1. Usually when you guys exit that’s the last I hear from you. What brought on the change of heart?
If it’s okay with you, I will remain mum regarding my compatriot’s departure. With that said, we owe it to our girl to let you know how her story ends and so I’m here to continue. But first — because I know how this works — I’ll tell you exactly what I would accouter myself with.
2. Thank you for that and my sincerest apologies if I’ve offended anything. Okay, so not to dwell on that any longer, the last I heard your girl and Frida had ventured down to a perfect part of town in celebration of introducing her new self to the world. Did I miss anything?
That about sums it up and so I’ll start from there. Upon arrival at home, my girl found her little sister, Claude, leaning against her front door and very much asleep. Needless to say, she was surprised by the waiting package but more than anything she was happy. She absolutely loved this person. When she turned to tell Frida exactly who Claude was she was surprised to see Frida gone, disappeared. She moved down the hall and peaked around the corner, whispering, “Frida?” “Hey. Who’re you talking to?” Startled, she turned to see Claude sitting up and stretching her arms praise-like above her head. “Aren’t you supposed to be in Ithica cursing the fact that finals exist,” asked my girl as she moved over to her sister. Claude sat up and gripped the Duro Olowu thus her sister’s shoulders, “I am but when you call a person for three straight days and don’t get an answer, you start to deem other things much more important.” Realizing the faux pas of being out of touch to those who love you, “I’m sorry. Truly. It’s just that I’ve been so caught up.” “You’re forgiven. Now, what in the hell are you wearing,” Claude inquired. My girl felt a slight puncture in the amour propre, the shoulders began to ease down, the back started to hunch, both subtle reminders of the person she used to be prior to Frida’s arrival. Luckily, it was just a puncture and could be easily dressed, “Nothing. It’s a skirt that I love.” The moment the words left her mouth, complete with defiant tone, she could feel the grand posture returning. Claude’s brows pinched as she focused on the roses adorning the tight bun atop her sister’s head, “You have flowers in your hair.” My girl smiled and puffed out her chest, “I’m trying something different. What’s so wrong with that?” Funny how confidence has a way of supplying rhetoric to an otherwise actual question. “You have roses in your hair,” Claude repeated. “Deal with it. Now, would you like to come in?” My girl gave her sister a buss on the cheek and stood up to unlock the door. Claude said nothing as she hoisted herself off the floor. Once on her feet, she turned, rubbing her chin. My girl opened the door, inviting her sister in. Upon entering, Claude stopped short, ingesting the surroundings, “This is probably– No… I know this is exactly why I was rubbing my chin. What the hell happened here exactly?” She had grown accustomed to walking into a room of white walls, Noguchi furnishings and slight sculptures that awoke in her a stoicism she never knew existed and couldn’t wait to dump when she left. You have to understand, the wildest this room traveled in both color and design was a Joseph Berlini sculpture. Now said sculpture had vibrant colored carnations protruding from its innards and the Noguchi bench was draped in a beautiful trading blanket. If the former decor lethargically and pretentiously whispered then the latter screamed while freeing the nipple. The place had been transformed to look as much like La Casa Azul as the space would allow. The walls were a menagerie of murals illustrating human struggle. Traversing the floor was like navigating through a tchotchke labyrinth; any turn could send something crashing to the ground, making even the slightest breathe a liability. Claude tucked in and out, glimpsing all that had found its home inside the 2,000-square-foot space. She plucked from a table a Lupita doll and stared into its eyes. She smiled, placed the doll back down and raced out of the room. My girl called out, “Where’re you going?” “To your closet, stupid. Definitely need to see what’s going on in there,” Claude called. Once inside it was just as she had suspected, “…the hell.” Claude began pulling out billowing skirt, after blusón, after kaftan, after cape, after sarape… She pulled out a rebozo, wrapped it around her shoulders and lowered a gaze on my girl who was now standing in the doorway, “When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.” My girl howled with laughter at the Mea West homage — an homage she could only share with the person standing in front of her. The thought of Frida enjoying this moment was fleeting. That