To read The Answer Feathers, Part One, click here.
Earlier in the day, I had listened to another Oprah podcast with the author of Produced by Faith, DeVon Franklin, where the Hollywood success felt so strongly about “bathroom moments.” He was referring to the scene in The Pursuit of Happyness where Will Smith is sleeping with his child in a washroom and prays desperately to God for help and the answer comes shortly after. It stayed with me. I don’t like asking God for this kinda help unless I’m really struggling.
After Stavros left, I took out the Answer Feathers. I read the instructions. I looked at the feathers, which were both variations on brown. I wanted to make time to treat them with the respect and mindfulness they deserved. You don’t have time for this now, I kept telling myself.
I was expecting dinner guests so I ran around the house picking things up and tidying. I ordered the takeout and mentally planned to pick up eggs and orange juice for my morning guest, Monsieur Magique. I washed my sheets and began to change my bed. Did I even have pillowcases big enough for my new pillows?
I passed the Answer Feathers again. And then I decided I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to know yet. It was too fun, the not knowing. And yet my insides were getting chewed up. How would I ever choose? Someone was going to get hurt! Was I being true to myself? Didn’t I already know? Why was I adding confusion to the mix?
I went to sort out the upstairs bathroom to make sure there were towels and toilet paper, when I came across a pair of silver feather earrings I’d forgotten about and absent-mindedly put them on. Then I literally had a bathroom moment in the bathroom. Overwhelmed by not knowing which man to choose, I prayed to God for the answer. That whichever man was the one I was supposed to be with would become clear to me. I’m not religious, I don’t believe in organized religion, mostly, but I’m spiritual AF. And I do believe in the life force or source energy. And since I was brought up super Christian Orthodox, when I need it to REALLY work for me, it takes the shape of “God.” I’ve come to accept this, and that my idea of God cannot be defined.
That’s when I noticed that one of my feather earrings was missing (it’s still missing, days later). It had fallen off my ear somehow while I was running around. I tried to avoid the Answer Feathers, but a decision was made in spite of my waffling. I had a sign. I took a deep breath and continued on with my day. By morning, I would know what to do.
A group of former colleagues came over for takeout and wine and giggles. We went around the table giving updates on work and personal lives. It was funny and touching sometimes. We had been through a lot together, the seven of us, and I was glad to spend time with them. But when it got to my turn, I told them they had to leave at 10:30, because Monsieur Magique was coming for a sleepover. That’s when they decided to linger. “I’ll take that tea you were offering!” Gah!
I realized he’d be there soon, so went down to quickly brush my teeth and touch up my face. I’d kept my makeup natural and was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, but as I had made a point to get my hair cut and nails done, I was feeling pretty damn good. Underneath it all, I had a secret: I was wearing a mauve bralette and tanga set that I’d carefully chosen. My ex-husband used to freak out if I dared to put on lingerie, saying that my expectations for sex were so obvious, as though I were wearing a sandwich board that screamed, “Have sex with me!” that it turned him off. And yet if I hid the fact that I wanted to have sex, we just mostly wouldn’t, sooooo… Anyway, bygones…
When I came out of the bathroom, I realized Monsieur Magique was here. I came up to find my handsome Frenchman sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by a gaggle of giggling women, who were all clearly adoring his accent and his dapper way. “Hi sweetie,” he said, noticing me, “You look great!” We kissed awkwardly because I wanted to plant one on his lips and he was trying to give me a French kiss — not with tongue, but double cheek. “Did you get a haircut? I’ve never seen you with straight hair! I got a haircut too!” OMG, how do you not fall for this enthusiastic man, who notices details?
My guests finally left, albeit apprehensively. I could tell they wanted some more Magique in their lives too. Who could blame them? I locked the door, turned around and stared into the face of the sun. Remember when I said I’d written in my journal after our first date, “The sunshine in his heart greets the sunshine in mine?” There it was! His stress, palpable on the phone earlier in the week, seemed to have dissipated for the moment. I cupped his face in my hands and kissed him. “What?” he asked, looking at me with playful curiosity. “You’re just so…” how to describe it to him? He beams!
