the life of richie


Posted in is by Rich on May 10, 2010

My friend, she made her money in hedge funds and retired at 30. She talks of going back, at least for the health benefits. We go to the diner for coffee and pie; been going to the diner since high school, when we were both just theories of people and not much of anything yet in practice. Before decisions were made; before revisions and more decisions rendered.

My friend, she broke her arm, and now has to wear this ridiculous hot pink cast for another two weeks, as punishment or prevention: she will not go back to work in hedge funds until it’s off. Her hand, what once made rich financial transactions, itches with freckling skin, hungers for the saw. “Gross,” we agree, and receive our coffees and creamers.

My friend, she vituperates Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore, and I just sit and smile, because it’s like watching a live version of Fox News sometimes. We speak of less toxic subjects, like the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. She mentions going to Norway with her dad, to visit relatives, and I say I’ve always wanted to go to Norway. She says, “Really?” she says; she has no desire, except to provide company for her dad. “Why would you want to go?” Suddenly, I feel rather stupid for wanting to go to Norway, but later will dream of fjords if only one could afford to see them. I think of all that oil hemorrhaging into the sea and want to scream [cannot be articulated]. “Those Scandinavian countries fascinate me.”

I tell my friend, my sister has started working for the census, and she sneers that it [the census] seems like such a waste of money. “Do you know how much it costs for each household? $1000,” she says. I ask if that means for paper and to pay the enumerators [census workers who go door to door] and desk clerks like my sister; she supposes. She argues with her phone, which seems to be frozen or dead. “How is the pie?” She seems changed, my friend, like too much leisure has left her retired from life. Later, when I am dreaming of fjords and greasy seagulls, I wonder what she believes in above all else. Her new nephew. New York City. I think she does me, but maybe only sometimes. In New York City, she is sheltered from all of this, and rarely leaves, like an old recluse who’s shut herself off from the world and doesn’t answer the knock when the enumerators come to call. She shows me a picture of her nephew on her phone when I slip into talking about grading research papers.

When I drive her home through the dark, sleepy suburban streets, my friend, she says, “I don’t know how you can live here.” I think it scares her, my friend, these people out here, outside of the city with its glittering illusions, out here in the suburbs, where there are only hedges but no funds. We embrace, and she slips from my arms out the car, blurring into the darkness and the storm. It is an oft-repeated dance, and all the other times we have hugged when I’ve dropped her off at her parents’ are painted underneath this most recent print; but those earlier prints become fainter each time.


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  1. Sister said, on May 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I, too, want to go to Norway.

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