night the sisters fell asleep in dresses and shawls via Chiapas amongst discarded carnations, one pizza box and empty bottles of hard cider. The following morning my girl escorted Claude downstairs to a waiting cab. Before climbing in, Claude turned to her sister, knicking a rose nestled in my girl’s now ailing bun and tucking it behind her own ear, and concluded, “I’ve no clue what this is about but your happiness and utter contentment is undeniable. That makes me very happy.” And with that, Claude went, fumbling a bit as she climbed into the cab. The lump forming in my girl’s throat disintegrated upon hearing, “Too many freaks and not enough circuses in this world.” My girl turned to see Frida leaning against an ivy layered wall, “Do you think rats find refuge in here?” “I don’t know,” my girl answered, taking a moment to really think about the question. “Hmmm…” offered Frida, studying the climbing vine framing her. “So, where’d you disappear to last night? I wanted to introduce you to my sister.” “I thought I would give the two of you some quality time.” My girl smiled, “Thank you.” “Nice child,” Frida added, voice void of sincerity. “She’s amazing, my best friend.” Frida gave the summation one nod, “If you’re lucky and you seem to be, a sibling bond is the best bond there is. Unlike a parent, their total lies about how amazing you are really do feel like truth. Maybe it’s because you view them as your contemporary and not this being whose entire psychic apparatus is lodged in you against your will. But in truth, your failures are theirs. Your successes belong to them as well. A brittle house of cards it is, everyone’s pride and ego dependent on the other. In any case…” There my girl stood, feeling flutter away all the good stuff that had accumulated the previous evening. She watched her sister’s cab round the corner. And yes to exactly what you’re thinking: this thing was starting to take a left.
3. How was your girl beginning to take this change in Frida?
She seemed to push it away, pretend she wasn’t hearing what she was hearing because the overall gifts appeared too great. Also, she was never the person to give Frida Kahlo, the actual woman, much thought. Sure she had been in plenty of dorm rooms and starter apartments where posters of Frida adorned the walls and had seen more than her fair share of editorials paying homage, but the need to probe further never surfaced. This meant no knowledge of letters to an ailing Georgia O’Keeffe or dalliances with Tina Modotti, Trotsky and Noguchi. No reference to the excruciating pain felt before, during and after many spinal surgeries. None the wiser she was regarding Frida’s staunch support of Communism. I think this was good actually. With everything that happened, I couldn’t imagine having to also toggle between fact and fiction. Needless to say, on the day of my girl’s first date with Kevin, Frida happened to be suffering from a lower lumbar pain so severe it was hard to breath — a fact Frida kept to herself I think for fear of appearing vulnerable. Any other day a date with Kevin would’ve been met with disdain and much protest but on this particular evening my girl was all but pushed out the door. Once on the street, she looked up to see Frida staring down out her. My girl held up a hand to wave. Frida did not, instead she placed a hand against her cheek and walked away. Slightly stung but more than anything confused, my girl looked off and set out. “Have you ever been to Jiuzhaigou Valley,” was the first question she was met with just as she and Kevin sat down to dine al fresco at one of Arthur Avenue’s highest rated. “Nope. I’ve never even heard of it. Why do you ask?” “Go.” “Okay. I will,” the response was ephemeral as she took a piece of bread and dipped it into olive oil. Kevin leaned forward and gripped her hands leaving the bread to soak up way more olive oil than intended. “I mean it. Go,” he demanded. She chuckled, taken aback by the intensity, “Okay. I’ll go.” Kevin leaned back, “And go alone. And don’t tell anyone you’re going. And when you get back don’t do the braggadocious thing of announcing to everyone you went. Save that for– I don’t know… Berlin or some place like that. Anyway, the place will reestablish your faith in this planet. For me? It’s the only thing in existence that has any right to have an ego.” I felt a calm come over her. She smiled then with ease looked up. Curious, Kevin followed her gaze, “What’s up there?” Opting to not share with him the fact that she was waiting to be coated in a bucket of pig’s blood, she went with, “Nothing… the stars.”
4. Uh huh… I’m no fool, therefore, I so know where a date like this is headed, however, I’ll do my job and ask the question replete with sincerity: What happened next? (Did you buy that?)
Cute. And yes, you’re pretty much right on in assuming the date ended with my girl and Kevin making love. But you’ll be happy to know he didn’t do the goofy thing of running a pointer across the sprigs on the outer corners of her mouth or a thumb across her unibrow, rather, he didn’t even acknowledge their existence. It was beautiful. And in case you’re wondering, Frida stayed away. Again, I have no idea where she went exactly — or where she ever disappeared to for that matter — but she stayed away. And if I’m honest, not to mention privy to way more than I wanted to be, that night the connection to Kevin was so my girl had all but forgotten Frida existed. After it was said and done she dreamed for the first time in a very long time. No dreamlike bells and whistles of the ground swelling into marshmallow as she tried to evade two legs running on two legs, rather she dreamt of reading a book avec freshly waxed lip while curled up in her favorite chair. Her dreams and reality had switched places. The dream ended with her abruptly cracking one eye open while the other remained disabled against the pillow. It was the violent waking where you cannever remember what the something was to yank you, but the funky gut feeling lets you know it was indeed something. Across from her Kevin slept soundly. She smiled, studying his face when someone nearby cleared their throat. Frida had returned was the natural assumption. My girl gingerly turned her head, bracing for what was to come, but instead of coming face to face with the dove herself, she found sitting in the chair next to the bed Diego. His vaunted face illumed every time the red, neon sign flashed from across the street. My girl lifted up to make sure she was indeed seeing what she was seeing. It was him alright. The big, lummox of a human. His protruding belly appeared tight as it extended from his waist. She imagined poking it but didn’t. What did the dove see in this man? Amazing murals or not, standing up to the Rockefeller oligarchy was beside the point. What was the spell she was under? She looked over to see Kevin still fast asleep. Poor boy had no idea what he was missing. My girl turned back to find Diego’s eyes moving about the room, attempting to focus on something swift. She twisted around to get a look. A spotlight danced about, searching for a place to land. She and Diego followed it for a moment — their simultaneous movement reminiscent of curious kittens found in viral videos. Finally their darting eyes touched down at the foot of the bed to find the spotlight resting on Frida. One of her tiny hands gripped a Fender Stratocaster slung around her shoulder — she would later reveal Jimi let her borrow it. Diego put his hat on and leaned in as if granting her permission to start. My girl could tell this galled Frida. She wasn’t looking for his sanctions; she didn’t need them, but despite that she did the polite thing of swallowing the potential ass-handing and started in on the performance of a lifetime.
5. My god. I would’ve paid a small fortune to see that performance. Man… Okay, so how did the night end?
Well, immediately after — I’m talking seconds — Diego left and the man did not appear happy. No words passed between them. It was strange. I was prepared for some mammoth fallout but in the end nothing. Anyway, once he was gone, Frida took one look at Kevin and left too. Since this had started to become a natural occurrence coupled with the fact that she had a man in her bed, my girl nestled into Kevin’s arms and with deep breath forced herself back to sleep. The following morning, marathon training commitments made sure Kevin was out the door bright and early. Knowing Frida would appear at some point, my girl traveled up to the rooftop to get some sun and ruminate on the perfection that was Kevin and perplexity that was Frida and Diego. Upon eventual arrival, Frida’s greeting was terse as she spread out on the ground. A few hours later “Slaloms in Zermatt,” was the first shard of conversation she offered. “What was that,” my girl asked. “Slaloms in Zermatt. We should go skiing. You’re a girl with some coin in her pocket so why not,” Frida said. “Kevin suggested I go to Jiuzhaigou Valley. I looked it up. It’s located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. I’ve never been and the way he was going on about it I feel like I should’ve already.” My girl smiled and looked to Frida. Offering no response, Frida remained with her eyes closed as the sun beamed down. My girl was all too familiar with the silent dismissal and so did nothing to protest it. An hour or two passed before Frida emerged with, “I don’t think men want to see the true us. They sell us on thinking they do but in the end… And why would they? It’s a lifetime of the Crusades right in these bodies: You give too much? You’re unattractive and hate yourself for giving too much. You give too little? You’re too attractive and resent yourself for being adorned for giving too little. A day in the life of Sisyphus post-condemnation is what it is. Every single second welcomes a new and futile fight uphill the entire way.” My girl’s frustration had reached an apex and even if she knew she’d regret the attempt she had to at least try to reason, “But have you ever — and Diego could be this person in some way or not at all — but have you ever been in love? Experienced a person who just makes it all right? Even if everything you’re saying is true there’s that person out there that makes you complete and happy regardless of it all.” Frida scrambled to her feet, the fury in her eyes bone chilling, “Stop! Just stop it! Have you ever had someone in your life akin to a useless body part — an appendix or a wisdom tooth — just taking up space and in the end you realize — too late, of course — the only things they were good for were severe amounts of annoyance and pain?! Nothing more! And reprieve came only when you located your wits and ripped them from your life?! Don’t you see?! I’m here to keep you from being an idiot! To stop you from losing yourself in bullshit! I don’t understand why you don’t understand that!” Naturally, my girl’s eyes were wide and filled with fright. She wanted to cry, the sensation was coming on strong just waiting for the okay to erupt from her throat but she knew it would only make it worse. And so it was at this point I realized responsibility to set this thing right had landed on me. It was time. I had to sit Frida down.
6. Wait. How did you sit Frida down? No offense but you’re a magnificent cape.
And an unrelenting Frida Kahlo was residing in the annals of my girl’s brain where anything goes and by anything I mean a cape having a come-to-Jesus moment with Frida Kahlo.
7. Point taken. Proceed?
Thank you. My girl was about to lose the best thing that had ever happened to her and for what? To live out the things this particular Frida couldn’t? So, I sat Frida down and I told her she was going to have to let up,”She finally found love. Many have searched but only a select few have found the true stuff. And isn’t that why you appeared in the first place? To help our girl find happiness through finding herself? Think about it. And at what point do you go from being her biggest supporter to part of the can-toi chorus clad in yellow coats, the very beings that compelled you to come lend a hand in the first place? The line is fine, almost undetectable so ask yourself when do you go from being friend to worst enemy. She didn’t see the switch. Hell, you probably didn’t see it simply because your intentions began as pure. Neither of you can see that you no longer have her best interests at heart and simply want her to feel as low as you do. But she’s not like you. You’ve got one thousand bulls fighting for you inside there. She’s got you. That’s it. You’re dictating her very existence and you know she’ll listen to anything you say. Just give the word and Kevin’s gone. Even if she’s well aware that it would be the biggest mistake of her life, she’ll set the cycle on ‘Frida knows best’ and it’ll emerge as truth. And why? Because she respects you and she’s in awe of you and she looks up to you, but most of all… she loves you.” And with that she thought. She thought and thought and thought…
8. Heavy to say the least. What was her response to that?
No idea. I felt it best to leave her and so that’s just what I did. That night, gliding over the city to a song somewhat apt, the wind whipping beneath me, spreading me out as far as I could go, I wondered how many lonely, confused hearts were down below in desperate need of hope based in fact.
9. And so what happened next?
We didn’t see it coming but like so many days prior, Frida was on a mission to take us somewhere, show us something poignant, relevant, neuron aborting. There we were racing down the street, myself and Frida’s cape whipping in the wind. I of course was in the zone, doing what I was created to do when my girl asked, “Seriously, where are we going?”And just like that we stopped. Frida stared at my girl, her face with the faint brush of a smile. My girl chuckled, “What? Why’re you looking at me like that?” Frida said nothing as her eyes remained locked. My girl’s eyes traveled up to find they were standing in front of Lydia’s salon. The moment she saw the sign she instantly understood. Her eyes filled with tears. It was the closing bell for this priceless journey. Who was going to be there to validate all that was swirling around in her head? Who would be there to consult my girl when no other words would suffice? “The only thing to do when you can no longer be a positive part of a person’s life is to leave,” said Frida. “But I don’t want you to. I need you to stay. I do. I need you to stay.” “You’re not me,” Frida replied, “Your life is your own to live on your own terms and no one else’s. Especially not mine. I should’ve never suggested such a thing.” Frida took a deep breath, shoring up the courage to let go, “Now, get inside there and have the land above your lip cleared.” Tears streamed down my girl’s face as she slumped forward, doing all she could to remain upright. She couldn’t even manage the anemic smile to sell the lie that she would be okay. Instead, she sobbed. Frida grabbed her by the forearms, pulled her in close and whispered in her ear, “De ilusión también se vive.” She placed a firm kiss on my girl’s forehead, then swiftly turned and walked away. My girl stood on the corner, paralyzed as she watched Frida Kahlo get swept up into the swarm of foot traffic. Frida turned round, looked to her, smiled and raised a hand in the air. My girl raised a hand in the air and waved goodbye. Slowly the grand posture began its return.