SHE LOVED THEM ALL
By Selene Castrovilla
represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by our meeting that
a new world is born.”
- Anais Nin
Word of the day: Saturday, February 17, 2007 Ratiocination \rash-ee-ah-suh-NAY-shun; rash-ee-oh-\, noun:The process of reasoning.
She loved them all, Luna realized.
And why not?
There lay in every man something to love – no matter how cold, brutal, unforgiving he could be. There was always a fragment. A twinge, perhaps left over from his youth, before the ice settled in. And being the intuitive, loving soul she was, Luna had honed in on the positive at once. Every time.
It was like one of those Wacky Package stickers her kids collected. Parodies of products. The one called “Maze-ola.” It read: “One drop of oil in a complex maze. Shake until frustrated.” Except it was the opposite. Diving right in, she’d reached that drop immediately, felt it soak into her skin. But once she had her oil, once it was a part of her, she was trapped. Trapped in the labyrinth, stumbling, slipping, walking into walls...
Yes, it was easy, finding someone to love.
Someone to fill in the gaps.
Here she was – forty, with still so many gaps! It was hard to know what she needed when she steadfastly concentrated on figuring out all the men in her life. One of her ex-shrinks said, “You spend an awful lot of time trying to understand these guys. Any luck with that?”
Not so much.
All her shrinks had one or two good things to offer, and that had been his.
Not that she’d listened.
Things had gone bad with this shrink when his voice began to soften and flat-line. She suspected he was on medication. She’d broken it off after he’d cried one day while she told him her latest heartbreak.
She wandered from psychologist to psychoanalyst looking for just one mental health practitioner who didn’t have more problems than her, but it seemed the higher the degree, the more messed up they were. One psychiatrist stuttered – which ate away at her time, and at $175 an hour she felt she deserved a rebate - and he’d made her sit across the room from him because of some neurosis he had. Finally, she found the perfect therapist in her chiropractor, Dr. Gold.
Luna remained convinced that she could decipher the behavior of the men who had come and gone in her life as if there were some sort of universal code to crack them. She never considered the common link.
Through all this Luna remained hopeful (okay, that’s the Pollyanna version, and Luna was no Pollyanna, but there was always something inside her that believed it would all work out, something which had carried her this far. Call it the Dorothy version.)
If you asked her for the basics about herself, here’s what she’d say:
Stats on Luna :
Name: Luna Joy Lampanelli (Her middle name was actually Gioia, pronounced ‘Joya’ and meaning ‘Joy’ in Italian, but she went to the English version because everyone mispronounced it ‘Goya.’ She was not a bean.)
Ethnic background: Italian (from the north, her mother would always remind her) and Russian.
Marital status: Recently legally divorced; mentally divorced a lot longer.
Children: Thirteen. Ha! Just kidding. Two sons, ages 7 & 12.
Body: Slim with curves.
Hair: Brown, subtly highlighted with blonde.
Occupation: Writer, of anything that struck her and pertained to the human condition. (No, she did not make a living at this – yet - fortunately she had a generous aunt.)
Favorite physical activities: Sex and boxing (real, not kick.)
Other likes: What a strange thing it was to classify ‘likes’! Luna wanted to like everything, to appreciate whatever she was doing. This is what she wanted – she hadn’t quite gotten there. It was difficult, training one’s mind to heel, sit and stay in the moment.
Dislikes: Being left in limbo.
Religion: A toughie. Both her mom and her aunt had experienced bad breaks with Catholicism, and hammered their stories into her. Luna’s only positive brush with organized religion came from random exposure to her aunt’s subsequent zeal for Zen Buddhism, but it was more confusing than compelling, and saying “Mu” during a meditation didn’t exactly make her popular with her schoolmates. As an adult she yearned for something to believe in, but what? And how? Immersed in their religions, Luna saw people as frozen salmon - immobilized in a frosty lake of dogma. And even if they managed to thaw, how could they swim upstream? She toyed with starting her own ministry: The Church of the Frozen Salmon, but lacked the actual ambition to do it, and so she became a Unitarian Universalist, the only faith in which she could sit through a sermon and not want to run screaming down the aisles.
Sometimes, she even enjoyed it.
Favorite writers: William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, J.D. Salinger.
Favorite dessert: Flan.
Favorite expression: Gandhi’s, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Above all, Luna believed in love. For the world - she felt that love could heal the world – and for herself. Unfortunately, as the song went, she’d looked for it in all the wrong places. She had so much love to give, and yet she kept attracting people who didn’t want it.
Not for long, anyway.
When she met M almost six months ago, she’d thought it was different with him, and she still did.
They were the same.
Left behind, every time.
Always told how wonderful they were, as their lovers walked away.
Luna had concluded that the word ‘healer’ was just a synonym for ‘schmuck.’
On their second date, back in August, M had asked her, “What happens when healers get together?”
She’d answered, “Maybe they get what they deserve.”
Surely two people who’d been stomped on repeatedly would never hurt each other, right?
Lying in her bed facing away from the window, pressing her body against M’s back – his back was always to her – Luna absorbed what warmth she could from him.
It did nothing for her.
The hairs on M’s back were double-arched, shaped like the wings of an angel. She thought sometimes he was an angel, sent to teach her lessons she didn’t want to learn.
Arms around M’s strong chest, fingers grasping at hairs, Luna stared at the creases on his balding head. Her body prickled with goose bumps. It was quiet in that room, like it was soundproofed against the world outside. So quiet, that she could hear the noise buzzing within the silence. She smelled nothing either; nothing hovered in the still, sterile air. Even M had somehow lost his usual clean and lusty scent.
She wanted to ask him to turn around and face her - to hold her – but she couldn’t.
Why, she didn’t know.
Maybe that was the lesson she needed the most.
She felt light-headed now, with the stirrings of a headache. The insides of her cheeks were scratchy, and the dry taste in her mouth would not wash away no matter how many times she swallowed.
Why wouldn’t he turn around, damnit?
Why couldn’t she ask?
Maybe the problem was finding someone to like.
Or maybe she just needed a cup of coffee.
Causes Selene Castrovilla Supports
Bargemusic Ltd., Smiletrain, American Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals