumps, her smiley tippy-toe-taps, her team-skips, her wobbly-kneed-waltzes, her “did you see how fast I float?” butterfly wobbles and they’re so sad still still still, and the milk in the coffee dives and climbs and clouds the brew unclear and nuclear.
A little explosion in a stimulant.
Though it’ll always wear off… often when you need it most.
We found a down-syndromed girl by the river and sorta folded her into the team, and I’m not exaggerating when I say, she was the best damn friend I ever had apart from you and the one-eyed hound with the Superman collar I paled around with that long, dry summer in dumb New Hampshire when I was 12 and just starting to feel the hurt of Hampton Beach vacation loneliness high-tiding in my gut.
Sad to say though, we lost her in transit.
“Gone, gone to New Your City,” like that song Ralph’s nephew played us at the baptism, except we’re in LA, and - hate to say it - she might be dead.
We took her to dance class. We went to Berlin’s new gay museum, which for you now, I guess is old, and only so-so for a little kid. We ate big, meaty reubens at an outdoor café and walked to the waterfalls near Viktoriapark and snuck into the vineyard nearby and stomped on sour grapes in great giggles you’d have to hear to believe. Rodan and I made it to Los Angeles, but I guess she got separated, and Lord only knows where the two-person cow is…
That’s all I can say for now, besides, I love you and I hope we can forgive each other… I kind of want to adopt a child.
Like I always say, the soup defines the bowl, and I just feel empty all the time these days.
Forever and ever, Amen,