We played the Lionel Ritchie record I picked up after our last dance-a-thon here, went out to the porch so he could have a smoke, and then he suggested we play a game of some sort. We played one of my kids’ games, smiling and laughing at my competitiveness. Then he taught me a French card game, which was like Euchre but more complicated, because French. Have you seen that video of the cab driver who tries to explain counting to 100 in French? Hilarious. He mentioned a big tournament with all his friends in two weeks and suggested that maybe I should come. The thought of that intimidates the hell out of me right now, so I pretended not to hear clearly. Card came I don’t know well and a room full of people I don’t know speaking a language I can’t speak fluently? Gah!
My brain was saying, “Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, SEX!” all night, and I was really hoping he wouldn’t pick up on the vibe. Around 1 a.m. it became clear that his brain was saying the same thing. “OK, shall we go down to your dungeon?” he asked, grabbing my shoulders. He pounced on my bed and laid back casually. “So…” he smirked, “How many sleepovers have you had here?”
“You mean NOT with my daughter? Zero. You’re the first.”
“Really? Well, I’m honoured.”
We made out for a bit and I can’t totally recall how the front of his jeans opened up, but whoa Nelly! My room was gently lit and we were sober. “You’re not wearing underwear!?!” I exclaimed. “No, I haven’t worn underwear since I was… 17? Only when I wear a suit.” I was so freakin’ excited that as I tried to pull off his jeans while kneeling at the foot of the bed, I completely fell off. Like a sideways somersault. Boom. We laughed so hard. I was mortified, but he’s so good humoured that the joke went on all night and the next day and I’m still giggling, imagining my Kimmy Schmidt moment.
“It’s not fair that I’m unclothed and you’ve got so much on,” he said. So I got down to my pretty skivvies, and he oohed with appreciation. “Nice,” he said, pulling me close. I raised an eyebrow. “What? Don’t think I didn’t notice. You had your hair done, your nails done. Thank you. It’s appreciated.” Who. Is. This. Man?!
After very good sex, he held me again. We cuddled ALL NIGHT. Again, I didn’t really sleep at first, but I didn’t fret this time. I just smiled at the beauty of it. His snores were quieter and towards the wee hours of the morning, he pulled my face into his chest and purred me to sleep like a cat. I woke up mouth-breathing and drooling all over him, but he didn’t wake up, so I nestled in and went back to sleep.
When it seemed reasonable to try and start the day, he mentioned he was famished. His bedroom has giant south-facing bay windows under a turret, so he wakes to natural light. My basement bedroom is like a Las Vegas casino: there’s no way to know the time. When he commented on the utter dark of my room, I told him it was great for sleeping-in and that he needed it. I made him breakfast while we talked about our breakups in a bit more detail. What worked, what didn’t? We ate and chatted about our kids again. He keeps calling me SuperMom, and I know this is an important quality for him, so I am flattered.
He had asked for chill time earlier in the week, so I suggested we watch A Star is Born in my bed. I told him I was never a TV in the bedroom person, but that my bedroom used to be the family room and the TV stayed. That the only way I learned to fall asleep after nearly two decades of someone sleeping beside me was by watching Downton Abbey each night until I passed out. He looked into my eyes deeply, sympathetically. Then we headed down for… snuggles. (OK hot sex first, then snuggles.) “You’re so easy to be with,” I murmured, “You just know yourself so well.”
“Well I should after all these years,” he quipped. “You’d be surprised at how rare it is,” I responded. He stroked my hair while we watched the movie, which I found hard to watch, so the hair stroking was so comforting. Being a part of a two-artist couple for so long, where one partner’s success overshadowed the other partner’s… where the male partner put down the female partner’s success, because he felt that authenticity mattered most… Where he self-medicated to deal with childhood trauma and the ego… it was tough. But dang that “Shallow” song is good and so are both the actors. It’s just hard for me not to be completely pissed off at Jackson Maine. What I loved about the movie was all the talk about Ally’s nose. It was so key to the story that it was validating for me, a big-nosed girl, to see Bradley Cooper’s character tell her she’s beautiful and that he loves her nose.
Anyway, suffice it to say that watching a romantic movie with a French hottie, who wants nothing but to snuggle you, to be close and touching the entire time, is my idea of total bliss. The movie ended around the time he had to leave for work stuff, so I offered him a quick shower and said that I would resist the urge to climb in with him because I knew he was pressed for time. He came down in a towel, which was hard to resist, and I made it clear that I didn’t want him to leave, but that I understood. He apologized for having to work, thanked me for breakfast and a lovely evening, booked our next date as he always does, and left.
We texted that night as “our song” was performed live and perfectly. To quote the movie’s anthem…